|Duke of Albany|
Lithograph of the reverse of the 1413 seal of Robert Stewart as Governor of Scotland
|Died||3 September 1420 (aged c. 80)|
|Spouse|| Margaret, Countess of Menteith (1363–×1380)|
Muriella Keith (1380–death)
|House||Stewart (Albany branch)|
|Father||Robert II of Scotland|
|Mother||Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan|
Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (c. 1340 – 3 September 1420) was a member of the Scottish royal family who served as regent (at least partially) to three different Scottish monarchs (Robert II, Robert III, and James I). A ruthless politician, Albany was widely regarded as having caused the murder of his nephew, the Duke of Rothesay, and brother to the future King James I of Scotland. James was held in captivity in England for eighteen years, during which time Albany served as regent in Scotland, king in all but name. He died in 1420 and was succeeded by his son, Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany, who was executed for treason when James returned to Scotland in 1425, almost causing the complete ruin of the Albany Stewarts.
Robert Stewart was the third son of the future King Robert II of Scotland (1316–1390) and of Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan. His parents' marriage was deemed uncanonical at first, which in some circles, gave their children and descendants the label of illegitimacy, but the granting of a papal dispensation in 1349 saw their remarriage and their children's legitimisation. Robert's grandfather was Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland (1293–1326) and his father was the first monarch of the House of Stewart. His great-grandfather was Robert the Bruce (1274–1329), legendary victor of the Battle of Bannockburn.
Robert Stewart was raised in a large family with many siblings. His older brother John Stewart (1337–1406) became Earl of Carrick in 1368, and would later be crowned King of Scotland under the name Robert III.
In 1361 Stewart married Margaret Graham, Countess of Menteith (1334–1380), a wealthy divorcee who took Robert as her fourth husband. His sister-in-law's claim to the Earldoms of Menteith and Fife allowed him to assume those titles, becoming Earl of Menteith and Earl of Fife. In 1362 the couple had a son and heir, Murdoch Stewart, (1362–1425) who would in time inherit his father's titles and estates.
Stewart was responsible for the construction of Doune Castle, which remains largely intact today. When Stewart was created Earl of Menteith, he was granted the lands on which Doune Castle now stands. Building may have started any time after this, and the castle was at least partially complete in 1381, when a charter was sealed here.
Scottish politics in the late fourteenth century was unstable and bloody, and much of Albany's career was spent acquiring territory, land and titles, often by violent means.
During the reign of their infirm father as King Robert II (1371–1390), Robert Stewart and his older brother Lord Carrick functioned as regents of Scotland, kings in all but name, with Albany serving as High Chamberlain of Scotland. He also led several military expeditions and raids into the Kingdom of England. Fife ensured at the December 1388 council meeting that the guardianship of Scotland would pass from Carrick (who had recently been badly injured from a horse-kick) to Fife.There was general approval of Fife's intention to properly resolve the situation of lawlessness in the north and in particular the activities of Alexander, Earl of Buchan, Lord of Badenoch and Ross, his younger brother. Buchan was stripped of his position of Justiciar North of the Forth, which would soon be given to Fife's son, Murdoch Stewart. Father and son would now work together to expand their family interest, bringing them into violent confrontation with other members of the nobility such as Donald McDonald, 2nd Lord of the Isles.
The Earl of Carrick acceded to the throne as King Robert III in 1390. His "sickness of the body" caused control of the kingdom eventually to devolve in 1399 to his son and heir apparent, David.In 1398 David had been created Duke of Rothesay and Robert had been created Duke of Albany, the first two dukedoms created in the Scottish Peerage. Power had begun to shift away from Albany and towards his nephew.
However, the English soon invaded Scotland, and serious differences emerged between Albany and Rothesay. In 1401, Rothesay was accused of unjustifiably appropriating sums from the customs of the burghs on the east coast and confiscating the revenues of the temporalities of the vacant bishopric of St Andrews. —as soon his lieutenancy expired in 1402 Albany acted swiftly and ruthlessly. Rothesay was arrested and imprisoned in Albany's Falkland Castle where he died in March 1402. Rothesay's death probably lay with Albany and Douglas who would have looked upon the possibility of the young prince acceding to the throne with great apprehension. Albany certainly fell under suspicion but he was cleared of all blame by a general council, which found that 'by divine providence and not otherwise, it is discerned that he [Duke Rothesay] departed from this life.'Rothesay had also in conjunction with his uncle, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, confronted Albany's influence in central Scotland
However, even though Albany was exonerated from blame, suspicions of foul play persisted, suspicions which never left Rothesay's younger brother the future James I of Scotland, and which would eventually lead to the downfall of the Albany Stewarts. John Debrett, writing in 1805, was in no doubt of Duke Robert's motives and guilt:
After Rothesay's death, the King began to fear for his second son James, who fled Scotland for his own safety. Debrett continues:
After the death of his brother King Robert III, Albany ruled Scotland as regent. His young nephew, the future James I of Scotland, remained in exile and imprisonment in England for 18 years. Albany made little effort to secure the young Prince's ransom and return to Scotland, focusing his energies instead on securing his own power and interest.
Albany's political triumph did not settle his differences with the other members of the nobility, in particular Donald McDonald, 2nd Lord of the Isles, who in 1411 led an army of clansmen from the Northwest Highlands into open battle with the Stewarts. This conflict began when Albany had attempted to secure the Earldom of Ross for his second son John, despite McDonald's better claim.At the Battle of Harlaw (known as "Red Harlaw" on account of its savagery) on 24 July 1411, losses were heavy on both sides, though McDonald's eventual withdrawal allowed the Stewarts to claim a strategic victory. The Stewart army was led by Albany's nephew, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, who later sat on the jury of knights and peers which convicted Albany's son Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany and two of his sons of treason, virtually annihilating the Albany Stewarts.
Albany married twice. Firstly, in 1361, he married Margaret Graham, Countess of Menteith, (1334–1380) a wealthy divorcee who took him as her fourth husband. His sister-in-law's claim to the Earldoms of Menteith and Fife allowed him to assume those titles after marriage. The couple had eight children, seven daughters and a son:
Margaret died in 1380 and Albany subsequently married Muriella Keith, with whom he had three children:
The Duke of Albany died in 1420 in Stirling Castle and lies buried in Dunfermline Abbey in Fife. He was succeeded as Duke of Albany and Regent of Scotland by his son, Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany. But Murdoch would not enjoy his power for long. In 1425 the exiled King James, captive in England for 18 years, finally returned to Scotland, and executed Murdoch and most of his family for treason, causing the almost complete ruin of the Albany Stewarts.
Murdoch Stewart's sole surviving male heir was his youngest son, James the Fat, who fled to Ireland after a brief rebellion against the King over the arrest of his father and brothers. James remained in Ireland, unable to return, and died there in 1429. He was never able to inherit his father's titles, since they had been declared forfeit.
Albany's great-grandson, James "Beg" Stewart, (c. 1410-1470) would eventually secure a pardon from the King and return to Scotland, though the family would never recover their lost estates. James "Beg" Stewart is the ancestor of the Stewarts of Ardvorlich on Lochearnside, whose family history is recounted by Sir Walter Scott in A Legend of Montrose.
Nigel Tranter's Stewart Trilogy covers the period when Albany was an important figure in Scotland.
James I was King of Scotland from 1406 to 1437. The youngest of three sons, he was born in Dunfermline Abbey to King Robert III and his wife Annabella Drummond. His older brother David, Duke of Rothesay, died under suspicious circumstances while being detained by their uncle, Robert, Duke of Albany. His other brother, Robert, died young. Fears for James's safety grew through the winter of 1405/6 and plans were made to send him to France. In February 1406, James was forced to take refuge in the castle of the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth after his escort was attacked by supporters of Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas. He remained there until mid-March when he boarded a vessel bound for France. On 22 March English pirates captured the ship and delivered the prince to Henry IV of England. The ailing Robert III died on 4 April and the 11-year-old James, now the uncrowned King of Scotland, would not regain his freedom for another eighteen years.
Robert II reigned as King of Scotland from 1371 to his death as the first monarch of the House of Stewart. He was the son of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of the Scottish king Robert the Bruce by his first wife Isabella of Mar.
Robert III, born John Stewart, was King of Scotland from 1390 to his death. He was known primarily as the Earl of Carrick before ascending the throne aged between 50 and 53 years. He was the eldest son of Robert II and Elizabeth Mure and was legitimised with the marriage of his parents in 1347.
The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a royal house of Scotland, England, Ireland and later Great Britain, with historical connections to Brittany. The family name itself comes from the office of High Steward of Scotland, which had been held by the family scion Walter fitz Alan. The name "Stewart" and variations had become established as a family name by the time of his grandson, Walter Stewart. The first monarch of the Stewart line was Robert II whose descendants were kings and queens of Scotland from 1371 until the union with England in 1707. Mary, Queen of Scots was brought up in France where she adopted the French spelling of the name, Stuart.
Duke of Albany was a peerage title that has occasionally been bestowed on the younger sons in the Scottish and later the British royal family, particularly in the Houses of Stuart and Windsor.
Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, Alasdair Mór mac an Rígh, and called the Wolf of Badenoch, was the third surviving son of King Robert II of Scotland and youngest by his first wife, Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan. He was the first Earl of Buchan since John Comyn, from 1382 until his death. Alexander married the widowed Euphemia I, Countess of Ross, but they had no children. He did have a large family by his longtime mistress, Mairead inghean Eachainn. Alexander was Justiciar of Scotia for a time, but not an effective one. He held large territories in the north of Scotland before eventually losing a large part of them. Alexander is remembered for his destruction of the royal burgh of Elgin and its cathedral. His nickname was earned due to his notorious cruelty and rapacity, but there is no proof that it was used during his lifetime.
The Mormaer or Earl of Atholl was the title of the holder of a medieval comital lordship straddling the highland province of Atholl, now in northern Perthshire. Atholl is a special Mormaerdom, because a King of Atholl is reported from the Pictish period. The only other two Pictish kingdoms to be known from contemporary sources are Fortriu and Circinn. Indeed, the early 13th century document known to modern scholars as the de Situ Albanie repeats the claim that Atholl was an ancient Pictish kingdom. In the 11th century, the famous Crínán of Dunkeld may have performed the role of Mormaer.
The Earl of Fife or Mormaer of Fife was the ruler of the province of Fife in medieval Scotland, which encompassed the modern counties of Fife and Kinross. Due to their royal ancestry, the earls of Fife were the highest ranking nobles in the realm, and had the right to crown the king of Scots.
Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany was a leading Scottish nobleman, the son of Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany and the grandson of King Robert II of Scotland, who founded the Stewart dynasty. In 1389, he became Justiciar North of the Forth. In 1402, he was captured at the Battle of Homildon Hill and would spend 12 years in captivity in England.
Donnchadh of Lennox was the Mormaer of Lennox, 1385–1425. He was a son of Baltar mac Amlaimh and Margaret, daughter of Domhnall, Earl of Lennox.
Isabella of Lennox (d.1458) was the ruler of Lennox, from 1437–1458, and last in the line of Mormaers or Native Scottish rulers. As the wife of Murdoch Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany (d.1425), she was also Duchess of Albany (1420–1425), but in 1425 her family would be almost completely destroyed when her husband, father and two sons were executed by the vengeful King James I of Scotland. Only one son, James the Fat, would escape the King's wrath, and he would die in exile in Ireland soon after. Isabella succeeded in escaping the fate of her family, and would eventually regain her title and estates, retiring to her castle in Loch Lomond where she raised her grandchildren, the children of her youngest son. She would eventually live to see the violent death of her former persecutor, King James. Though none of her four sons survived her, her grandson Andrew Stewart, 1st Lord Avandale would in time rise to become Lord Chancellor of Scotland.
Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas, Duke of Touraine, was a Scottish nobleman and warlord. He is sometimes given the epithet "Tyneman", but this may be a reference to his great-uncle Sir Archibald Douglas.
James Douglas, 7th Earl of Douglas, 1st Earl of Avondale, latterly known as James the Gross, and prior to his ennoblement as James of Balvenie, was a late mediaeval Scottish magnate. He was the second son of Archibald Douglas, 3rd Earl of Douglas and Joan Moray of Bothwell and Drumsargard, d. after 1408.
Alexander Leslie, Earl of Ross was a Scottish nobleman. Born between 1367 and 1382, he was the son of Walter Leslie, Lord of Ross and Euphemia I, Countess of Ross. In around 1394 he became Earl of Ross and sometime before 1398 he married Isabel Stewart, daughter of Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany. They had one child, Euphemia. He died at Dingwall, Scotland on 8 May 1402.
Clan Stewart is a Highland Scottish clan. The clan is recognised by Court of the Lord Lyon; however, it does not have a Clan Chief recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. Because the clan has no chief it can be considered an armigerous clan; however, the Earls of Galloway are now considered to be the principal branch of this clan, and the crest and motto of The Earls of Galloway's arms are used in the Clan Stewart crest badge. The Court of the Lord Lyon recognises two other Stewart/Stuart clans, Clan Stuart of Bute and Clan Stewart of Appin. Clan Stuart of Bute is the only one of the three clans at present which has a recognised chief.
William Douglas, 2nd Earl of Angus was a Scottish nobleman and soldier. The son of George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus and Princess Mary of Scotland, he was a grandson of King Robert III.
Elizabeth Mure was mistress and then wife of Robert, High Steward of Scotland, and Guardian of Scotland, who later became King Robert II of Scotland.
Andrew Stewart was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1460 to 1482 and one of the leading servants of King James III of Scotland.
Margaret Graham, Countess of Menteith was a Scottish noblewoman. She held the title Countess of Menteith in her own right, having inherited the title c. 1360 from her mother, Mary, Countess of Menteith, who was married to Sir John Graham. Graham was styled Earl of Menteith during his marriage with Mary, whom he predeceased. The Menteith region was situated partially in southwest Perthshire and partly in Stirlingshire.
|Peerage of Scotland|
|New creation|| Duke of Albany |
| Earl of Fife |
| Earl of Menteith |
With: Margaret Graham
| Earl of Buchan |