The story of our family...for my sons

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Clan Stewart (Stuart)

The surname Stewart (or Stuart) is derived from Steward, indicating an official in charge of a household and/or treasury- often of a king, but also of a notable earl, or bishop. It was from Walter fitz-Allen that the line of Stewart (or Stuart) kings descended. He was a Norman noble appointed to the post of hereditary High Steward of Scotland by King David I. Walter's influential family and descendents established various separate branches of Stewarts before their main line became a royal one. This transpired through Walter, the sixth High Steward, ho fought at Bannockburn and married King Robert Bruce's daughter, Marjory. Their son became Robert II, the first Stewart king.

Previous to 1371, Walter's uncel, Sir John Stewart of Bonkill who fel at Falkird in 1298) left seven sons. The first three founded respectively the Stewart earldoms of Angus, Lennox, and Galloway.


The beautiful Isle of Bute formed part of the domain of Walter, the first High Steward, and remained a Stewart possession except for a brief Norse occupation. But only after 1385 did a family branch become established there, when Sir John Stewart, a son of King Robert II, was appointed hereditary Sheriff of Bute and Arran. His descendants still hold the marquisate of Bute.

The spelling ‘Stuart’ originated with some Stewarts living in France where the alphabet has no ‘w’. Adopted there also by Mary Queen of Scots, it became fashionable when she continued using it on her return. Steuart was a compromise between the two forms.

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