1902 Encyclopedia > Stuart


STUART, STEWART, or STEUART, the surname of a family who became heirs to the Scottish and ultimately to the English crown. Their descent is traced to a Norman baron Alan, whose eldest son William became progenitor of the earls of Arundel, and whose two younger sons Walter and Simon came to Scotland, Walter being appointed high steward of David I., who conferred on him various lands in Benfrewshire, including Paisley, where he founded the abbey in 1160. Walter, his grand-son, third steward, was appointed by Alexander II. justiciary of Scotland, and, dying in 1246, left four sons and three daughters. The third son Walter obtained by marriage the earldom of Menteith, which ultimately came by marriage to Robert, duke of Albany, third son of Robert II. Alexander, fourth steward, the eldest son of Walter, third steward, inherited by his marriage with Jean, granddaughter of Somerled, the islands of Bute and Arran, and on 2d October 1263 defeated Haco at Largs. He had two sons, James and John. The latter, who com-manded the men of Bute at the battle of Falkirk in 1298, had seven sons:—(1) Sir Alexander, whose grandson became in 1389 earl of Angus, the title afterwards passing in the female line to the Douglases, and in 1761 to the duke of Hamilton; (2) Sir Alan of Dreghorn, ancestor of the earls and dukes of Lennox, from whom Lord Darnley, husband of Queen Mary, and also Arabella Stuart, were descended ; (3) Sir Walter, who obtained the barony of Garlies, Wigtownshire, from his uncle John Randolph, earl of Moray, and was the ancestor of the earls of Galloway, younger branches of the family being the Stewarts of Tonderghie, Wigtownshire, and also those of Physgill and Glenturk in the same county; (4) Sir James, who fell at Dupplin in 1332, ancestor of the lords of Lorn, on whose descendants were conferred at different periods the earldoms of Athole, Buchan, and Traquair, and who were also the progenitors of the Stewarts of Appin, Argyllshire, and of Grandtully, Perthshire; (5) Sir John, killed at Halidon Hill in 1333; (6) Sir Hugh, who fought under Edward Bruce in Ireland; and (7) Sir Robert of Dal-dowie, ancestor of the Stewarts of Allanton and of Colt-ness. James Stewart, the eldest son of Alexander, fourth steward, succeeded his father in 1283, and, after distin-guishing himself in the wars of Wallace and of Bruce, died in 1309. His son Walter, sixth steward, who had joint command with Douglas of the left wing at the battle of Bannockburn, married Marjory, daughter of Robert the Bruce, and during the latter's absence in Ireland was entrusted with the government of the kingdom. He died in 1326, leaving an only son, who as Robert II. ascended the throne of Scotland in 1370 (see vol. xxi. p. 490). Sir Alexander Stewart, earl of Buchan, fourth son of Robert II., who earned by his ferocity the title of the "Wolf of Badenoch," inherited by his wife the earldom of Ross, but died without legitimate issue, although from his illegitimate offspring were descended the Stewarts of Belladrum, of Athole, of Garth, of Urrard, and of St Fort. On the death of the "Wolf of Badenoch" the earldom of Buchan passed to his brother Robert, duke of Albany, also earl of Fife and earl of Menteith, but these earldoms were forfeited on the execution of his son Murdoch in 1425, the earldom of Buchan again, however, coming to the house of Stewart in the person of James, second son of Sir James Stewart, the black knight of Lorn, by Johanna, widow of King James I. From Murdoch, duke of Albany, were descended the Stewarts of Ardvoirlich and other families of the name in Perthshire, and also the Stuarts of Inch-breck and Laithers, Aberdeenshire. From a natural son of Robert II. were descended the Steuarts of Dalguise, Perthshire, and from a natural son of Robert III. the Shaw Stewarts of Blackhall and Greenock. The direct male line of the royal family terminated with the death of James V. in 1542, whose daughter Mary was the first to adopt the spelling "Stuart." Mary was succeeded in her lifetime in 1567 by her only son James VI., who through his father Lord Darnley was also head of the second branch, there being no surviving male issue of the family from progenitors later than Robert II. In James V., son of James IV. by Margaret, daughter of Henry VII., the claims of the English junior branch became merged in the Scottish line, and on the death of Queen Elizabeth of England, last surviving offshoot of Henry VIII., James VI. of Scotland, lineally the nearest heir, was proclaimed king of England, in accordance with a declaration of Elizabeth that no minor person should ascend the throne, but her cousin the king of Scots. The accession of James was, however, contrary to the will of Henry VIII., which favoured the Suffolk branch, whose succession would probably have marvellously altered the complexion of both Scottish and English history. As it was, the only result of that will was a tragedy initiated by Elizabeth, but consummated by James, so as to clothe his memory with deep disgrace. In the Scottish line the nearest heir after James VI., both to the Scottish and English crowns, was Arabella Stuart, only child of Charles, earl of Lennox, younger brother of Lord Darnley,—Lady Margaret Douglas, the mother of Darnley and his brother, having been the daughter of Archibald, sixth earl of Angus by Margaret, queen dowager of James IV. James VI. (I. of England) was thus nearest heir of the junior English branch by a double descent, Arabella Stuart being next heir by a single descent. On account of the descent from Henry VII., the jealousy of Elizabeth had already caused her to imprison Arabella's mother (Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Cavendish) on learning that she had presumed to marry Lennox. The daughter's marriage she was determined by every possible means to prevent. She objected when King James proposed to marry her to Lord Esme Stuart, whom he had created duke of Lennox, but when the appalling news reached her that Arabella had actually found a lover in William Seymour, grandson of Catherine Grey, heiress of the Suffolk branch, she was so deeply alarmed and indignant that she immediately ordered her imprisonment. This happened immediately before Elizabeth's death, after which she obtained her release. Soon after the accession of James a conspiracy, of which she was altogether ignorant, was entered into to advance her to the throne, but this caused no alteration in her treatment by James, who allowed her a maintenance of £800 a year. In February 1610 it was discovered that she was engaged to Seymour, and, although she then promised never to marry him without the king's consent, the marriage took place secretly in July following. In consequence of this her husband was sent to the Tower, and she was placed in private confinement. Though separated, both succeeded in escaping simultaneously on 3d June 1611; but, less fortunate than her husband, who got safe to the Continent, she was captured at the Straits of Dover, and shut up in the Tower. Her hopeless captivity deprived her of her reason before her sorrows were ended by death, 27th September 1615.

By the usurpation of Cromwell the Stuarts were excluded from the throne from the defeat of Charles I. at Naseby in 1645 until the restoration of his son Charles II. in 1661. Carlyle refers to the opinion of genealogists that Cromwell "was indubitably either the ninth or the tenth or some other fractional part of half a cousin of Charles Stuart," but this has been completely exploded by Walter Bye, in the Genealogist ("The Steward Genealogy and Cromwell's Royal Descent," new ser., vol. ii. pp. 34-42). On the death of Charles II. without issue in 1685, his brother James, duke of York, ascended the throne as James II., but he so alienated the sympathies of the nation by his unconstitutional efforts to further the Catholic religion that an invitation was sent to the prince of Orange to come " to the rescue of the laws and religion of England." Next to the son of James II., still an infant under his father's control, Mary, princess of Orange, eldest daughter of James II., had the strongest claim to the crown; but neither were the claims of the prince, even apart from his marriage, very remote, since he was the son of Mary, eldest daughter of Charles I. The marriage had strengthened the claims of both, and they were proclaimed joint sovereigns of England on 12th February 1689, Scotland following the example of England on the 11th April. They had no issue, and the Act of Settlement passed in 1701, excluding Catholics from the throne, secured the succession to Anne, second daughter of James II., and on her death without issue to the Protestant House of Hanover, descended from the princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I., wife of Frederick, count palatine of the Rhine. On the death of Anne in 1714, George, elector of Hanover, eldest son of Sophia, electress of Hanover (only surviving child of the princess Elizabeth), and Ernest, youngest son of George, duke of Brunswick, consequently became sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland, and, notwithstanding somewhat formidable at-tempts in behalf of the elder Stuart line in 1715 and 1745, the Hanoverian succession has remained uninterrupted, and has ultimately won universal assent. The female line of James II. ended with the death of his daughter, Queen Anne. James, called James III. by the Jacobites and the Old Pretender by the Hanoverians, had two sons,,—Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, who died without legitimate issue in 1780, and Henry, titular duke of York, commonly called Cardinal York, at whose death in 1807 the male line of James II. came to an end. He was also the last lineal male representative of any of the crowned heads of the race, so far as either England or Scotland was concerned, and excepting of course the Hanoverian line. In the female Stuart line there are, however, still nearer heirs to the throne than those of the Hanoverian line, viz., the descendants of Henrietta, duchess of Orleans, daughter of Charles I., represented now only in Maria Theresa, married to Prince Louis Leopold of Bavaria, and their nine children. The male representation of the family, being extinct in the royal lines, is claimed by the earls of Galloway and also by the Stewarts of Castlemilk, but the claims of both are more than doubtful.

See Sir George Mackenzie's Defence of the Royal Line of Scotland, 1685, and Antiquity of the Royal Line of Scotland, 1686; Crawfurd's Genealogical History of the Royal and Illustrious Family of the Stuarts, 1710; Duncan Stewart's Genealogical Account of the Surname of Stewart, 1739; Andrew Stuart's Genealogical History of the Stuarts, 1798; Stothert's House of Stuart, privately printed, 1855; An Abstract of the Evidence to prove that Sir William Stewart of Jedworth, the Paternal Ancestor of the Present Earl of Galloway, was the Second Son of Sir Alexander Stewart of Darnley, 1801; Townend's Descendants of the Stuarts, 1858; Bailey, The Succession to the English Crown, 1879. (T. F. H.)

The above article was written by: T. F. Henderson.

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-23 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries