Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar

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Alexander Stewart
Alasdair mac Alasdair Mór
Earl of Mar, and Lord of Garioch, Lochaber and Badenoch
Mar Effigy.jpg
ReignMar and Garioch: 1404/8–35
Lochaber: 1424–35
Badenoch: 1427–35
PredecessorIsabel Douglas, Countess of Mar*
*obtained lordship of Mar by this marriage.
SuccessorRobert Erskine, 1st Lord Erskine, de jure 13th Earl of Mar
Bornc. 1375
DiedJuly/August, 1435
Mar
BuriedBlackfriars, Inverness
Noble familyBadenoch Stewart
Issue
Thomas Stewart (bastard)
FatherAlexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan
MotherMairead inghean Eachainn

Alexander Stewart (c. 1375 – 1435) was a Scottish nobleman, Earl of Mar from 1404. He acquired the earldom through marriage to the hereditary countess, and successfully ruled the northern part of Scotland.

Biography[edit]

He was an illegitimate son of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan and probably Mairead inghean Eachainn.[1][2]

Heraldic Arms of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar

Alexander held the Earldom of Mar and the Lordship of the Garioch jure uxoris, in right of his first wife Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar (died 1408). Alexander's marriage to Isabella followed his capture of Kildrummy Castle, and Isabella with it, in 1404. He had forced her to execute a charter (August 12) settling the reversion to the earldom on himself and his heirs. This act she is belevied to have revoked in September, but on marrying him, on the 9th of December 1404, she granted him the earldom for life, the king confirming this on the 21st of June 1405.[3] These events sent major shockwaves throughout the kingdom and Alexander only escaped punishment because he was a close relation to the Royal Family. His possession of the Earldom was later regularised in 1424 by grant of his cousin, King James I.

He was a close supporter of his uncle Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, who was then ruler of the kingdom as regent for his brother King Robert III of Scotland. Robert had been badly injured when he was kicked by his horse. Alexander led the so-called "Lowland" army, in fact that of the north-east and eastern Highlands, against Domhnall of Islay, Lord of the Isles at the bloody and indecisive battle of Harlaw in 1411.

Unlike his father, who had been unable to keep the peace in the fractious north-east, Alexander, Walter Bower says, "ruled with acceptance nearly all of the north of the country beyond the Mounth".[4] He achieved this not by using different methods from his father but by his ability to keep his cateran forces in check and to use them to protect his extensive lands when needed; the result was that the lowland areas of Aberdeenshire and Moray were protected.[5]

Alexander sat on the jury of 21 knights and peers that convicted his first cousin Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany, and two of his sons of treason in 1424, leading to their execution and the virtual annihilation of the Stewarts of Albany.[6]

Marriages and children[edit]

Alexander first married Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar (died 1408). Alexander later married Marie van Hoorn, daughter of Willem, Lord of Duffel, in 1410. He died without having a legitimate male heir, and the Earldom of Mar reverted to the crown.

He had two illegitimate children:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ David Ditchburn, ‘Stewart, Alexander, earl of Mar (c.1380–1435)’,Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2005 accessed 1 Aug 2007
  2. ^ Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy p. 220 (London, UK: The Bodley Head, 1999)
  3. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainRound, John Horace (1911). "Mar, Earldom of" . In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 665.
  4. ^ Grant, p. 157.
  5. ^ Boardman, pp. 265, 266
  6. ^ George Crawfurd, p.159, A General Description of the Shire of Renfrew (1818) Retrieved November 2010

References[edit]

  • Boardman, Stephen I.,The Early Stewart Kings: Robert II and Robert III Edinburgh, Reprint 2007. ISBN 978-1-904607-68-7
  • Grant, Alexander, "The Wolf of Badenoch" in W.D.H. Sellar (ed.), Moray: Province and People. Scottish Society for Northern Studies, Edinburgh, 1993. ISBN 0-9505994-7-6
  • Nigel Tranter, The Stewart Trilogy, Dunton Green, Sevenoaks, Kent: Coronet Books, 1986. ISBN 0-340-39115-4. Lords of Misrule, 1388–1396. A Folly of Princes, 1396–1402. The Captive Crown, 1402–1411.