Walter Stewart, 1st Lord Blantyre

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Walter Stewart, 1st Lord Blantyre (died 8 March 1617) was a Scottish politician, administrator, and judge.



He was the son of Sir John Stewart of Minto and Margaret Stewart sister of James Stewart of Cardonald [1]

Educated with James VI under George Buchanan at Stirling Castle, he was a gentleman in the king's chamber, Knight of Cardonald, Prior of Blantyre, Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland from 1582 to 1596, an Extraordinary Lord of Session from 1593, an Octavian from 1596, and Treasurer of Scotland from 1596 to 1599. [2]

In May 1580 twenty five gentlemen were appointed as "pensioners to attend the King's Majesty at all times on his riding and passing to the fields". The riding entourage included Stewart with, Captain James Stewart, Captain Crawford, the Master of Cathcart, Roger Aston, John Carmichael, James Anstruther, Patrick Hume of Polwarth, and John Stewart of Baldynneis. [3]

Between 1587 and 1593 Walter Stewart held the barony of Glasgow, in place of the young Duke of Lennox, and so he appointed the magistrates and Provost of Glasgow. [4]

James VI sent John Carmichael and Blantyre to arrest Elizabeth's Irish rebel Brian O'Rourke and take him to England on 3 April 1591. [5] This caused a riot in Glasgow, because the arrest was thought likely to damage the Irish trade, and Blantyre and Carmichael were cursed as "Queen Elizabeth's knights" and the king for taking "English angels", the annuity or subsidy received from Queen Elizabeth. Carmichael and Blantyre hoped Elizabeth might spare O'Rourke so the inhabitants of Glasgow would be reconciled to them, but he was executed. [6]

In July 1593 he was appointed to a council to manage the estates and finances of Anne of Denmark. [7]

After the Kinmont Willie affair, on 8 July 1596 Blantyre wrote to David Foulis, the Scottish ambassador in London, that he should return if Elizabeth's attitude did not improve. He also discussed the case of a counterfeit coiner. [8]

Blantyre was responsible for the prisoner Angus McDonald McConneil, a son of Sorley Boy MacDonnell, and his wife and servants from August 1596. They were moved from Dumbarton Castle to a house in Dumbarton town, then to Blantyre's own Cardonald Castle, and then lodged in Glasgow. [9]

Blantyre fell off his horse and broke his leg in Edinburgh in February 1597, and while he recovered Lord Ochiltree was treasurer. [10] Roger Aston wrote in April 1597 that his health was weakening and it was feared that he was bewitched. [11] In 1599 he was imprisoned and compelled to resign by James VI, influenced by a group of courtiers in king's bedchamber. [12]

In July 1602 Blantyre joined a committee of "4 Stewarts" to arbitrate between the Marquess of Huntly and the Earl of Moray. The other Stewarts were Lord Ochiltree, Alexander Stewart of Garlies, and the Tutor of Rosyth. [13]

He was a commissioner for union with England in 1604. He was created Lord Blantyre, in the Peerage of Scotland in 1606, and succeeded by William Stewart.


Walter Stewart married Nicola Somerville, daughter of Sir James Somerville of Cambusnethan and Katherine Murray, in December 1582. [14] Their children included;

He was half-brother to Matthew Stewart of Minto, four times Lord Provost of Glasgow.

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  1. Balfour Paul, vol.I, p.81
  2. Amy L. Juhala, 'For the King Favours them Very Strangely', in, Miles Kerr-Peterson & Steven J. Reid, James VI and Noble Power in Scotland: 1578-1603 (Routledge: Abingdon, 2017), p. 161.
  3. National Records of Scotland, 'Estate of the king's house', E34/35 f.8v.
  4. Paul Goatman, 'James VI , noble power and Glasgow', in, Miles Kerr-Peterson & Steven J. Reid, James VI and Noble Power in Scotland: 1578-1603 (Routledge: Abingdon, 2017), pp. 83-4, 90.
  5. John Mackenzie, A chronicle of the kings of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1830), p. 142
  6. Calendar State Papers Scotland: 1589-1593, vol. 10 (Edinburgh, 1936), pp. 495-6, 505.
  7. Annie I. Cameron, Calendar of State Papers: 1593-1595, vol. 11 (Edinburgh, 1936), p. 697.
  8. Thomas Birch, Memorials of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, vol. 2 (London, 1754), pp. 44-5.
  9. Register of the Privy Council, Addenda 1540-1625, pp. 382-3.
  10. Julian Goodare, 'The Octavians', in Miles Kerr-Peterson & Steven Reid, James VI and Noble Power (Routledge: Abingdon, 2017), p. 184: Calendar of State Papers Scotland, vol. 12 (Edinburgh, 1952), pp. 476, 500.
  11. Calendar of State Papers Scotland, vol. 12 (Edinburgh, 1952), pp. 505-6 no. 406.
  12. Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol. 13 (Edinburgh, 1969), p. 444 no. 356.
  13. Calendar State Papers Scotland: 1597-1603, vol. 13 (Edinburgh, 1969), p. 1023 no. 832.
  14. Bowes Correspondence (London, 1842), p. 316.
  15. HMC Manuscripts of the Duke of Portland, vol. 9 (London, 1923), pp. viii, 119, 154.


Political offices
Preceded by Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Treasurer of Scotland
Succeeded by
Peerage of Scotland
New title Lord Blantyre
Succeeded by