John Stewart of Bonkyl and Garlies

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John Stewart of Bonkyl and Garlies

Also Known As: "Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll", "Sir John "John of Bonkyl & Garlies" Stewart"
Birthdate: (52)
Birthplace: Bonkyl, Berwickshire, Scotland
Death: Died in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Cause of death: Injuries received in the Battle of Falkirk
Place of Burial: Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland and "Jean MacRory of Butte & Arran"
Husband of Margaret de Bonkyl
Father of Egidia Stewart; Sir Alexander Stewart of Bonkyll; Sir Alan Stewart of Dreghorn, Kt.; Sir Walter Stewart of Dalswinton; Elizabeth Stewart and 5 others
Brother of Alianore Stewart; Alexander Stewart, II; Mary Stewart; Hawise Stewart; Elisabeth Stewart of Crawford and 4 others

Occupation: He was a military commander during the First Scottish War of Independence and during the Battle of Falkirk & he commanded the Scottish archers. 5th High Steward of Scotland
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Stewart of Bonkyl and Garlies

The Battle of Falkirk, (Blàr na h-Eaglaise Brice in Gaelic) which took place on 22 July 1298, was a major engagement in the First War of Scottish Independence. An English army commanded by King Edward I of England defeated the Scots under William Wallace. Despite his success King Edward was unable to complete the subjugation of Scotland because his army had been weakened by the campaign.


Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll (died 22 July 1298) was a son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland. He was a military commander during the First Scottish War of Independence and during the Battle of Falkirk, he commanded the Scottish archers, and was killed during the battle. Stewart is interred in the churchyard of the Falkirk Old Parish Church.[1]

Royal descendants He is the direct paternal ancestor of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, the second husband of his brother's descendant, Mary, Queen of Scots. Thus, he is a direct agnatic ancestor of James VI of Scotland, who later became James I of England in 1603. This accession of James I united the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

John married Margaret de Bonkyl (Bonkill), the heiress daughter of Sir Alexander de Bonkyl of that Ilk, so placed "on a bend Sable three buckles Or" for difference upon the coat of arms of his paternal line, "Or a bend chequey Argent and Azure". They had issue:

   Sir Alexander Stewart of Bonkyll died in 1319. He had issue: John Stewart, 1st Earl of Angus
   Sir Alan Stewart of Dreghorn died on 19 July 1333 during the battle of Halidon Hill. Ancestor of the Earls of Lennox, James VI and I and through him the present royal family of the United Kingdom.
   Sir Walter Stewart of Garlies and Dalswinton. His great-granddaughter, Marion Stewart, married a Stewart of Jedworth. They were the ancestors of the Stewarts of Garlies — later Earls of Galloway and Lords Blantyre
   Sir James Stewart of Pearston died on 19 July 1333 during the battle of Halidon Hill. Ancestor of the Stewart Lords of Lorne, Earls of Atholl, Earls of Buchan, Earls of Traquair and Clan Stewart of Appin.
   Sir John Stewart of Daldon died on 19 July 1333 during the battle of Halidon Hill.
   Isabella Stewart, married Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, son of Sir Thomas Randolph. She died sometime after 15 July 1351.
   Sir Robert Stewart of Daldowie, ancestor of Sir James Steuart, 2nd Baronet of Coltness.
   Sir Hugh Stewart.


Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl was the son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland and Jean Macrory.1 He married Margaret de Bonkyl, daughter of Sir Alexander de Bonkyl of that Ilk.1 He died on 22 July 1298 at Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland, slain fighting for Sir William Wallace.1

    Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl fought in the Battle of Falkirk on 22 July 1298.1

Children of Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl and Margaret de Bonkyl

   * Sir Alan Stewart+ d. 19 Jul 13331
   * Sir Walter Stewart+ 1
   * Sir James Stewart+ d. 19 Jul 1333
   * Sir John Stewart d. 19 Jul 13331
   * Isabella Stewart d. a 15 Jul 1351
   * Sir Alexander Stewart+ d. 1319


  1. [S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 2, page 1511. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.

Ett annat namn för John var John Stewart of Bonhill

Stewart of Bonkyl, Sir John (b. ABT 1246, d. 22 JUL 1298)

Note: 2 DATE 1st Earl of Angus


Sir John Stewart

Sir John Stewart of Bonkle was the second son of Alexander,fourth High Steward of Scotland.

He was married to Margaret, daughter and heiress of Sir Alexander de Bonkyl, in Berwickshire. By Margaret de Bonkyl (Bonkle?), Sir John Stewart had five sons and one daughter, the last married the sonof the famous Randolph, Earl of Moray.

Sir John appears to have been in command of men from Argyll and Bute, including the Scottish archers at Falkirk, and he and his men were probably cut down by Edward's cavalry early in the battle. The English chronicler Hemingburgh describes them as being "of handsome form and tall stature".

Sir John was probably the most important of all the Scottish knights killed at the battle. The fine Celtic cross Bute Memorial was erected in memory of Sir John and his men by the Marquis of Bute in the last century. (copied from

Died at the Battle of Falkirk July 22 1298

Residence : Bonkill (Bonkyl, Buncle), Berwickshire, Scotland  

Killed in battle of Falkirk, 1298, being 2nd in command under William Wallace.

Styled the Knight of Bonkyl


"Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl fought under William Wallace for the freedom of  Scotland and took part in the Battle of Sterling in 1297 when the English army was defeated.

Commanded the men of Bute at the Battle of Falkirk.

He bore the brunt of the overwhelming assault of the English army on the field of Falkirk where he was killed and buried. A gravestone still exists bearing this inscription. "Here lies a Scottish hero, Sir John Stewart, who was killed at the Battle of Falkirk, 22nd July 1298."

(Source - New York Public Library, Loose Leaf Files, The Stewarts)

Notes ◦Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl, a younger brother of James, assisted Edward Bruce to become High King of Ireland 1316.

Stung by the defeat inflicted on his forces by William Wallace at Stirling Brig' the previous year and by repeated incursions into England by Wallace's forces, Edward I was determined to put an end to the Scottish problem once and for all. Upon returning from France he moved his parliament to York and on the 25th May a Parliament was held, a summons for the Scottish magnates to attend produced no response and two days later Edward issued orders to have the levies assembled at Roxburgh, no later than 23rd June. On 24th June Edward arrived at Roxburgh and waiting for him there, was a force of 2,500 - 3,000 heavy cavalry and approximately 15,000 infantry, including paid crossbowmen from Gascon, and Longbowmen from Wales. There was also a large contingent of Irish infantry, indeed it would seem that the biggest majority of infantry were hired by Edward, rather than English levies summoned for military service. Edward started the march North burning and looting as he went, but the sheer size of his army worked against him. To feed such a large body of men takes an enormous amount of supplies, and with his supply ships held up by bad weather, Edward had to try and take what he needed from the land as they marched north. Foraging parties were sent out far and wide, but due to Wallace's scorched earth policy all they found were burned crops and storehouses, and empty livestock pens, all the livestock having been moved north of Stirling or slaughtered and burned. This harsh but necessary policy from Wallace almost won the day. By this time Edward's forces were starving, exhausted and demoralised, fights were breaking out, particularly between the Welsh archers and the English, on one occasion over 80 Welsh were killed in a major battle within the English camp. Edward, who had seen no sign of the Scottish Army and taking the condition and morale of his troops into consideration, was on the point of calling it all off and returning to Edinburgh and then to England. It was then that he received news from Gilbert d'Umfraville and Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, the Scots had been sighted a bare 18 miles distant at Falkirk, and having heard of the intended withdrawal to Edinburgh were intent on following and attacking the English camp that night. Edward was elated, and cried "God be praised, who has brought me out of every strait! They shall have no need to follow me for I shall go to meet them, and on this very day". The army set off, and after a full days march, made camp on the evening of the 21st July, at Linlithgow.
Wallace had no more than 10,000 men, including a small body of cavalry under John Comyn (the Red Comyn) and a few archers under the command of Sir John Stewart, and the position he had chosen was a strong one, defensively. The actual site of the battle is still argued upon the only clues coming from Hemmingburgh's account of the battle which states that the Scots were on the southern side of a hill, with a wood to their rear, a burn guarding the west and a smaller burn and wet ground guarding the south and south-east. Professor G.W.S. Barrow favours a location South of Falkirk, on the South slope of Callendar Wood , the Westquarter Burn runs below and curves to the east, at this bend it joins with another burn coming from the West and forms an area of wet marshland, which would be immediately in front of the proposed Scottish position.
Wallace formed his troops into four Schiltroms of approx. 2,000 men each, the Schiltrom, which Wallace is credited with inventing, consists of a large circle of men armed with 12 foot, iron tipped spears, the front rank would kneel with their spears pointing outwards and the second and possibly third ranks would stand behind them with their spears again pointing outwards over the shoulders of their comrades. This was seen as a very effective defence against cavalry as the bristling spear points took down the horses of the charging cavalry before they had a chance to close with the ranks, also the horses were very likely to shy away form the wicked looking forest of spears ahead of them. Between the schiltroms, Wallace placed his few archers and to the rear of both his meagre cavalry.
On the morning of the 22nd, Edward approached the Scottish position, he must have been in great pain because during the night something had panicked the King's charger and it had trampled on Edward as he lay sleeping, breaking two of his ribs. In order to quell the panic within the camp Edward immediately mounted his horse and ordered an advance. This shows a measure of immense bravery on Edward part as it must be remembered that he was approaching his 60th birthday, in a time when the average life expectancy was probably around 40. As the English host approached they were in three vans, the front van was commanded by the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk, the center van by Bishop Anthony Bek and the rear by Edward himself. As the Earls approached the Scottish position they were forced by the soft ground to make a detour to their left, Bek following closely behind similarly made a detour to the right intending a co-ordinated attack with the Earls on the left and right flanks. A row broke out between Bek and his Lieutenant, Ralph Basset, who stormed at Bek, he was being too cautious. Basset promptly led the center van forward.
As the English knights crashed into the Scottish schiltrom, an incredible event occurred, the Scottish cavalry, under John (the Red) Comyn, simply turned and rode away from the battlefield without striking a blow. Many have suggested this was a planned move, because of the resentment which the nobles of Scotland held against William Wallace arguing that he was not sufficiently high born to be leading a nation. Whatever the reason, it left Wallace in an impossible situation, the English cavalry charged the schiltroms again and again, but were unable to break the stout defences, they did however decimate the archers placed between the schiltroms, which the Scots cavalry had been placed to protect. Edward now approached with the third van and ordering his Welsh and Lancastrian archers forward to the edge of the marshland, they poured a hail of arrows down upon the unprotected Scottish schiltroms one by one. Men fell in their droves and inevitably gaps began to appear in the Scottish defences. The English knights charged these gaps and the schiltroms disintegrated, as the schiltroms broke, the Bishop Bek had led his men around behind the mass of Scots and now as the Scots fled the field they were cut down mercilessly by the English knights.
Wallace and a small band of followers escaped through Callander Wood, but behind them lay almost the entire Scottish infantry dead or wounded on the field of battle. Edward had won this victory, but he had not won the war. After Wallace's escape he resigned the position of Guardian, and went back to the forest to continue his own brand of guerilla warfare upon the English invaders. Eventually betrayed by fellow countrymen Wallace was captured and after a show trial in London was hung, drawn and quartered.


Sources 1.[S250]

2.[S265] Colquoun_Cunningham.ged, Jamie Vans

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

4.[S402] Mercers of Perth, Jim Mercer, Alan Glass and Malcolm Holt, (, mercers_of_perth/04_sir_michael_mercer.htm (Reliability: 3)


    Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl was the son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland and Jean Macrory.1,2 He married Margaret de Bonkyl, daughter of Sir Alexander de Bonkyl of that Ilk.1 He died on 22 July 1298 at Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland, slain fighting for Sir William Wallace.1
    He fought in the Battle of Falkirk on 22 July 1298.1

Children of Sir John Stewart of Bonkyl and Margaret de Bonkyl

   Sir Alan Stewart+1 d. 19 Jul 1333
   Sir Walter Stewart of Garlies+1
   Sir James Stewart+2 d. 19 Jul 1333
   Sir John Stewart1 d. 19 Jul 1333
   Isabella Stewart+2 d. a 15 Jul 1351
   Sir Alexander Stewart of Bonkyl+2 d. 1319
   Sir Hugh Stewart2
   Sir Robert Stewart2


   [S37] BP2003 volume 2, page 1511. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
   [S323] Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's The Peerage of Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland: David Douglas, 1904), volume I, page 13. Hereinafter cited as The Scots Peerage.

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John Stewart of Bonkyl and Garlies's Timeline

Bonkyl, Berwickshire, Scotland
Age 19
Age 25
Dreghorn, North Ayrshire, Scotland
Age 26
Age 28
Age 29
Age 30
Dundonald, South Ayrshire, Scotland
Age 32
Daldar, Scotland
Age 41
Cambusnethan, Lanamark, Scotland