Walter Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl

Is your surname Stewart?

Research the Stewart family

Walter Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

About Walter Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl

Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, Strathearn and Caithness (died 26 March 1437) was a Scottish nobleman, the son of Robert II of Scotland and Lady Euphemia Ross.

Hatred against King James I rankled deeply in the hearts of some of the principal nobility, who resented his severity, and especially the relentless rigour with which he had destroyed the illustrious princes of the House of Albany. The King's uncles, sons of the second marriage of his grandfather, had escaped at that time, and the Earl of Athol had been distinguished by his nephew's favour. He had even been benefited at the expense of his grandnephew, Malise, Earl of Strathern, son of the daughter of his elder brother, David: for under pretence that Strathern was a male fief, the King deprived Malise of that earldom in 1427, and conferred it on Walter, Earl of Athol, for life.

Notwithstanding the high favour in which Athol and his grandson and heir, Sir Robert Stewart, were held by the King, they were deeply concerned in the conspiracy which terminated in his murder, in the monastery of the Dominicans at Perth, on the night of the 20 Feb 1436. Sir Robert Stewart, who was chamberlain, availed himself of the privileges of his office, in preparing for the admission of the conspirators; and he and his grandfather were in the King's company up to the very moment when the murder took place. Sir Robert Steward was taken, and, after cruel tortures, was beheaded. The aged Earl was also taken, tried, and condemned; and although he protested his own innocence, he admitted that he had knowledge of his grandson's complicity in the conspiracy, from which he had vainly attempted to dissuade him. The cross on which his grandson had been tortured previous to his death, was taken down, and a pillar was set up in its stead, to which the Earl was bound, with a paper crown fastened on his head, inscribed with the title "Traitor!". His head was then struck off, and having been adorned with an iron crown, was stuck on the point of a spear. His extensive estates were forfeited, and among them the spoils of his elder brother. The earldom of Strathern reverted to the crown, and it was annexed thereto by Act of Parliament in 1455. [Burke, Vicissitudes of Families, p. 103-4]

Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, Strathearn and Caithness (died 26 March 1437) was a Scottish nobleman, executed for his role in the murder of James I of Scotland.

He 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.

His first wife was Margaret Barclay, by whom he had two sons:

Alan Stewart, 4th Earl of Caithness (d. 1431)

David Stewart, Master of Atholl (d. bef. 1437)

In 1390, his niece Euphemia resigned to him the Earldom of Caithness. In 1404, he was created Earl of Atholl.

He was energetic in retrieving his nephew James I from the Kingdom of England, which was accomplished in 1424, and participated in the trial of Murdoch Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany. He was made Great Justiciar of Scotland and Earl of Strathearn 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 his 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, 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.

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 red-hot iron crown bearing the inscription "King of all Traitors". On the second day, he was bound to a hurdle and dragged along the main 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.,_1st_Earl_of_Atholl

Earl of Caithness; (helped foil Albany, becoming Heir Presumptive of Scotland after the Albany heirs were beheaded or attainted, later turned against his nephew King)

Walter Stewart Earl Of Fife (son of ROBERT II KING OF SCOTLAND and EUPHEMIA ROSS)9851 was born 1341 in of Dundonald, Ayrshire, Scotland9851, and died August 14, 1362 in Scotland9851.

Includes NotesNotes for Walter Stewart Earl Of Fife:


Beheaded in Edinburgh for the murder of his nephew, King James I Earl of Caithness 1390. Beheaded in Edinburgh for the murder of his nephew, King James I



Walter Stewart, Earl of Fife and Margaret, heiress of Holkettle had no surviving children. Disconnected from them as parents April 2016

Robert Stewart 1st Duke of Albany had no son named Walter. Disconnected 12/19/2015

Sir Walter Stewart, Earl Caithness, Atholl, & Strathearn, Lord Brechin1,2,3 Last Edited 27 May 2013 M, #6483, d. 26 March 1437

Father Sir Robert II Stewart, King of Scotland, Earl of Atholl, Strathearn, 7th Steward of Scotland4,5 b. 2 Mar 1316, d. 19 Apr 1390 Mother Euphemia Ross4,5 b. c 1329, d. 20 Feb 1388

    Sir Walter Stewart, Earl Caithness, Atholl, & Strathearn, Lord Brechin married '''Margaret Barclay''', daughter of Sir David Barclay, Lord of Brechin and Janet Keith, before 19 October 1378; They had '''2 sons''' ('''David; & Alan, Earl of Caithness'''). By an '''unknown mistress''' he also had a son (A'''lan, Canon of Aberdeen, Dunblane, & Dunkeld''').2,3 Sir Walter Stewart, Earl Caithness, Atholl, & Strathearn, Lord Brechin and''' Elizabeth Graham''' obtained a marriage license on 1 August 1404; Date of dispensation for being related in the 3rd degree of affinity. However, the''' marriage never took place'''.3 Sir Walter Stewart, Earl Caithness, Atholl, & Strathearn, Lord Brechin died on 26 March 1437 at Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland; Beheaded for being an accessory to the assassination of King James I of Scotland.2,3

Family 1

Margaret Barclay d. b 1 Aug 1404


   David Stewart2,3 d. a Feb 1434
   Alan Stewart, Earl of Caithness2,3 d. 1431

Family 2

Elizabeth Graham


   [S523] Unknown author, Burke's Guide to the Royal Family, p. 318.
   [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 560.
   [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. I, p. 637.
   [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 538.
   [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. I, p. 614.
view all

Walter Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl's Timeline

Dundonald, Ayrshire, Scotland
March 26, 1437
Age 96
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Scotland - 2nd son of Walter Earl of Atholl