Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, Strathearn and Caithness (c. 1360 – 26 March 1437) was a Scottish nobleman, the son of Robert II of Scotland. Stewart was an enthusiastic advocate of the ransom and return to Scotland of the future king in exile, James I, in 1424. In 1425 he served as a member of the jury of 21 which tried and executed his nephew Murdoch Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany. Eventually, however, Atholl turned against the King and conspired in his assassination in 1437. He was tried for murder and was executed after 3 days of torture.
Stewart was a son of Robert II of Scotland by his second wife Euphemia de Ross, daughter of Aodh, Earl of Ross. He was also a younger half-brother of Robert III of Scotland and an uncle of the above-mentioned James I of Scotland.
Stewart married first, sometime before 1378, Margaret Barclay, Lady of Brechin,by whom he had two sons:
In 1390, Stewart's niece Euphemia resigned to him the Earldom of Caithness. In 1404, he was created Earl of Atholl.
Stewart was energetic in retrieving his nephew James I from the Kingdom of England, which was accomplished in 1424, and was a member of the jury which tried his half nephew Murdoch Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany, and which culminated in the execution of Albany and two of his sons.
Stewart was made Great Justiciar of Scotland and Earl of Strathearn, with such title being taken from Malise Graham, who subsequently became the Earl of Menteith in 1427.He resigned Caithness to his son Alan in 1428 but regained it on Alan's death without issue in 1431.
The depth of Stewart's loyalties to James is unclear. The chronicler Buchanan (1582) saw in his efforts to return James to Scotland and support him against Albany and his children a deep-laid plan for those two branches of the House of Stewart to destroy each other – and clear his own way to the throne, reviving the old charge of illegitimacy against his half-brother Robert III. Others aver that it was the imprisonment and subsequent death of his son David that turned him against the king.
Whatever the cause of Stewart's rage against the King, he joined with his grandson Robert Stewart, Master of Atholl and Sir Robert Graham in a conspiracy against James I, which assassinated the king on 20 February 1437. Robert Stewart unbarred the doors to the royal apartments, permitting assassins to enter the King's lodging at the Dominican Friars in Perth. The King hid under the floorboards, only to be discovered by Sir Robert Graham, who personally finished him off.
However, Atholl found little popular support for his cause, and the conspirators were swiftly apprehended. They were attainted and put to death in Edinburgh by a series of tortures remarkable and hideous even for that era. Walter was tortured over a period of three days. On the first, he was put in a cart with a crane, hoisted up, dropped, and jerked violently to a stop to stretch his joints. He was then placed in a pillory and "crowned with a diadem of burning iron"bearing the inscription "King of all Traitors". On the second day, he was bound to a hurdle and dragged along the high street of Edinburgh (some claim he was also blinded and tortured with red-hot iron pincers on this day, but Buchanan speaks only of the hurdle). On the third, he was disembowelled while alive, his entrails burnt before his face, and his heart was torn out and burnt. Finally, his corpse was beheaded and quartered, and the quarters displayed around the realm.
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. while 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.
William Sinclair (1410–1484), 1st Earl of Caithness (1455–1476), last Earl (Jarl) of Orkney, Baron of Roslin, was a Norwegian and Scottish nobleman and the builder of Rosslyn Chapel, in Midlothian.
Earl of Caithness is a title that has been created several times in the Peerage of Scotland, and it has a very complex history. Its first grant, in the modern sense as to have been counted in strict lists of peerages, is now generally held to have taken place in favor of Maol Íosa V, Earl of Strathearn, in 1334, although in the true circumstances of 14th century, this presumably was just a recognition of his hereditary right to the ancient earldom/mormaership of Caithness. The next year, however, all of his titles were declared forfeit for treason.
Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany was a member of the Scottish royal family who served as regent to three different Scottish monarchs. 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 would be executed for treason when James returned to Scotland in 1425, almost causing the complete ruin of the Albany Stewarts.
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.
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.
Earl or Mormaer of Strathearn is a title of Scottish nobility, referring to the region of Strathearn in southern Perthshire. Of unknown origin, the mormaers are attested for the first time in a document perhaps dating to 1115. The first known mormaer, Malise I, is mentioned by Ailred of Rievaulx as leading native Scots in the company of King David at the Battle of the Standard, 1138. The last ruler of the Strathearn line was Malise, also Earl of Caithness and Orkney, who had his earldom forfeited by King Edward Balliol. In 1344 it was regranted by King David to Maurice de Moravia, a royal favourite who had a vague claim to the earldom as Malise's nephew and also stepfather.
Malise III of Strathearn was a Scottish nobleman, the ruler of the region of Strathearn.
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.
Hugh [probably Gaelic: Aodh], was the third successor of Ferchar mac in tSagairt as Mormaer of Ross (1323–1333).
Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas was a Scottish nobleman and General during the Hundred Years' War.
Alexander of Islay or Alexander MacDonald was a medieval Scottish nobleman, who succeeded his father Domhnall of Islay as Lord of the Isles (1423–1449) and rose to the rank of Earl of Ross (1437–49). His lively career, especially before he attained the earldom of Ross, led Hugh MacDonald, the 17th century author of History of the MacDonalds, to commemorate him as "a man born to much trouble all his lifetime". Alexander allied himself with King James I of Scotland against the power of the Albany Stewarts in 1425 but, once the Albany Stewarts were out of the way, Alexander quickly found himself at odds with the new king. War with King James would initially prove Alexander's undoing, and would see the King's power in Scotland greatly increased, but at the Battle of Inverlochy Alexander's army prevailed against the forces of the King. Alexander died in 1449, having greatly extended his family's landed wealth and power. He was buried, not in the Isles of his ancestors, but at Fortrose Cathedral in his mainland Earldom of Ross.
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' clans, Clan Stuart of Bute and Clan Stewart of Appin. Clan Stuart of Bute is the only 'Stewart' clan at present which has a recognised chief.
James Mor Stewart, called James the Fat, was the youngest son of Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany and Isabella of Lennox. When his father and brothers were executed by King James I for treason in 1425, James led a rebellion against the king, taking the town of Dumbarton and killing the keeper of Dumbarton Castle. His success was short lived and he soon fled to Ireland, where he would spend the remainder of his life in exile. A second attempt at rebellion in 1429 saw a fleet sail to Ireland to collect James "to convey him home that he might be king", but he died before the attempt could be made.
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.
David Stewart, Prince of Scotland, was a 14th-century Scottish magnate. He was the eldest son of the second marriage of King Robert II with Euphemia de Ross. King Robert, on 26 March 1371, the day of his coronation, is styled Earl of Strathearn, and on the following day his son David does homage to him under the title of Earl of Strathearn.
Euphemia Stewart, Countess of Strathearn was a medieval Scottish noblewoman, the daughter of David Stewart, Earl Palatine of Strathearn and Caithness. She succeeded to both her father's titles after his death between 1385 and 1389, probably March 1386.
Malise Graham (1416–1490) was a 15th-century Scottish magnate, who was the heir to the Scottish throne between 1437 and 1451, if Elizabeth Mure's children were not counted as lawful heirs.
Sir Robert Graham of Kinpont was a Scottish landowner, and one of the key conspirators in the assassination of King James I of Scotland in 1437.
|Peerage of Scotland|
Title last held byRobert Stewart
| Earl of Atholl |
Title next held byJohn Stewart
| Earl of Caithness |
1390– c. 1428
| Earl of Strathearn |
1427– c. 1437
Title next held byWilliam
| Earl of Caithness |
1431– c. 1437
Title next held byGeorge Crichton