Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland

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Alexander Stewart, High Steward of Scotland

Also Known As: "Alexander FitzWalter of Darnley", "Alexander of Dundonald", "4th High Steward of Scotland", "'Alexander of Dundonald'", "10505", "Laird of Avandale", "Alexander "4th High" Steward of Scotland", "Alexander /High/", "Stewart"
Birthdate: (69)
Birthplace: Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Death: 1283 (69)
Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Place of Burial: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland and Countess Beatrix of Angus nic Gille Crist
Husband of "Jean MacRory of Butte & Arran"
Father of Lady Beatrix Alice Stewart, Baroness Lindsay; Alianore Stewart; Alexander Stewart, II; John Stewart of Bonkyl and Garlies; Mary Stewart and 5 others
Half brother of Euphemia Stewart; Sybella Stewart; Margaret Stewart, Countess of Carrick; Walter "Bailloch-Freckled" Stewart, Earl of Menteith; Jean Wallace and 4 others

Occupation: Co-Regent of Scotland, 4th High Steward of Scotland, 4th High Stewart
Managed by: James Fred Patin, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland,_4th_High_Steward_of_Scotland

Alexander Stewart (1214 – 1283) was 4th hereditary High Steward of Scotland from his father's death in 1246. He was also known as Alexander of Dundonald.

A son of Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland by his wife Bethóc, daughter of Gille Críst, Earl of Angus, Alexander is said to have accompanied Louis IX of France on the Seventh Crusade (1248–1254). In 1255 he was one of the councillors of King Alexander III, though under age.

He was the principal commander under King Alexander III of Scotland at the Battle of Largs, on 2 October 1263, when the Scots defeated the Norwegians under Haakon IV. The Scots invaded and conquered the Isle of Man the following year, which was, with the whole of the Western Isles, then annexed to the Crown of Scotland.


The identity of Alexander's wife is uncertain. Some secondary sources erroneously identify her as Jean, daughter of James, son of Angus, son of Somerled.


  1. James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland (c. 1243-1309)
  2. Sir John Stewart of Bonkill, Berwickshire (c. 1245-22 July 1298), described as the "second son" who married the Bonkill heiress, had seven sons and one daughter, and was killed in the Battle of Falkirk.
  3. Andrew Stewart (a.k.a. Andrew Steward) Esq. (c. 1245), third son of Alexander Stewart. Married the daughter of James Bethe. Father of Sir Alexander 'the fierce' Steward and direct ancestor of Oliver Cromwell. Great uncle of King Robert II.
  4. Elizabeth Stewart, (c. 1248, d. before 1288) Married Sir William Douglas the Hardy, Governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed.[7] She was the mother of the Good Sir James Douglas.
  5. Hawise Stewart (c. 1262) Married the brother of the Lord of Liddesdale, Sir John de Soulis.[18] Had female issue, Muriel de Soulis.

Through their eldest son James they were great-grandparents of King Robert II, the first Stewart to be King of Scots, and thus ancestors of all subsequent Scottish monarchs and the later and current monarchs of Great Britain.

Through their second son John, they were the direct ancestors in the male line of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and of the Stuart monarchs of Scotland and England from Darnley's son James VI and I onwards.

Through their third son Andrew they were the 9x great grandparents of Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector.


  1. The Scots Peerage: Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, Containing an Historical and Genealogical Account of the Nobility of that Kingdom, with Armorial Illustrations (1904-1914), Paul , Sir James Balfour, (9 volumes. Edinburgh: D. Douglas, 1904-1914), vol. 1 p. 13. "His wife is said to have been Jean, daughter of James, Lord of Bute."


Notes ◦1 - Principal commander under King Alexander III at the Battle of Largs 2 Oct 1263 when the Scottish army defeated the Norwegians. In 1264 he invaded the Isle of Man.

2 -He commanded the right wing of the Scots army at the battle of Largs, 1263. He had two sons
In the thirteenth century, the 4th Stewart of Scotland (a crusader) married the heiress of the Lord of Bute of the royal House of Isles
3 - Battle of the Largs
1 October 1283: Invasion of Scotland by Haakon, King of Norway, attacked on the beaches by gathering Scottish forces, beginning the Battle of the Largs.
5 October 1283: Norwegians abandon invasion of Scotland, leaving ships and wounded on the beach.
Despite the victory of Brian Boru over the Danes in Ireland in 1014, the Scandinavian incursions into the Celtic nations took a long time to fade away. It would be nearly 270 years after the Battle of Clontarf before the ScandinaviansÙu last hurrah in the spectacular Battle of the Largs.
In the year 1283 the English were just consolidating their conquest of Wales with the execution on 3 October of Dafydd, the last native Prince of Wales. The power of Norway still dominated the North Sea and reached around the coast of Scotland into the Irish Sea, hedging the growing power of Scotland with a chain of island possessions that included the Orkneys, Shetland, the Hebrides, and the Isle of Mann.
When ScotlandÙus boy king Alexander III turned 21 in 1262, one of his first acts was to try to purchase the Hebrides from Norway. The offer was refused, but when the Earl of Ross led a bloody raid on the Norwegian-held Isle of Skye, the Norwegian King Haakon prepared for an armed showdown with Scotland.
Haakon assembled a fleet of 100 ships, the largest armada yet seen in those waters, and was joined by Magnus, the King of Mann, along with other Scandinavian jarls. But after wasting the summer in fruitless sparring and maneuvering, Haakon divided his forces, sending most of the Manx fleet off on coastal raids and dispatching 40 other ships to be dragged overland and floated in Loch Lomond, a novel if pointless tour de force.
King Alexander in the meantime was biding his time, keeping his field armies intact behind a defensive screen of castles. The opportunity he was waiting for came at last on 1 October, when the first storms of autumn forced Haakon to decide between abandoning the campaign or chancing a risky landing on the Scottish coast. Haakon chose to go for the landing. The Norwegians struggled through the storm-roiled surf on the west coast of Scotland only to be met on the beaches by a Scottish vanguard of archers and mailed knights, who commenced a running battle with the Norwegians on 2 October.
The bedraggled Norwegians were in no shape to deal with a hot landing zone, but found themselves unable to put back out to sea due to the worsening weather. They were equally unable to gain a secure beachhead for themselves in the face of the growing numbers of Scots that Alexander dispatched from their inland bases as soon as he learned of the Norwegian predicament. After some 72 hours of debilitating and almost continuous combat, the weather lifted just enough to enable the remaining Norwegians to make a hasty evacuation, leaving most of their dead and wounded on beaches lit by the burning hulks of their ships.
The Battle of the Largs marked the rise of independent Scotland and the terminal decline of NorwayÙus North Sea hegemony. The victory was followed by the death of Haakon, NorwayÙus cessation of the Hebrides to Scotland, and the Scottish takeover of the Orkneys and the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. Scotland eventually gained Shetland too, as a wedding present, but that is a story for another day.
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Sources 1.[S235], (Website defunct as at 18 Mar 2008)

2.[S265] Colquoun_Cunningham.ged, Jamie Vans


4.[S288] Alexander Gardner, Paisley, 1906, McKerlie, (Alexander Gardner, Paisley, 1906), ii, 267 (Reliability: 3)

5.[S289] Betty and Dick Field's Family History, Richard Field


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Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland's Timeline

Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Age 25
Age 26
Crawford, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Age 32
Bonkyl, Berwickshire, Scotland
Age 33
Age 35
Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Age 36
Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Age 46
Durisdeer, Dumfreshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Age 50
Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland