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Clan Biggar(er)
Bygar
The clan badge of Clan Biggar.png
Motto Giving and Forgivivng
Profile
Region Lowlands and Scottish Borders
District South Lanarkshire and Midlothian
Plant badge Thistle
Pipe music Scotland the Brave
Chief
John Otto Bigger
Lord of Woolmet
Historic seat Lanark and Woolmet

Clan Biggar (Gaelic: Bygar) is a Lowland Scottish clan. The clan is recognized by Court of the Lord Lyon, it does have a clan chief recognized by the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

Because the primary line has died without an issue, the Chief of the clan reverted back to the original bearer; Major John Biggar of Woolmet's Ulster family are now considered to be the principal branch of this clan. The Court of the Lord Lyon recognizes two other 'Biggar' clans, Clan Biggar of Edinburgh and afford mentioned Clan Biggar of Ulster.

History[edit]

Origins of the clan[edit]

The History of the Biggar family is a mix of two families. One being from Nomandy, settling in a place named Biggar, South Lanarkshire after the Nomman Conquest in 1066 and the other being those, who at this time have no origin, with the last name of Biggar, settling in Woolmet.

Scholars both internal and external point to Baldwin De Flamingus,(Flemming) as being the first to carry the name of Biggar as Baldwin De Bygar/Biggar; though others list the family as remaining Flemming of Biggar.

He acquired lands in Scotland, as did many other Anglo-Norman families, when David I ascended to the throne of Scotland. David I charters Baldwin as Sheriff of Lanark in 1154, in which he continues in this role till the end of Malcolm IV of Scotland reign in 1165.

  • Witness to the grant by Wice of Wiston of a church to Abbey of Kelso
  • Step-father to the found of Crawfordjohn, John of Crawford
  • Witness deeds by Walter, son of Allan the Steward for granting of an abby at Paisley and church at Innerkyp

Baldwin was then succeeded by his son Waldeve, who became a captive in the Battle of Alnwick after King William I's failed cavalry charge.

This Biggar line continues until Sir Nichoals de Biggar death. Having no sons his widow and daughters become wardens of Edward I.

The family was granted extensive estates in Renfrewshire and in East Lothian and the office of Chamberlain of Scotland was made hereditary in the family.

Wars of Scottish Independence[edit]

Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland had two sons, James and John. The elder, James would succeed Alexander as chief of the clan. During the Wars of Scottish Independence the Clan Stewart gave much support to King Robert the Bruce. Alexander's second son, known as Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll, was killed at the Battle of Falkirk (1298), fighting in support of William Wallace.[1]

Alexander's second son, John, who was killed at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 had seven sons. The eldest was Sir Alexander who was the ancestor to the Stewarts who were Earls of Angus. The second son was Sir Alan Stewart of Dreghorn whose family became the Earls and Dukes of Lennox. The third son was Walter whose family were the Earls of Galloway. The fourth son was Sir James whose family were the Earls of Atholl, Earl of Buchan and Earl of Traquair. The fifth son Sir John Stewart was killed at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333. The sixth son Sir Hugh Stewart fought in Ireland under Edward Bruce, the younger brother of King Robert the Bruce. The seventh son was Sir Robert Stewart of Daldowie (NOT the Lanarkshire Daldowie).[1]

James Stewart, the eldest son of Alexander Stewart, succeeded as the fifth high steward in 1283. On the death of King Alexander III of Scotland in 1286, James Stewart was one of six magnates of Scotland chosen to act as regents of the kingdom. James died in the service of Robert the Bruce in 1309. James's son Walter became the sixth high steward. This Walter Stewart at the age of just twenty-one years commanded the left wing of the Scottish army, along with Sir James Douglas at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Robert the Bruce and his wife Isabella's only child, Marjorie Bruce, married Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland (1293–1326), and from him the Royal House of Stewart are descended.[1]

Royal House[edit]

Mary, Queen of Scots, with her only adult son, James VI

A chief of the Clan Stewart Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland married Marjorie Bruce daughter of King Robert the Bruce, this began the Royal House of Stewart. Walter Stewart's son called Robert the seventh lord-high steward had been declared heir to the throne of Scotland in 1318. However the birth of a son to Robert the Bruce in 1326 interrupted Robert Stewart's prospects for a time. Robert Stewart received from his grandfather large amounts of land in Kintyre. During the long and disastrous reign of King David II of Scotland, Robert Stewart acted a patriotic part in the defense of the kingdom. On the death of King David II without issue on 22 February 1371 Robert Stewart, at the age of fifty five, succeeded to the crown of Scotland as King Robert II of Scotland. He was the first of the Stewart family to ascend to the throne of Scotland.[1]

The royal line of male Stewarts continued uninterrupted until the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary's son James VI and descendents, monarchs of Great Britain and Ireland from 1603 to 1714, continued to use the surname Stuart as they were descended from Mary's second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley a member of the clan Stewart of Darnley. It was around this time that the second and interchangeable spelling of the name Stuart became common allegedly through the French influence of Mary's upbringing. Members of this Stewart line were later found in Kintyre, Argyll from the early 1600's. Living members of this family (discovered after yDNA matching, approved by the Stewart Society in Edinburgh) can be found in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.[1][2] The Stuarts held the throne of Scotland and after the Union of the Crowns in 1603 they held the throne of England too. This was held until the death of Queen Anne of Great Britain in 1714, the last monarch from the House of Stuart. Anne was succeeded by her cousin, King George I of Great Britain of the House of Hanover. The present Royal Family still has Stuart blood links.[1]

Sauchieburn and Prince James Stewart[edit]

The Battle of Sauchieburn was fought on June 11, 1488, at the side of Sauchie Burn, a brook about two miles (3 km) south of Stirling, Scotland. The battle was fought between as many as 30,000 troops of King James III Stewart and some 18,000 troops raised by Scottish nobles who favoured the King's then-15-year-old son, Prince James. Prince James ascended to the throne, and reigned as James IV for twenty-five years.[1]

In 1489 John Stewart, 1st Earl of Lennox rebelled against King James IV of Scotland. James responded by bringing the cannon Mons Meg from Edinburgh, and bombarding Crookston Castle seat of the Earl of Lennox, virtually destroying its western end, and ensuring a quick surrender.[1]

16th century[edit]

Clan Stewart tartan, as published in 1842 in the dubious Vestiarium Scoticum.

During the 16th century the Anglo-Scottish Wars took place under the reign of the Stewarts. England and Scotland had fought during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries including the Wars of Scottish Independence at the beginning of the 14th century. In most cases, one country had attempted to take advantage of weakness or instability in the other. For example, King James II of Scotland had attempted to regain Berwick during the Wars of the Roses in England. Battles with England from this time included: the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513, the Battle of Solway Moss in 1542, the Battle of Ancrum Moor in 1545 and the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547.[1]

Patrick Rattray, chief of Clan Rattray was intimidated into giving up the Barony by John Stewart, who was then the Earl of Atholl. Through the marriage of Patrick’s niece into the family, the Earl took control of the Barony of Rattray and also took control of her sister. Thus Patrick was driven from his estate in 1516. He began the construction of Craighall a grand building perched on a 200 feet (61 m) rock above the River Ericht. The stronghold of Craighall could not protect him from John Stewart the Earl of Atholl though and he was murdered in 1533.

Sir John’s son Patrick defended Castle Rattray against the Stewarts of Atholl but was forced to burn the Castle and escape in the confusion. The Rattrays then withdrew to Kynballoch, where Patrick was later murdered by the 3rd Earl of Atholl’s men whilst claiming sanctuary in his own Chapel.[1]

Also in the 16th century an internal Scottish Civil War took place between the Royal House of Stuarts and Mary, Queen of Scots. The Battle of Langside, fought on May 13, 1568, was one of the more unusual contests in Scottish history, bearing a superficial resemblance to a grand family quarrel, in which a mother fought her brother who was defending the rights of her infant son. In 1567 Mary Queen of Scots' short period of personal rule ended in recrimination, intrigue and disaster when she was forced to abdicate in favour of James VI, her infant son. Mary was sent into captivity in Loch Leven Castle, while her Protestant half-brother, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray was appointed Regent on behalf of his nephew. In early May 1568 Mary escaped, heading west to the country of the Clan Hamilton, high among her remaining supporters, with the determination to restore her rights as queen.[1]

Sir John Rattray's third son Silvester succeeded his murdered brother, Stewart of Atholl continued to intimidate the family however and Silvester petitioned the king for legal recognition as heir. He was succeeded by his son, David Rattray of Craighall. George The laird’s eldest son was also murdered in 1592.

In 1600 Archibald MacAlister, chief of Clan MacAlister along with Angus Og MacDonald, a MacDonald chief carried out an attack on the inhabitants of the Isle of Bute against the Clan Stuart. A year later and Archibald MacAlister and Angus Og MacDonald were accused of being rebels, charged with treason against the royal house and hanged in Edinburgh Tollbooth.[1]

Clan Stewart were bitter enemies with the infamous Earls of Angus, known as the Red Douglases of Clan Douglas.[1]

17th century and the Civil War[edit]

undiffered arms of stewart
Stewart of Stewart
Arms of Stuart of Albany
Stuart of Albany
Arms of Stuart of Buchan
Stuart of Buchan
Arms of Stewart of Barclye
Stewart of Barclye
Arms of Stewart of Garlies
Stewart of Garlies
Arms of Stewart of Minto
Stewart of Minto
Arms of Stewart of Atholl
Stewart of Atholl
Arms of Stewart of Bute
Stewart of Bute
Arms of Stuart of Bute
Stuart of Bute
Arms of Stewart of Ardvorlich
Stewart of Ardvorlich
Arms of Stewart of Physgill
Stewart of Physgill
Arms of Stewart of Rothesay
Stewart of Rothesay

Scotland in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms was part of a wider conflict known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which included the Bishops Wars, the English Civil War and Irish Confederate Wars. The war was fought between Scottish Royalists — supporters of Charles Stuart I, under James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, and the Covenanters, who had controlled Scotland since 1639 and allied themselves with the English Parliament. The Scottish Royalists, who were allied to the English Royalists and were aided by Irish troops, had a rapid series of victories in 1644–45, but were eventually defeated by the Covenanters.[1]

However, the Scottish Covenanters themselves then found themselves at odds with the English Parliament and backed the claims of Charles Stuart II to the thrones of England and Scotland. This led to the Third English Civil War, when Scotland was invaded and occupied by the Parliamentarian New Model Army under Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell was later defeated in Scotland.[1]

Sir James Stuart of Bute was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I in 1627. Early in the civil war he garrisoned Rothesay Castle, and at his own expense raised soldiers for the king. He was appointed royal lieutenant for the west of Scotland, and directed to take possession of Dumbarton Castle. Two frigates sent to assist him fell foul of stormy weather, and one was completely wrecked. Ultimately, Sir James was forced to flee to Ireland when the forces of Cromwell were victorious. His estates were sequestrated, and he was forced to pay a substantial fine to redeem them. His grandson, Sir James Stuart of Bute, was appointed to manage the estates and to be colonel of the local militia on the forfeiture of the Earl of Argyll in 1681.[1]

Restoration of the Stewart Monarchy[edit]

After the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658, the factions and divisions which had struggled for supremacy during the early years of the interregnum reemerged. George Monck, who had served Cromwell and the English Parliament throughout the civil wars, judged that his best interests and those of his country lay in the Restoration of Charles II. In 1660, he marched his troops south from Scotland to ensure the monarchy's reinstatement. Scotland's Parliament and legislative autonomy were restored under the Restoration, though many issues that had led to the wars; religion, Scotland's form of government and the status of the Highlands, remained unresolved. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, many more Scots would die on both sides, over the same disputes in Jacobite rebellions.[1]

18th century and Jacobite risings[edit]

A Victorian era, romanticised depiction of a member of the clan by R. R. McIan, from The Clans of the Scottish Highlands, published in 1845.

In 1703 Sir James Stewart of Bute was created Earl of Bute, Viscount Kingarth and Lord Mount Stuart, Cumra and Inchmarnock. But by 1706, the earl was convinced a union with England would be a disaster for his country, and he opposed it vehemently. When he realised that Parliament would vote in favour of the alliance, he withdrew from politics entirely. He married the eldest daughter of Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, the celebrated Lord Advocate and heraldic writer. After the succession of George I, the Earl of Bute was appointed Commissioner for Trade and Police in Scotland, Lord Lieutenant of Bute and a lord of the bedchamber.[1]

Queen Anne of Great Britain died in 1714, the last monarch from the House of Stuart. Anne was succeeded by her own cousin King George I of Great Britain of the House of Hanover.[1]

The Jacobite Uprisings of the 18th century were led by Charles Edward Stuart who was the exiled claimant to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland, commonly known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie". Charles was the son of James Francis Edward Stuart also known as the Old Pretender. James Francis Edward Stuart was in turn the son of King James II of England and Ireland, who had been deposed in 1688. After his father's death Charles was recognised as "King Charles III" by his supporters but his opponents referred to him as "The Young Pretender".[1]

This resulted in the Jacobite Risings which first began in the late 17th century but did not gain momentum until the 18th century. The Clan Stewart fought at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. Their prowess in battle is celebrated by the fact that the present Duke of Atholl maintains the Atholl Highlanders as the only private army in the United Kingdom. Although many Stewarts and Stuarts fought for the Jacobites, many also remained peaceful.[1]

The 'Fifteen'[edit]

During the rising of 1715 Sir James Stuart of Bute commanded the Bute and Argyll militia at Inveraray, and through his vigilance kept that part of the country peaceful. His second son, having inherited his mother’s estates of Rosehaugh, took the surname Mackenzie. He became a Member of Parliament and later envoy to Sardinia, Keeper of the Privy Seal and Privy Councillor.[1]

The first major Jacobite Uprising became known as 'The Fifteen'. See main article: The 'Fifteen'. This resulted in the Battle of Preston (1715), the Battle of Sheriffmuir and the Battle of Glen Shiel in 1719.

The 'Forty-Five'[edit]

The next major Jacobite uprising during the 18th century was known as the 'Forty Five'. See Main article: The 'Forty-Five'. During this rising the Jacobites led by the Stuarts gained much success and support, winning many victories including the Battle of Prestonpans and the Battle of Falkirk (1746). However their success ended at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the last major battle on mainland Britain, where the Jacobites were defeated and the British government remained with the House of Hanover.[1]

Charles Stewart of Ardsheal led the men of Clan Stewart of Appin during the rising of 1745, and many fell at the grim field of Culloden, having first gained glory by breaking the Redcoat ranks. Colin Roy Campbell of Glenure, ‘the Red Fox’, was placed as government factor on the forfeited Stewart estates. His murder in 1752 has been immortalised by Robert Louis Stevenson in the novel, Kidnapped. After the chief suspect, Alan Breck Stewart, made his escape, James Stewart, the half-brother of the chief, was tried by a jury composed entirely of Campbells at Inverary presided over by Argyll himself, and, perhaps not surprisingly, was convicted and hanged. See main article: Appin Murder.[1]

Tartan[edit]

ye principal clovris of ye clanne Stewart tartan, as published in 1842 in the dubious Vestiarium Scoticum.

The Royal Stewart tartan is worn by the regimental pipers of the Scots Guards and was referred to by King George V of the United Kingdom as "my personal tartan". Known as the "Royal Tartan", it is still traditionally the official tartan of the Royal House of Scotland. Stewart setts or patterns also include 'Hunting Stewart','Stewart of Appin' and 'Stewart of Atholl' as well as 'Stewart of Ardshiel','Stewart of Galloway' and numerous 'dress setts' and an apparently[weasel words] ancient pattern which supposedly predates the 'Tartan revival' of the early 1820s. It is also the official tartan of The Royal Scots Regiment and Queen Victoria School in Dunblane, Scotland

Castles[edit]

  • [Woolmet House] is the most notable castles owned by the Biggar family.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x .
  2. ^ Stewarts of Campbeltown, Kintyre

Caledonia: Or, A Historical and Topographical Account of North ..., Volume 6 By George Chalmers

The Ancestry of the Earl of Wigton By F. Lawrence Fleming

Biggar and the House of Fleming An Account of the Biggar District, Archaeological, Historical and Biographical by William Hunter (1862)

External links[edit]

House of Stuart Stuart Stuart Category:Kinship and descent Clans and families Stuart