Earl of Strathearn Robert Stewart (King of Scots)

Male 1316 - 1390  (74 years)


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  • Name Earl of Strathearn Robert Stewart (King of Scots) 
    Title Earl of Strathearn 
    Born 1316 
    Gender Male 
    Died 19 Apr 1390  Dundonald, South Ayreshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Scone Abbey Cemetery Scone, Perth (Gowrie), Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I328  King of Scots
    Last Modified 2 Feb 2009 

    Father Walter Stewart,   b. 1293,   d. 09 Apr 1326, Bathgate Castle, West Lothian, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 33 years) 
    Mother Margaret Bruce,   b. Dec 1296, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 02 Mar 1316, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 19 years) 
    Married 1315 
    Family ID F120  Group Sheet

    Family 1 Elizabeth Mure,   b. Bef 1355,   d. Abt 1409  (Age ~ 54 years) 
    Married 1336 and 1348 
    Children 
    +1. Robert (Changed from John) Stewart (King of Scots),   b. Abt 1340,   d. 04 Apr 1406, Rothesay, Bute, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 66 years)
     2. Robert Stewart (Duke of Albany),   b. Abt 1340,   d. 03 Sep 1420, Stirling Castle, Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 80 years)
     3. Alexander Stewart (1st Earl of Buchan),   b. 1343,   d. 20 Jun 1405  (Age 62 years)
    Last Modified 30 Jan 2009 
    Family ID F140  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Euphemia Ross,   b. Unknown,   d. 1386 
    Married 02 May 1355 
    Children 
     1. David Stewart (Prince of Scotland),   b. 1357,   d. 1386  (Age 29 years)
    +2. Walter Stewart (1st Earl of Atholl),   b. Unknown,   d. 26 Mar 1437, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Margaret Stewart,   b. Unknown
    +4. Elizabeth Stewart,   b. Unknown
     5. Egidia Stewart,   b. Unknown
    Last Modified 29 Jan 2009 
    Family ID F141  Group Sheet

    Family 3 Unknown Unknown,   b. Unknown 
    Children 
     1. Thomas Stewart,   b. Unknown
    Last Modified 30 Jan 2009 
    Family ID F147  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsDied - 19 Apr 1390 - Dundonald, South Ayreshire, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Scone Abbey Cemetery Scone, Perth (Gowrie), Scotland Link to Google Earth
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  • Photos
    Robert Stewart
    Robert Stewart
    Personal Collection

  • Notes 
    • Robert II (early 1316 ? 19 April 1390) became King of Scots in 1371 and was the first of the House of Stewart. Before his accession he held the titles of High Steward of Scotland and the Earl of Strathearn. He was the son of Walter Stewart, High Steward of Scotland and Marjorie Bruce, daughter of King Robert I and his first wife Isabella of Mar. Robert Stewart was heir presumptive to his grandfather, King Robert in 1318 but this lapsed in 1324 when a son, afterwards King David II, was born. On his father's death in 1326, he inherited the title of High Steward and in the same year parliament named him as heir presumptive to David. In 1329 King Robert died and the 5 year old David succeeded him.

      Robert served as Guardian of Scotland on four occasions?shared with John Randolph, Earl of Moray (1334?1335), then solely during David's refuge in France (1338?1341) and twice during David's captivity in England (bet. 1346 and 1357).

      The Steward married Elizabeth Mure in c. 1348 which legitimised his four sons and five daughters. His subsequent marriage to Euphemia de Ross in 1355 produced two sons and two surviving daughters and was the cause of a dispute as to the line of succession.

      Robert joined a rebellion against David in 1363 but submitted to him under threat that any further defiance would mean the end of his rights in the line of succession. In 1364 parliament dismissed David's proposal that the remaining amounts due to the English under the terms of his ransom would be written off in return for a Plantagenet being named as heir should he remain childless.

      On David's unexpected death in 1371, Robert succeeded to the throne at the age of 55. England still controlled large sectors in the Lothians and in the border country. Robert allowed his southern earls to engage in conflicts in the English zones to regain their territories, halted trade with England and renewed treaties with France. By 1384 most of the foreign occupied lands had been retaken but following an Anglo-French truce, Robert was unwilling to commit Scotland to all-out war and obtained inclusion in the peace talks being conducted by England and France. Following a palace coup in 1384 the kingdom was governed by Robert's eldest son, John, Earl of Carrick, afterwards King Robert III, and then from 1388 by John's younger brother, Robert, Earl of Fife, afterwards 1st Duke of Albany. Robert II died in Dundonald Castle in 1390 and was buried at Scone Abbey.

      Heir presumptive
      Robert Stewart was born in 1316 and was the only child of Walter Stewart, High Steward of Scotland and King Robert I's daughter, Marjorie Bruce who died probably in 1317 following a riding accident.[1] His upbringing was to be that of a west-coast noble on the Stewart lands in Bute, Clydeside, and Renfrew.[1] In 1315, an entail was passed in a parliament which removed Marjorie's right as heir in favour of that of her uncle Edward Bruce.[2] Edward was killed at the Battle of Faughart, near Dundalk on 14 October 1318[3] resulting in a hastily arranged parliament in December to enact a new entail endowing the right of succession to Marjorie's son should the king die without issue.[4] The birth of a son, afterwards King David II, to Robert I on 5 March 1324 negated the Steward's son's position as heir presumptive but at a parliament in July 1326 at Cambuskenneth his position in the line of succession was restored.[2]This reinstatement of his status as heir was also accompanied by the gift of lands in Argyll, Roxburghshire and the Lothians. [5]


      High Steward of Scotland

      Renewed war
      Further information: Second War of Scottish Independence and David II of Scotland

      Dumbarton Castle below Dumbarton RockWalter Stewart died on 9 April 1327[6] and the care for the orphaned 11 year old Steward passed to his uncle, Sir James Stewart of Durrisdeer.[2] David II, aged 5, came to the throne on 7 June 1329 on the death of his father, Robert I, with Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, Sir James of Durrisdeer and William Lindsey, Archdeacon of St Andrews appointed as joint Guardians of the kingdom.[7] David's accession to the crown kindled the second stage of the fight for independence and threatened the Steward's position as heir should a Balliol kingship emerge.[8] King Edward III of England together with those nobles disinherited by Robert I supported Edward Balliol's claim to the Scottish throne.[9] Balliol's forces delivered heavy defeats on the Bruce supporters at Dupplin Moor on 11 August 1332 and again at Halidon Hill on 19 July 1333 at which the 17 year old Robert the Steward participated. [7] The Steward's estates were overran by Balliol who granted them to David Strathbogie, titular earl of Atholl but Robert evaded capture and sought protection at Dumbarton Castle where King David was also taking refuge.[8] Very few other strongholds remained in Scottish hands in the winter of 1333?only the castles of Kildrummy held by Andrew Murray's wife Christian Bruce, Loch Leven, Loch Doon, and Urquhart held out against the Balliol party. [10]

      In May 1334 the country's situation was dire and David was placed into safety in France. [8] Robert who had been made joint Guardian along with John Randolph, Earl of Moray, set about winning his lands back in the west of Scotland.[7] Strathbogie came over to the Bruce party after coming under pressure from the 'disinherited' but was fervently opposed to Randolph.


      Dairsie CastleThis antagonism came to a head at a parliament held at Dairsie Castle in early 1335 at which Strathbogie managed to get the Steward to side with him against Randolph.[11]Strathbogie submitted to the English king in August and was made Warden of Scotland. It seems that Strathbogie may have persuaded Robert the Steward to consider submitting to Edward and Balliol?Sir Thomas Gray, in his Scalacronica claimed that he had actually done so?but Robert did relinquish his position as Guardian around this time. [12]The Bruce resistance to Balliol may have been verging on collapse in 1335 but a turn-round in the Scots' fortunes began with the the appearance of Andrew Murray of Bothwell as a potent war leader at the Battle of Culblean.[13] Murray had been captured in 1332, ransomed himself in 1334 and immediately sped north to lay siege to Dundarg Castle in Buchan held by Sir Henry de Beaumont?the castle fell to Murray on 23 December 1334.[14] Murray was appointed Guardian at Dunfermline during the winter of 1335?6 while he was beseiging Cupar Castle in Fife. He died at his castle in Avoch in 1338 and Robert the Steward resumed the Guardianship. [15]Murray's campaign put an end to any chance of Edward III having full lasting control over the south of Scotland and the failure of the six month siege of Dunbar Castle confirmed this.[16] Balliol lost many of his major supporters to the Bruce side and the main English garrisons began to fall to the Scots?Cupar in the spring or summer of 1339, Perth taken by the Steward also in 1339 and Edinburgh by William Douglas in April 1341[17]

      John Randolph, released from English custody in a prisoner exchange in 1341, visited King David in Normandy before returning to Scotland. Randolph and Robert were rivals and disliked each other and just as Randolph was a favourite of the king, David mistrusted Robert's positions as heir presumptive and as Guardian of Scotland.[18] At the beginning of June 1341 the kingdom was sufficiently stable to allow David to return to the country. His return was to a land with magnates who while fighting for the Bruce cause had considerably increased their own power bases.[19]On the 17 October 1346, Robert accompanied David into battle at Neville's Cross where many Scottish nobles died including John Randolph?Robert had apparently fled the field.[7]


      King David's captivity

      John of GauntWith the king now detained in England and Randolph dead, the Guardianship once again fell to the Steward.[20]One of the Steward's first acts in 1347 was to have his children legitimated by seeking and receiving dispensation from the pope for a marriage to Elizabeth Mure under canon law.[21]Even though he was held by the English king, David was not without influence in Scotland and Robert had his Guardianship removed and given jointly to the earls of Mar and Ross and the lord of Douglas?this did not last, however, and the Steward is once again Guardian before the parliament of February 1352. [22] It was to this parliament that the paroled King David attended to present to the Steward and the members of the Three Estates the terms for his release. These contained no ransom demand but that the English prince John of Gaunt be named as heir presumptive. The terms were rejected by the council with Robert the Steward as a main opponent of the proposal threatening as it did his right of succession.[23] David had no option but to return to captivity in England. The English chronicler, Henry Knighton recorded:[24]

      ... the Scots refused to have their King unless he entirely renounced the influence of the English, and similarly refused to submit themselves to them. And they warned him that they would neither ransom him nor allow him to be ransomed unless he pardoned them for all their acts and injuries that they had done, and all the offences that they had committed during the time of captivity, and he should give them security for that, or otherwise they threatened to choose another king to rule them.
      Release talks ongoing in 1354 had got to the stage where a straight ransom payment with the provision of high ranking hostages was on the table but the understanding was destroyed by the Steward when he bound the Scots to a French action against the English in 1355.[25] The capture of Berwick together with the presence of the French on English soil jolted Edward III into moving against the Scots. In January 1356 Edward led his forces into the southeast of Scotland and burned Edinburgh and Haddington and much of the Lothians in a campaign that became known as the 'Burnt Candlemas'.[26] After Edward's victory over France in September, the Scots resumed negotiations for David's release ending in October 1357 with the Treaty of Berwick. Its terms were that in turn for David's freedom, a ransom of 100,000 marks would be paid in annual installments over ten years?only the first two payments were completed initially and nothing further until 1366.[27] This failure to honour the terms of the Berwick treaty allowed Edward to continue to press for a Plantagenet successor to David?terms that were totally rejected by the Scottish council and probably by the Steward himself.[28] This may have been the cause of a brief rebellion in 1363 by the Steward and the earls of Douglas and March.[29] Later French inducements couldn't bring David to their aid and the country remained at peace with England up until he unexpectedly died on 21 February 1371.[30]

      King of Scots

      Consolidation of Stewart power

      Robert II depicted on his great seal.David was buried at Holyrood almost immediately but Robert II's coronation was deferred until 26 March 1371. Robert had first to deal with an armed protest by William, Earl of Douglas for reasons that are unclear but may have been about a dispute regarding Robert's right of succession[31] or may have been directed against the southern Justiciar, Robert Erskine and the Dunbar earls.[32] It was resolved by Robert giving his daughter Isabella in marriage to Douglas's son, James and with William replacing Erskine as Justicier south of the Forth.[33] After Robert's accession, there wasn't a mass cull of David II's favourites and appointees as had been expected by many, but there were casualties?the brothers, Sir Robert and Sir Thomas Erskine and John Dunbar were to lose their Bruce titles and lesser personages fled into England.[34]

      To the Stewart lands in the west and in Atholl were added the earldoms of Fife and Menteith that went to Robert II's second surviving son Robert, the earldoms of Buchan and Ross along with the lordship of Badenoch to his fourth son Alexander and to his eldest son of his second marriage, David, the earldoms of Strathearn and Caithness.[35] Importantly, King Robert's sons-in-law were John MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, John Dunbar, Earl of Moray and James, who would become the 2nd Earl of Douglas.[35] Robert's sons, John, Earl of Carrick, and the king's heir, and Robert, Earl of Fife were the keepers of the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling respectively while Alexander, lord of Badenoch and Ross and the Earl of Buchan became the king's Justiciar and lieutenant in the north of the Kingdom.[7] This build up of the Stewart family power did not appear to cause resentment among the senior magnates?the king generally did not threaten their territories or local rule and where titles were transferred to his sons the indiviuals affected were usually very well rewarded.[7] This style of kingship was very different from his predecessor's?David tried to dominate his nobles whereas Robert's strategy was to delegate authority to his powerful sons and earls and this, on the whole, worked for the first decade of his reign.[35] This led King Robert II to have influence over eight of the fifteen earldoms either through his sons directly or by strategic marriages of his daughters to powerful lords.[35]


      Stewart influence in Scotland Children of Robert II and Elizabeth Mure

      Sons
      John Stewart Earl of Carrick, High Steward of Scotland,
      Custodian of Edinburgh Castle, Guardian of the kingdom
      Walter Stewart, lord of Fife (d. 1362)
      Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, Earl of Fife and Menteith
      Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, Lord of Badenoch and Ross

      Daughters
      Margaret Stewart, married John of Islay, Lord of the Isles
      Marjory Stewart, married (1) John Dubar, Earl of Moray,
      (2) Alexander Keith
      Johanna Stewart, married (1) Sir John Keith,
      (2) Sir John Lyon,
      (3) 1384 Sir James Sandilands
      Isabella Stewart, married (1) James Douglas, Earl of Douglas,
      (2) David Edmondstone
      Katherine Stewart, married Sir Robert Logan of Grugar,
      later also of Restalrig, Lord High Admiral of Scotland
      Elizabeth Stewart, married Sir Thomas Hay, Lord High Constable of Scotland

      Children of Robert II and Euphemia de Ross

      Sons
      David Stewart, Earl of Caithness, Earl of Strathearn
      Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl

      Daughters
      Margaret Stewart
      Elizabeth Stewart, married 1380 David Lindsay, 1st Earl of Crawford
      Egidia Stewart, married 1387 Sir William Douglas of Nithsdale

      Illegitimate Children of Robert II

      By Mariota de Cardney
      Alexander Stewart of Innerlunan
      Sir John Stewart of Cardney
      James Stewart of Abernethy & Kinfaun
      Walter Stewart

      By Moira Leitch
      Sir John Stewart of Bute


      By unknown
      Sir John Stewart of Dundonald
      Thomas Stewart, Bishop of St Andrews
      Alexander Stewart, Canon of Glasgow
      James Stewart, Canon of Glasgow

      Information from: Boardman, Early Stewart Kings; Weir, Britain's Royal Family; Oram,et al., Kings and Queens of Scotland; Burns, Calander of Papal Letters to Scotland of Clement VII; Paul, The Scots Peerage[36]



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