James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland

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James Stewart of Dundonald

Scots Gaelic: Seamus Stewart of Dundonald
Also Known As: "James fitz Alexander"
Birthplace: At or near, Durisdeer, Dumfreshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Place of Burial: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland and "Jean MacRory of Butte & Arran"
Husband of Cecilia de Dunbar; Muriel, of Strathearn and Gille de Burgh, of Ulster
Father of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland; Sir John Stewart; Sir Andrew Stewart; Sir James Stewart of Durisdeer, Knight and Gilles "Egidia" Stewart
Brother of Alianore Stewart; Alexander Stewart, II; John Stewart of Bonkyl and Garlies; Mary Stewart; Hawise Stewart and 3 others
Half brother of Lady Beatrix Alice Stewart, Baroness Lindsay

Occupation: High Steward
Managed by: James Fred Patin, Jr.
Last Updated:

About James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland

Find A Grave Memorial# 151529631


James, 5th High Steward of Scotland James Stewart (born say 1260 - died 16 July 1309) was the 5th hereditary High Steward of Scotland and a Guardian of Scotland during the First Interregnum. He was receded by Alexander Stewart High Steward of Scotland 1283–1309 and succeeded by Walter Stewart.



From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Stewart,_5th_High_Steward_of_Scotland

James was a son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland; the identity of Alexander's wife is unknown.[1] The date of his birth is not certainly known and some sources have placed it, on no good evidence, as early as 1243. This is now thought to be unlikely.

James was married several times. His first wife was Cecilia, daughter of Patrick, Earl of Dunbar (died 1289). [is this proven?] James' second wife appears to have been Muriel (born 1244), daughter of Malise, Earl of Strathearn (died 1271). His third wife was Giles, daughter of Walter de Burgh, Earl of Ulster (died 1271), and sister of Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster (died 1326).[1]

It appears all children were from his 3rd wife.

Children of James include:

  • Walter, 6th High Steward (1293–1326) who married King Robert I's daughter, Marjorie Bruce.[3]
  • Sir John, killed 14 October 1318 at the battle of Dundalk.[3]
  • Sir Andrew,[4] "younger son"[5][6]
  • Sir James Stewart of Durisdeer, Tutor to his nephew, the future King Robert II of Scotland, in 1327.[3]
  • Giles "Egidia" Stewart, who married Sir Alexander de Menzies, of Durisdeer.[3]

biographical notes

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Stewart,_5th_High_Steward_of_Scotland

In 1286 he was chosen one of the six Regents of Scotland. He subsequently submitted to King Edward I of England on July 9, 1297, and was one of the auditors for the competitor, Robert de Brus. However, during the Wars of Scottish Independence he joined Sir William Wallace. After Wallace's defeat at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, he gave his support to Robert the Bruce.

In 1302, with six other ambassadors, he was sent to solicit the aid of the French king against Edward, to whom he was once again compelled to swear fealty at Lanercost on October 23, 1306. To render his oath if possible secure, it was taken upon the two crosses of Scotland most esteemed for their sanctity, on the consecrated host, the holy gospels, and certain relics of saints. He also agreed to submit to instant excommunication if he should break his allegiance to Edward. Convinced that his faith was to his country in spite of all, he once again took up the Scottish patriotic cause and died in the service of The Bruce in 1309.[1]


  • 1. MacEwen, ABW (2011). "The Wives of Sir James the Steward (d.1309)". Foundations. Foundation for Medieval Genealogy. Vol. 3: 391–398.
  • 2. Barrow, G. W. S.; Royan, Ann (1985), "James, Fifth Stewart of Scotland, 1260(?)–1309", in Stringer, Keith, Essays on the Nobility of Medieval Scotland, Edinburgh: John Donald, pp. 166–167, ISBN 1-904607-45-4.
  • 3. Simpson, David, The Genealogical and Chronological History of the Stuarts, Edinburgh, 1713
  • 4. Burke, Messrs., John and John Bernard, The Royal Families of England Scotland and Wales, with Their Descendants, London, 1851, volume 2, page xlvi.
  • 5. Clay, John W., FSA., editor, The Visitation of Cambridge, 1575 and 1619 by Henery St.George, Richmond Herald, Harleian Society, London, 1897, pps: 7 - 11, where he is described thus: "Andreas Stuard filius capit in uxorem filiam Jacobi Bethe et a Johanne Francor' Rege militario ringulo condecoratus est"; translation reads: Andrew Stewart younger son, married the daughter of James Bethe (Beith) and was decorated with a military swordbelt by John (II), King of France ('The Good', reigned 1350-1364).
  • 6. East Anglian Stewarts by G.M.S.Lauder-Frost, FSA Scot., in The Scottish Genealogist, vol.LI, no.4, December 2004, pps:151-161, ISSN 0300-337X
  • 7. Anderson, William, The Scottish Nation, Edinburgh, 1867, vol.ix, p.513.



May have been born in about 1260. The precise date of his birth is a matter for speculation but the anecdotal evidence reviewed by Barrow and Rowan suggests that 1260 may be nearer the mark than the unsubstantiated statement made in The Scots Peerage, that his birth occurred in 1243 [Geoffrey Barrow and Ann Royan, James Fifth Stewart of Scotland, 1260(?)-1309, which was published in: K. J. Stringer (editor), Essays on the Nobility of Medieval Scotland (John Donald, Edinburgh, 1985), pp. 166-194].

supporting data

  • page 356 of Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011 by Douglas Richardson. "Giles de Burgh, married (as his 3rd wife) James [Stewart] (or James fitz Alexander), Knt., 5th Stewart of Scotland, son and heir of Alexander Stewart, Knt., 4th Stewart of Scotland, of Dundonlad. They had four sons, Andrew, Walter, Knt. [6th Steward of Scotland], John, Knt., and James, Knt., [of Durrisdeer], and one daughter, Giles (wife of Alexander de Meyners or Menzies, Knt.). ...."
  • "The Wives of Sir James the Steward (d.1309)" Author: MacEwen, Andrew B W Publisher: Foundation for Medieval Genealogy Year published: 2011 Status: See notes Description / Notes: "This paper rehabilitates the traditional year of Sir James the Steward’s birth, names his first two wives, explains the late date of his third marriage to Giles de Burgh, and provides information about their four known children. It posits a double marriage alliance between the Stewarts and Comyns about 1240, clarifies the date of birth of Robert II, and establishes the circumstances of his mother’s death in 1317. It incidentally brings forward some overlooked information on the Muschamp family and shows when Sir William, earl of Mar, actually died. Lastly it draws together what little is known concerning Sir Nicholas Campbell (d.1305), whose representation passed to the Lochawe branch."


James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland1

M, #105308, b. circa 1243, d. 16 July 1309

Last Edited=10 Dec 2002

    James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland was born circa 1243. He was the son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland and Jean Macrory. He died on 16 July 1309.
    James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland gained the title of 5th High Steward of Scotland.1

Children of James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland and Gille de Burgh

Sir John Stewart d. c 1318

Andrew Stewart

Sir James Stewart

Gille Stewart

Child of James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland and Cecilia de Dunbar

Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland+ b. 1292, d. 9 Apr 13271


  • [S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 214. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Family.



Significant Scots

James Stewart 5th High Steward

by Kelly d. Whittaker

The legacies of the Stewart’s are well documented in Scottish history. Walter FitzAllan was the First High Steward of Scotland assigned by King David. The Stewart family went on to inherit the thrown of Scotland by the marriage of Walter Stewart the son of James 5th High Steward, to Marjory Bruce the daughter of Robert the Bruce and Isabella of Mar.

The Stewart’s have been over-looked for their loyalty to the people of Scotland. Today’s history teaches that the Stewart’s were only barons that were greedy and married into the Royal Lines in order to obtain their power.

James the 5th High Steward was a fantastic example of his patronage to his beloved country, Scotland. He was one of the seven guardians of Scotland that had the right to appoint a King. The fight was on between John Balliol and Robert Bruce the Competitor for the thrown. Robert was the closest in line for the thrown because he was a grandson of Alexander where Balliol was a great grandson.

The Guardians of Scotland knew Robert by all rights should be crowned King. King Edward chose John Balliol due to the alliance established between him and Balliol. Sir William Wallace fought under the banner of Balliol. Balliol was forced to abdicate his thrown due to the great pressure the Scots were putting on him as a traitor. He did abdicate and was killed. Wallace continued to fight for the Balliol claim.

Silently, many men were flocking to Robert Bruce’s defense. One of these men was James 5th High Steward. James had all the genealogies sent to attorneys in Europe to be examined by impartial parties. The attorneys concluded based on an example from the Bible that Robert Bruce the Competitor should inherit the Thrown of Scotland. When James had received the letters from the attorneys, he took a firm stand. His judgement was the same as the attorneys.

James swore allegiance to Robert the Competitor on September 20, 1286. Turbulence surrounded Scotland for the next 30 years. Edward became obsessed with Scotland. After his wife died, Edward became a tyrant and barbarian. He poured out great cruelty upon the Scots. For thirteen years Scotland had suffered greatly so the leaders of Scotland agreed to surrender to Edward on July 9th, 1297. Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, grandson of the Competitor and James Stewart refused to surrender or produce hostages.

The battle at Stirling Bridge was a win for the Scots. They had slaughtered the English when they tried to cross to get to Berwick. The Earl of Surrey came upon the English’s defeat and retreated back to Falkirk. James Stewart and Lennox along with their troops remained in the woods watching Surrey. On September 11, 1297 after watching Surrey’s group for three days, Stewart and Lennox attacked them. The two Scotsmen and their troops beat Surrey and seized the laden wagons of booty.

James Stewart participated in the first full-scale raid in Roxburgh in July of 1299. Once the Scots arrived at Roxburgh, the fortress was so heavily guarded that the Scots knew they would loose many men if they attempted to siege it. Stewart and the other leaders told their men to retreat. This caused the Scots to become very discouraged and ill tempered.

The Constable of Roxburgh placed a spy in the camp of the Scots. The spy’s accounting is still in existence and kept in the Public Record Office in London.

At the council, Sir David Graham demanded the land and goods of Sir William Wallace because he was leaving the Kingdom without the leave or approval of the Guardians. And Sir Malcolm, Sir William’s brother, answered that neither his lands nor his goods should be given away, for they were protected by the peace in which Wallace had left the Kingdom. At this the two knights gave the lie to each other and drew their daggers. And since Sir David Graham was of Sir John Comyn’s following, it was reported to the Earl of Buchan and John Comyn that a fight had broken out without their knowing it: and John Comyn leapt at the Earl of Carrick and seized him by the throat and the Earl of Buchan turned on the Bishop of St. Andrews, declaring that treason and lese majeste were being plotted. Eventually the Stewart and others came between them and quieted them. At that moment a letter was brought from beyond the Firth of Forth, telling how Sir Alexander Comyn and Lachlan Macruarie were burning and devastating the district they were in, attacking the people of the Scottish nation. So it was ordained then that the Bishop of St. Andrews should have all the castles in his hands as principle captain and the Earl of Carrick and John Comyn be with him joint-guardians of the Kingdom. And that same Wednesday, after the letter had been read, they all left Peebles.

James Stewart had earlier stepped in the middle of King Edward and the Competitor to prevent a great blood shed upon the Kingdom of Scotland. This was at the Treaty of Birgham. James attended the first secession of parliament in eighteen years in 1309. Many other Scotsmen were present at this meeting. James Stewart remained loyal to The Bruce even until his death, which was shortly after parliament in 1309.

King Robert the Bruce loved James Stewart and proved this by allowing his daughter to marry James’ son Walter. Bruce mourned the loss of his dear quiet friend. Stewart is not well known in the legacy of the Bruce because he was a quiet, tactful caring man. Stewart was opposite of The Bruce and Wallace but that is what kept the balance of the Scots to win against the greatest oppression they had ever suffered, the cruel barbaric yet intelligent King Edward of England.


DNA project - https://www.familytreedna.com/public/Stuart

ScotlandsDNA.com claims that: "About 20% of all men who carry the famous surname Stewart share Sir John’s lineage while 30% are descended from Sir John’s brother, James Stewart, the 5th High Steward of Scotland (died 16 July 1309)." James' son Walter fought at Bannockburn and helped separatist William_Wallace to win Scotland's independence. Walter married the daughter of Robert Bruce I (died on 7 June 1329). Their son became Robert II, the first Stewart king.

About 50 members of this project had been tested by FTDNA or one of its competitors for SNP S781 (R1b1a2a1a2c1i1a1) by Feb/4/2015. About 40% tested positive and about a third added their test results to their surnames as a suffix in order to facilitate subgrouping, etc.

   Everyone who tests positive for SNP S781 descends from Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll (died 22 July 1298 at the Battle of Falkirk). FTDNA's project for Sir John's patrilineal descendants is at https://www.familytreedna.com/public/R-S781. Some of their Big Y test results are posted in the S781 Phylogenetic Tree below and at http://www.s781.org/allsnps.html. All or part of Sir John's patrilineal descendants via the Lennox line (e.g. King James I of England) test positive for both S781 and S768. Sir John's patrilineal descendants via other lines test S781+ and S768-. 
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James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland's Timeline

Durisdeer, Dumfreshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Age 33
Kyle, Ayrshire, Scotland
Age 34
Dundonald, Scotland
Age 35
Age 37
Dundonald, Scotland
July 16, 1309
Age 49
Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Dundonald, Scotland