Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland

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Walter Stewart
6th High Steward of Scotland
Bornc. 1296
Died(1327-04-09)9 April 1327
Bathgate Castle
Noble familyHouse of Stewart
Spouse(s)Marjorie Bruce
Isabel de Graham
FatherJames Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland
MotherGiles de Burgh

Walter Stewart (c. 1296[1] – 9 April 1327) was the 6th Hereditary High Steward of Scotland and was the father of King Robert II of Scotland, the first Stewart monarch.


He was born at Bathgate Castle,[1] West Lothian, Scotland, the eldest son and heir of James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland (c. 1260-1309) by his third wife Giles (Latinised to Egidia) de Burgh, a daughter of the Irish nobleman Walter de Burgh, 1st Earl of Ulster.[2][3]


At the age of 21 Walter fought against the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314[4] where according to some sources, together with Douglas he commanded the left wing of the Scots' army,[5] but according to other sources was (due to his youth and inexperience) merely the nominal leader of one of the four (or three[6]) Scottish schiltrons, the effective leader being his cousin James Douglas, Lord of Douglas.[7]

For his services at Bannockburn, Walter was appointed Warden of the Western Marches and was rewarded with a grant of the lands of Largs, which had been forfeited by King John Balliol. In 1316 Stewart donated those lands to Paisley Abbey.[8]

Following the liberation of King Robert the Bruce's wife, Elizabeth de Burgh, and daughter, Marjorie, from their long captivity in England in October 1314, Walter the High Steward was sent to receive them at the Anglo-Scottish Border and conduct them back to the Scottish royal court.[5] Soon after, in 1315, he married Marjorie, receiving the Barony of Bathgate in Linlithgowshire as part of his wife's dowry.[9]

During the absence of King Robert the Bruce in Ireland, Walter the High Steward and Sir James Douglas managed government affairs and spent much time defending the Scottish Borders. Upon the capture of Berwick-upon-Tweed from the English in 1318 he took command of the town which subsequently on 24 July 1319 was besieged by King Edward II of England. Several of the siege engines were destroyed by the Scots' garrison whereupon Walter the Steward suddenly rushed in force from the walled town to drive off the enemy. In 1322, with Douglas and Thomas Randolph, he made an attempt to surprise the English king at Byland Abbey, near Malton in Yorkshire, but Edward escaped, pursued towards York by Walter the Steward and 500 horsemen.[5]

Around 1320/26, Walter, Steward of Scotland, granted by charter to John St. Clair, his valet, the lands of Maxton, Roxburghshire, one of the witnesses being Roberto de Lauwedir tunc justiciario Laudonie ("Robert de Lauder, then Justiciar of Lothian").[10]

Marriages and children[edit]

He married twice:

Death and burial[edit]

He died on 9 April 1327 at Bathgate Castle and was buried in the Abbey Church of Paisley, alongside his first wife, Marjorie Bruce, and his five High Steward ancestors. A memorial on the wall of the Abbey is inscribed as follows:[13]

In everlasting memory of the High Stewards of Scotland. Here rest their bodies where stood the high altar of this Abbey Church of Paisley.

Court offices
Preceded by High Steward of Scotland
Succeeded by


  1. ^ a b G. W. S. Barrow, 'Stewart family (per. c.1110–c.1350)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  2. ^ Cal.Doc Scot. vol ii, no 847
  3. ^ Walter's mother is sometimes identified erroneously as Cecily or Cecilia de Dunbar, his father's first wife[citation needed]
  4. ^ Simpson, David, The Genealogical and Chronological History of the Stuarts, Edinburgh, 1713.
  5. ^ a b c Anderson, William, The Scottish Nation, Edinburgh, 1867, vol.ix, p. 513, states he was 21 years of age at Bannockburn.
  6. ^ Peter Traquair Freedom's Sword
  7. ^ John Prebble The Lion in the North
  8. ^ Stewart, James King (1901). The Story of the Stewarts. Edinburgh: George Stewart & Co. p. 75-76. Retrieved 12 January 2017. largs.
  9. ^ Stewart. Story. pp. 75–76.
  10. ^ Angus, William, editor, Miscellaneous Charters 1315-1401, in Miscellany of The Scottish History Society, vol. 5, 1933, p. 9.
  11. ^ Weir, Alison (2008). Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy. London: Vintage. p. 215. ISBN 978-0099539735.
  12. ^ Weir. Britain's Royal Families. p. 215.
  13. ^ "Sir Walter Stewart". Find a Grave. Retrieved 12 January 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Burke, Messrs., John and John Bernard, The Royal Families of England Scotland and Wales, with Their Descendants &c., London, 1848, volume 1, pedigree LXVIII, and volume 2 (1851) page xlvi.
  • Clay, John W., FSA., editor, The Visitation of Cambridge, 1575 and 1619 by Henery St.George, Richmond Herald, Harleian Society, London, 1897, pps: 7 - 11.
  • Dunbar, Sir Archibald H., Bt., Scottish Kings, a Revised Chronology of Scottish History, 1005 - 1625, Edinburgh, 1899, pps: 126 - 144.
  • Louda, Jiri, & Maclagan, Michael, Lines of Succession, London, 1981.
  • Weis, Frederick Lewis, et al., The Magna Charta Sureties 1215, 5th edition, Baltimore, 2002, p. 50.