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Moira le Leche

Also Known As: "Moire Leitch", "Leiche", "Leche"
Birthplace: Kyle, Ayrshire, Scotland
Death: 1356 (31-40)
Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Place of Burial: Paisley, Renfrewshire, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Robert le Leche, Laird of Ardmaleish, Bute, Surgeon, Physician and Christian le Leche
Partner of Robert II, King of Scots
Mother of Sir John Stewart, Sheriff of Bute
Sister of William le Leche; Thomas le Leche, Burgess of Linlithgow and Richard le Leche, 1st of Kildavannan, Isle of Bute

Occupation: 1 CHILD SIR JOHN STEWART1345-1445
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Moira le Leche

The Leche family was an ancient family of physicians and surgeons on the Island of Bute in the early 14th century. There are many references to the family in the old texts relating to the Island of Bute.

Loch na Leiche. Leitch's loch; the physician's loch. Lubas. Dr M., "A small bay." 1440, Lubas; 1449, Lowpas [5]

Their descent was from the le Leche family of Carden, Chatsworth, Cheshire, and the Durham area. One ancestor of the family of Leche (John le Leche) of Chatsworth, was the surgeon of King Edward III. [1],[3]

Moira was the daughter of Robert le Leche, Laird of Ardmaleish, Bute, a Physician on the Island.

Moire Leche [7] was married to Robert Stewart [6], however, due to his first marriage not being fully recognised by the church, he had to re-marry his first wife in 1348, and legitimize the 4 sons and five daughters from his first marriage to Elizabeth Mure.

Moire was the mother of John Stewart "The black Stewart", on account of his dark complexion. This family gave line of descent to the Earls of Bute and Orkney, and ultimately John Steward, 1st and last Earl of Carrick.

Moire Leitch lived on the island of Bute with her family for a time, and also with the Mure family of Rowallan castle in Kyle, Ayrshire, as this is about 8 miles from Robert Stewart’s home in Dundonald,Ayrshire.

She was originally from Egglestone, near Durham. This is approximately 25 miles from Neville's Cross.

The Leitch name (more modern spelling), or Leche, was originally from Cheshire and also found around the Berwick / Roxburgh area of the Scottish Borders in this time period.

Moire would have been around 26 years of age at this time, and there is a high probability, she met the Stewarts here.

She lived, after 1340, with Robert at Dundonald Castle, in Dundonald, Ayrshire (Carrick at that time). She became ill in 1356, and was taken to Paisley Abbey, where she died shortly after.

Given Moire died in 1356, and is buried at Paisley Abbey, she is clearly not the same person as Christian Leche (or Christian Moira), (often confused with Moira) , who was alive between c.1445-1450, and mentioned in the 'The Stewarts of Ballintoy'.

Robert Stewart, was not yet, the first Royal Stewart, and Moire died some 15 years before he became the first monarch of the house of Stewart in 1371.

Here is one reference to another early member of the Leche (Leitch) family on the island of Bute, most probably the "Christian Leche" often confused with Moire:

"From 1445 to 1450 we find the crown lands of Scoulogmore, in the Southern Division of Bute, were held by a descendant of the Leche family, Christian Leche[1] , and the rents, together with one mart, due yearly out of those lands, were regularly remitted to her by gift from James II." [2]

This is 125 years after Moore’s birth.


In 1346 David II of Scotland was captured at the Battle of Neville's Cross ( to the west of Durham, England), on 17 October 1346 , and taken prisoner by Sir John Copeland, who imprisoned him in the Tower of London.

On 3 October 1357, after several protracted negotiations with the Scots' regency council, a treaty was signed at Berwick-upon-Tweed under which Scotland's nobility agreed to pay 100,000 marks (to be paid at the rate of 10,000 marks per year) as a ransom for their king. This was ratified by the Scottish Parliament at Scone on 6 November 1357. David returned to Scotland (Dundonald) in 1357. The southern border of Scotland was somewhat further south, than of the present day.

Moira married Robert in what is now England, but lived the remainder of her life at Dundonald Castle in Dundonald, Ayrshire. Marjorie de Bruce was the mother in law of Mora. Mora died in 1356 aged 40, and is buried in Paisley Abbey,Scotland.[4]

Marjorie Bruce suffered head trauma, while pregnant and falling from her horse, in Gallowhill (Renfrew), Scotland on 2 March 1316. She was taken to Paisley Abbey, and the second only, ever recorded Caesarean section was performed to deliver her son Robert Stewart. Robert was the first Stewart monarch. Marjorie died shortly after the birth, from the injuries received in the fall.

The quality of the caesarean procedure, and the surgical instrument used, was far from modern standards.

During the procedure, the instrument came into brief contact with the baby's eye, causing some slight damage.

Robert suffered from impaired sight in this eye, and later in life was referred to as "Old Bleary".

Leitch was the name given to the medieval "Doctors" , physicians or surgeons, who had medical skills at this time. Modern DNA ancestry shows this name originated in a very particular region of Southern Germany, many hundred of years ago, before spreading throughout Europe and America .... This name is still traceable to this region today. One medical "technology" used at this time was the Annelida the "Leech".This animal was named after its practitioners "Leitch/Leche/Leich....".

Leeches are segmented worms that belong to the phylum Annelida and comprise the subclass Hirudinea. Like other oligochaetes, such as earthworms, leeches share a clitellum and are hermaphrodites. They were used to extract blood believed to be "infected". This old practice has been discontinued, and has been replaced by other contemporary uses of leeches, such as the reattachment of body parts and reconstructive and plastic surgeries and, in Germany, treating osteoarthritis++.

Sources: [1] 'Genealogical data of the families of Burt, Dewey, Mears, Darbyshire, Leach, Maude and Fenton'.

[2] 'The Stewarts of Ballintoy : with notices of other families of the district in the seventeenth century'. Author: Hill, George, 1810-1900; ISBN: 9785518839304

[3] "The Stewarts of Ballintoy : with notices of other families of the district in the seventeenth century" , 1801-1900, by George Hill. ISBN: 9781153165747 "A later descendant of the Bute family was Henry Leche (1520). He was a medical practitioner of the time. In 1510, James IV., confirmed to Master Henry Lech, the lands of Kerry- lamond, Meikle I.owpas, and Little Lowpas, in the lordship and sheriffdom of Bute, of the old extent of £6 16s 8d, which had been held by his father Thomas Lech, and his predecessors beyond the memory of man, the grantee paying yearly a silver- penny as blenche ferme, and giving his services as chirurgeon* when required.

[4] The abbey official web site: "For that reason, the Abbey claims to be the 'cradle of the Royal House of Stewart.' Our present Queen is descended from Robert. In fact, the Abbey is the final resting place of six High Stewards of Scotland, Princess Marjory Bruce, the wives of King Robert II and King Robert III for whose tomb, Queen Victoria provided a canopy in 1888"

[5] The Isle of Bute in the olden time : with illustrations, maps, and plans" ,UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY.


[7] Citations: [S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 226. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Families.

++ Wikipedia

  • Chirurgeon {Old spelling of (French : chirurgien, chirurgienne) for Surgeon}

Abbrev: Ancestral File (TM)

Title: Ancestral File (TM)

Author: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Publication: June 1998 (c), data as of 5 JAN 1998


Name: Family History Library

Media: Internet Database (Rootsweb)

Abbrev: McKinnon-Suggs Ancestors

Title: "Our Kingdom Come"

Author: Eileen McKinnon-Suggs

Publication: feb 2004

Abbrev: Ancestral File (TM)

Title: Ancestral File (TM)

Author: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Publication: July 1996 (c), data as of 2 January 1996

Date: 1 Aug 2002

Media: Other

Abbrev: Mac 14Febxx.FTW

Title: Mac 14Febxx.FTW

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Moira le Leche's Timeline

Kyle, Ayrshire, Scotland
Dundonald, South Ayrshire, Scotland
Age 36
Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Paisley, Renfrewshire, United Kingdom