William Stewart of Houston

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Sir William Stewart of Houston (c. 1540 – c. 1605) was a Scottish soldier, politician and diplomat.


He began his career as a soldier in the Netherlands, where he became a colonel and entered into communications with Lord Burghley on the progress of affairs. In the year 1582 he was in Scotland, where James VI made him captain of his guard. Having visited the English court in the king's interest in 1583, Stewart helped to free James from William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, and to bring back James Stewart, Earl of Arran to power; these acts largely restored the young King James's position, after the Raid of Ruthven.

He was made a privy councillor and for a time assisted Arran in governing Scotland. In 1584 he captured Gowrie at Dundee. In 1585 he and Arran lost their power, and Stewart went to Denmark and France on secret errands for the king. He commanded the ships which conveyed James and his bride, Anne, from Denmark in 1590, and the same year was sent on an embassy to the German princes.

Twice he went on missions to the Netherlands, and in 1594 he was knighted and was given lands at Houston. He died before 1606. His only son, Frederick (c. 1590-1625), who was created a peer as Lord Pittenweem in 1609, died childless in December 1625.

Others of this name[edit]

Sir William Stewart of Houston is often confused with Sir William Stewart of Monkton (d. 1588), a brother of James Stewart, Earl of Arran, who was killed in a fight in Edinburgh in July 1588, and also with Sir William Stewart of Caverstoun.

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.