House of Stuart
The House of Stewart, or Stuart, is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of England, Ireland, and Great Britain. Their patrilineal ancestors (from Brittany) had held the office of High Steward of Scotland since the 12th century, after arriving by way of Norman England. The dynasty inherited further territory by the 17th century which covered the entire British Isles, including the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Ireland, also maintaining a claim to the Kingdom of France.
In total, nine Stewart monarchs ruled just Scotland from 1371 until 1603. After this there was a Union of the Crowns under James VI & I who had become the senior genealogical claimant to The Crown holdings of the extinct House of Tudor. Thus there were six Stewart monarchs who ruled both England and Scotland as well as Ireland (although the later Stuart era was interrupted by an interregnum lasting from 1649–1660, as a result of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms). Additionally, at the foundation of the Kingdom of Great Britain after the Acts of Union, which politically united England and Scotland, the first monarch was Anne of Great Britain. After her death, all the holdings passed to the House of Hanover, under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701.
During the reign of the Stewarts, Scotland developed from a relatively poor and feudal country into a prosperous, fairly modern and centralised state. They ruled during a time in European history of transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Monarchs such as James IV were known for sponsoring exponents of the Northern Renaissance such as the poet Robert Henryson, and others. After the Stewarts gained control of all of Great Britain, the arts and sciences continued to develop; many of William Shakespeare's best known plays were authored during the Jacobean era, while institutions such as the Royal Society and Royal Mail were established during the reign of Charles II.
The name Stewart derives from the political position of office similar to a governor, known as a steward. It was originally adopted as the family surname by Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland, who was the third member of the family to hold the position. Prior to this, family names were not used, but instead they had patronyms defined through the father; for example the first two High Stewards were known as FitzAlan and FitzWalter respectively. During the 16th century the French spelling Stuart was adopted by Mary, Queen of Scots when she was living in France. She sanctioned the change to ensure the correct pronunciation of the Scots version of the name Stewart, because retaining the letter 'w' would have made it difficult for French speakers, who usually render "w" as "v". The spelling Stuart was also used by her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley; he was the father of James VI and I, so the spelling Stuart for the British royal family officially derives from him.
The ancestral origins of the Stewart family are quite obscure—what is known for certain is that they can trace their ancestry back to Alan FitzFlaad, a Breton who came over to Great Britain not long after the Norman conquest. Alan had been the hereditary steward of the Bishop of Dol in the Duchy of Brittany; Alan had a good relationship with the ruling Norman monarch Henry I of England who awarded him with lands in Shropshire. The FitzAlan family quickly established themselves as a prominent Anglo-Norman noble house, with some of its members serving as High Sheriff of Shropshire. It was the great-grandson of Alan named Walter FitzAlan who became the first hereditary High Steward of Scotland, while his brother William's family would go on to become Earls of Arundel.
When the civil war in the Kingdom of England broke out known as The Anarchy, between legitimist claimant Matilda, Lady of the English and her cousin who had usurped her; King Stephen, Walter had sided with Matilda. Another supporter of Matilda was her uncle David I of Scotland from the House of Dunkeld. After Matilda was pushed out of England into the County of Anjou, essentially failing in her legitimist attempt for the throne, many of her supporters in England fled also. It was then that Walter followed David up to the Kingdom of Scotland, where he was granted lands in Renfrewshire and the title for life of Lord High Steward. The next monarch of Scotland, Malcolm IV made the High Steward title a hereditary arrangement. While High Stewards, the family were based at Dundonald, Ayrshire between the 12th and 13th centuries.
The sixth High Steward of Scotland, Walter Stewart (1293–1326), married Marjorie, daughter of Robert the Bruce, and also played an important part in the Battle of Bannockburn gaining further favour. Their son Robert was heir to the House of Bruce, the Lordship of Cunningham and the Bruce lands of Bourtreehill; he eventually inherited the Scottish throne when his uncle David II died childless in 1371.
In 1503, James IV attempted to secure peace with England by marrying King Henry VII's daughter, Margaret Tudor. The birth of their son, later James V, brought the House of Stewart into the line of descent of the House of Tudor, and the English throne. Margaret Tudor later married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, and their daughter, Margaret Douglas, was the mother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. In 1565, Darnley married his half-cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, the daughter of James V. Darnley's father was Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, a member of the Stewart of Darnley branch of the House. Lennox was a descendant of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland, also descended from James II, being Mary's heir presumptive. Thus Darnley was also related to Mary on his father's side and because of this connection, Mary's heirs remained part of the House of Stewart. Following John Stewart of Darnley's ennoblement for his part at the Battle of Baugé in 1421, and the grant of lands to him at Aubigny and Concressault, the Darnley Stewarts' surname was gallicised to Stuart.
Both Mary, Queen of Scots, and Lord Darnley had strong claims on the English throne, through their mutual grandmother, Margaret Tudor. This eventually led to the accession of the couple's only child James as King of Scotland, England, and Ireland in 1603. However, this was a Personal Union, as the three Kingdoms shared a monarch, but had separate governments, churches, and institutions. Indeed the personal union did not prevent an armed conflict, known as the Bishops’ Wars, breaking out between England and Scotland in 1639. This was to become part of the cycle of political and military conflict that marked the reign of Charles I of England, Scotland & Ireland, culminating in a series of conflicts known as the War of the Three Kingdoms. The trial and execution of Charles I by the English Parliament in 1649 began 11 years of republican government known as the English Interregnum. Scotland initially recognised the late King's son, also called Charles, as their monarch, before being subjugated and forced to enter Cromwell's Commonwealth by General Monck's occupying army. During this period, the principal members of the House of Stuart lived in exile in mainland Europe. The younger Charles returned to Britain to assume his three thrones in 1660 as "Charles II of England, Scotland & Ireland", but would date his reign from his father's death eleven years before.
In feudal and dynastic terms, the Scottish reliance on French support was revived during the reign of Charles II, whose own mother was French. His sister Henrietta married into the French Royal family. Charles II left no legitimate children, but his numerous illegitimate descendants included the Dukes of Buccleuch, the Dukes of Grafton, the Dukes of Saint Albans and the Dukes of Richmond.
These French and Roman Catholic connections proved unpopular and resulted in the downfall of the Stuarts, whose mutual enemies identified with Protestantism and because James VII & II offended the Anglican establishment by proposing tolerance not only for Catholics but for Protestant Dissenters. The Glorious Revolution caused the overthrow of King James in favour of his son-in-law and his daughter, William and Mary. James continued to claim the thrones of England and Scotland to which he had been crowned, and encouraged revolts in his name, and his grandson Charles (also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie) led an ultimately unsuccessful rising in 1745, ironically becoming symbols of conservative rebellion and Romanticism. Some blame the identification of the Roman Catholic Church with the Stuarts for the extremely lengthy delay in the passage of Catholic Emancipation until Jacobitism (as represented by direct Stuart heirs) was extinguished; however it was as likely to be caused by entrenched anti-Catholic prejudice among the Anglican establishment of England. Despite the Whig intentions of tolerance to be extended to Irish subjects, this was not the preference of Georgian Tories and their failure at compromise played a subsequent role in the present division of Ireland.
The Royal House of Stuart became extinct with the death of Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart, brother of Charles Edward Stuart, in 1807. Duke Francis of Bavaria is the current senior heir.
Stewart Clan Crest:A pelican argent, winged, feeding her young in the nest.
Stewart Clan Motto: Virescit Vulnere Virtus (Courage grows strong at a wound).
History of Clan Stewart/Stuart:
The story of the Royal House of Stewart is the story of Scotland from the 12th century, and starts with Alan, Seneschal of Dol in Brittany. His nephew became Sheriff of Shropshire in England and his third son, Walter Fitz Alan, accompanied David I to Scotland in 1124 and was appointed High Steward.
The office of High Steward was confirmed as an Hereditary Office by Malcolm IV in 1153 and Walter's grandson, also Walter, was the first to adopt the title 'Steward' as a surname. Walter, 6th High Steward, married Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert the Bruce. When Bruce's son, David II, died childless in 1371, he was succeeded by his nephew, Robert Stewart, who reigned as Robert II.
The Stewarts in Scotland are essentially a Lowland Family with Highland and Island offshoots, and it was Robert II who consolidated the achievements of his Royal grandfather, Robert the Bruce. The Stewarts were also a remarkably prolific family and spawned innumerable offspring, legitimate and otherwise. Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl (d.1298) for example, had seven sons, among them Alexander, Earl of Angus, Alan, Earl of Lennox, Walter, ancestor of the earls of Galloway, and James, ancestor of the earls of Buchan and Traquair, as well as the Lords of Lorne and Innermeath. Since the demise of the Lennox Branch, the earls of Galloway have been regarded as the senior representatives of the ancient line of the High Stewards of Scotland.
Alexander Stewart (c.1342-1406), fourth son of Robert II, was created Lord of Badenoch and Earl of Buchan and because of his turbulent nature was known as 'The Wolfe of Badenoch.' He fathered many natural children, and the Stewarts of Atholl largely descend from his son James Stewart, who married the daughter and heiress of Menzies of Fortingall and, towards the end of the 14th century, built the Castle of Garth, near Aberfeldy.
In 1437, the widow of James I married as her second husband Sir James Stewart of Lorne, known as 'The Black Knight of Lorne.' Their sons were Sir John Stewart of Balveny and Andrew, Bishop of Moray. In 1457, Sir John, who was half-brother of James II, was granted the earldom of Atholl. He later led the Royal army which suppressed the rebellion of John, 4th MacDonald Lord of the Isles. The 5th Earl of Atholl had only a daughter who married the 2nd Earl of Tullibardine, so that when her father died, the earldom and its estates passed to the Murray Clan. Large numbers of the name of Stewart nevertheless remained on the Atholl lands.
The Stuarts of Bute are descended from John Stewart, a natural son of Robert II, who was granted the lands of Bute, Arran and Cumbrae by his father. He was known as the 'Black Stewart,' to distinguish him from his brother, John of Dundonald, who became known as the 'Red Stewart.'
The grant of lands on Bute was confirmed in 1400 by a Charter from Robert III, along with his becoming Hereditary Sheriff of Bute. Following the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, the family adopted the alternative spelling. Sir James Stuart of Bute became a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1627. He supported Charles I, who appointed him Royal Lieutenant of the West of Scotland, but following the King's execution, fled to Ireland. His estates were confiscated and he was forced to pay a substantial sum of money to have them returned to his family.
The Stuarts of Bute supported William of Orange and Queen Mary, and in the reign of Queen Anne, Sir James' grandson, another Sir James, was one of the Commissioners for the negotiation of the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England. In 1703, he was created Earl of Bute.
During the 1715 Jacobite Uprising, the Stuarts of Bute supported the Government. John, 3rd Earl of Bute was a close friend of George III and was appointed First Lord of the Treasury. In 1763, he concluded the Treaty with France which brought the Seven Years' War to an end. John, 4th Earl of Bute was created Marquess of Bute in 1796.
The majority of the Stewart monarchs came to violent ends. James I was murdered at Perth in 1437. James II was killed by a bursting canon at the Siege of Roxburgh Castle in 1460. James III died as he fled from the battlefield at Sauchieburn in 1488. James IV, who had married Princess Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII of England, was killed fighting against his brother-in-law's army at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. James V, who had married the French princess Mary de Guise, died three weeks after being routed at the Battle of Solway Moss in 1542.
Mary, James V's only natural child, married the Dauphin of France in 1558. He became King of France in 1559, but died in the following year. When the Catholic Mary returned to Scotland at the age of seventeen, it was to an unsettled country already immersed in the birth pains of the Reformation.
Advised to begin with by her half-brother, whom she created Earl of Moray in 1561, she was well received until her marriage to her cousin, Lord Darnley, eldest son of the Earl of Lennox. Through Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, Lord Darnley was a great-great grandson of Henry VII of England, and his marriage with Mary ensured that their son, James VI of Scotland, also became eligible to inherit the throne of England.
Lord Darnley was murdered in 1567, and the Queen's subsequent marriage to the Earl of Bothwell led to her downfall and flight to England where she was held prisoner at the Castle of Fotheringay. In 1567, she was executed, accused of plotting against her cousin Elizabeth I of England.
Mary's son. James VI, proved a competent ruler of Scotland and inherited the throne of England in 1603, moving his Court to London. He died in 1625 and was succeeded by his son, Charles I, whose confrontation with Parliament led to his execution and the Commonwealth headed up by Oliver Cromwell. The majority of Scots, however, remained loyal to the Stewarts (or Stuarts, as the name was spelled following Mary, Queen of Scots becoming Queen of France), and Charles II was crowned King of Scots at Scone in 1651. He was restored to the British throne in 1660.
Religion, alas, was the great divide in 17th century British politics, and when Charles II's brother, James VII and II embraced the Catholic faith, he was supplanted on the throne by his daughter Mary and her husband, the Protestant William of Orange. William and Mary had no heir, and Mary's sister Queen Anne also died childless. The Throne of Britain was then offered to a great-grandson of James VI and I, the Protestant George of Hanover, who, through his Scottish Stewart descent, became King of England and Scotland in 1714.
In 1673, James VI and II had married Mary of Modena, a Catholic princess, and their son, James Francis, was thought by many to be the rightful heir to the British throne. This therefore led to the launch of the Jacobite Cause and the unsuccessful Scottish Highland Uprisings of 1715 in favour of James VII and II's son, the de jure James VIII and III, and in support of his grandson, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, in 1745.
Sir John Stewart of Darnley (c.1365-1429) commanded Scots in the French Service and defeated the English at the Battle of Baugé in 1421. He was created Comte d'Evreux and Seigneur d'Aubigny. Alan Stewart (d.c.1587) was Commendator of Crossraguel Abbey in Ayrshire. In 1570, he was roasted before the fire in Dunure Castle by the Earl of Cassilis who was determined to make him sign a Charter to make over the Abbey lands to him. Walter Stewart (d.1617) was the son of Sir John Stewart of Minto and became a Lord of Session taking the name Lord Blantyre. Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees (1635-1713) was Lord Advocate between 1692 and 1709, then 1711 to 1713. Archibald Stewart (1697-1780) was Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1744 to 1746. For his weakness in not resisting the Jacobite occupation of the City in 1745, he was tried for treason but found not guilty. Dugald Stewart (1753-1828) became Professor of Mathematics at Edinburgh University, becoming Professor of Moral Philosophy in 1785.
Frances Theresa, ' La Belle Stuart,' (1647-1702) was the granddaughter of the 1st Lord Blantyre. A favourite of Charles II, she married the Duke of Richmond and bought Lethington House, near Haddington, which she re-named Lennoxlove. John Stuart (1743-1821) completed the translation of the Old Testament into Gaelic. David Stewart of Garth (1772-1829) served with Black Watch and in 1825 became Governor of St Lucia. He wrote Sketches of the Character, Manners and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland (1882). Sir Charles Stuart (1779-1845) was Scottish Ambassador to Paris from 1815 to 1830, then St Petersburg from 1841-1845. John Stuart (1813-77), an Aberdeen Advocate, wrote 'The Sculptured Stones of Scotland, The Book of the Deer, and A Lost Chapter in the History of Mary Queen of Scots. Sir Alexander Stuart (1825-86) emigrated from Edinburgh to New South Wales and became Premier there in 1883.
Surname distribution in Scotland: The Stewart name is common throughout the whole of Scotland, with the highest numbers occuring in Highland (an amalgamation of the historic counties of Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland and small areas of Argyllshire and Morayshire), Perth and Kinross, Dundee City and Angus (Forfarshire).
Places of Interest:
Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. This was home to various Stewart/Stuart monarchs including James V and Mary, Queen of Scots.
Edinburgh Castle, Midlothian. In 1566, it was the birthplace of James VI. It houses the Honours of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny.
Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow. This was the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1542.
Stirling Castle, Stirling. Mary Queen of Scots was crowned at Stirling in 1543. James VI was baptised here in 1566 and crowned here in 1567.
Loch Leven Castle, Fife. The castle on an island in Loch Leven where Mary, Queen of Scots was held prisoner between 1567 and 1568, but escaped.
Doune Castle, overlooking River Teith, Stirlingshire. Built towards the end of the 14th Century by Robert Stewart, Regent of Scotland and Duke of Albany in the reign of Robert III. The restored ruin is owned by the Earl of Moray.
Falkland Palace, Falkland, Fife. Hunting Lodge of the Stewart kings. James V died here after his defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss in 1542. Owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
Traquair House, Innerleithen, Peeeblesshire. Reputed to be the oldest continually inhabited house in Scotland. The Bear Gates are 'never to be open until a Stuart is returned to the throne.' Sir John Stuart, 1st Earl of Traquair, was Lord High Treasurer of Scotland in the reign of Charles I. Although still the home of the Maxwell Stuart Family, Traquair House and grounds are open to the public.
Galloway House, Garlieston, Wigtownshire. Ancient seat of the earls of Galloway
Dunkeld Cathedral, Dunkeld, Perthshire. The Wolf of Badenoch's tomb with his carved effigy is here.
Paisley Abbey, Glasgow. This was founded in the 12th century by Walter Fitz Alan, High Steward of Scotland.
Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute. This is the ancestral seat of the marquesses of Bute.
Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, Perthshire. Ancient seat of the Stewart earls of Atholl.
Garth Castle, near Aberfeldy, Perthshire. Built by Sir John Stewart of Balveny in the 14th century.
“Only The Finest!!!”
— King Stewart