The Stewarts descend from one of the
Anglo-Norman knights introduced by David I. Walter accompanied David I on
his return from England to Scotland and was created Steward of Scotland.
Walter the Steward was one of the commanders who defeated Somerled of the
Isles in 1164.
James, the 5th High Steward, fought
with the Robert the Bruce and secured the ongoing privileged position for
Sir Walter Stewart married the Bruce's
daughter Marjorie. On the death of Bruce's only son David II, Sir Walter's
son and Bruce's grandson, Robert Stewart became Robert II.
The Stewart Royal line continued with
male heirs until Mary Queen of Scots. The Stewarts held the Scottish throne
with Robert II from 1371 (later the English and British) until Queen Anne
in 1714. But of course, after the Hanoverian line was placed on the throne,
the Royal Stewart line continued through uncrowned James VIII and James
Francis Edward Stewart, Bonnie Prince Charlie. Jacobite rebellions continued
up until the final defeat at Culloden in 1746.
The family had many branches including
Stewart & Stuarts in Perthshire.
Garth Castle near
Aberfeldy was built in 14thC by the 'Wolf of
Badenoch', Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan.
During the reign of Robert III his
brother Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, acted as Regent. (Robert III was
actually John but took the name Robert because John was felt to be too
'English'). Doune Castle is an impressive
fortress built late in the late 14thC by Robert, Duke of Albany. Robert,
Duke of Albany continued initially as Regent for James I. This Regency was
in turn continued by his son Murdoch, Duke of Albany. James I had his
Murdoch executed for treason and forfeited much of the Stewart lands including
Doune Castle in 1424.
The Stewarts of Ardvorlich House on
the south side of Loch Earn represent another smaller branch of the
James II gave the Earldom of Atholl
centred on Blair Castle to a Stewart of Balvenie
in 1457. These Stewart lands passed to John Murray of Tullibardine through
Stewart female decent in 1629.