Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland

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Alexander Stewart

Also Known As: "Alexander FitzWalter of Darnley", "Alexander of Dundonald"
Birthplace: Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Death: 1283 (68-69)
Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Place of Burial: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Walter Fitzalan Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland and Bethóc nic Gille Crist, Countess of Angus
Husband of wife of Alexander Stewart
Father of Hawise Stewart; daughter of Alexander Stewart; James Stewart (died young); James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland; Elizabeth Stewart of Crawford and 2 others
Brother of NN MacDonald; Euphemia Stewart; Sybella Mackenzie; Beatrix Stewart; Margaret Stewart, Countess of Carrick and 6 others

Occupation: Co-Regent of Scotland, 4th High Steward of Scotland, 4th High Stewart
Managed by: James Fred Patin, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland

Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland Alexander Stewart (died 1283), also known as Alexander of Dundonald, was 4th hereditary High Steward of Scotland from his father's death in 1246.

  • Coat of arms of the High Stewart of Scotland: Or, a fess chequy argent and azure
  • Tenure 1246–1283
  • Predecessor Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland
  • Successor James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland
  • Died 1283
  • Nationality Scottish
  • Parents Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland and Bethóc (Beatrix) Mac Gille Críst


He was a son of Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland by his wife Bethóc, daughter of Gille Críst, Earl of Angus.


He is said to have accompanied King Louis IX of France on the Seventh Crusade (1248–1254).[1] In 1255 he was one of the councillors of King Alexander III of Scotland, though under age.[2]

He was the principal commander under King Alexander III at the Battle of Largs, on 2 October 1263, when the Scots defeated the Norwegians under Haakon IV. The Scots invaded and conquered the Isle of Man the following year, which was then, together with the whole of the Western Isles, annexed to the Crown of Scotland.[3][4]


The identity of Alexander's wife is unknown. Traditionally she was Jean of Bute, the heir of Bute and Arran, but Lord Lyon David Sellars has shown her parents are likely a later myth to justify the Stewart takeover.

Jean married Alexander Stewart 4th High Steward of Scotland, son of Walter Stewart 3rd High Steward of Scotland and Beatrix of Angus. No date for this marriage is given in Burke or by Thompsett, so have to assume that it occurred before the birth of first child. He was b. circa 1214, d. circa 1283.

Children are variously given.

Medlands as of June 2022 shows these six:

  1. James, died young
  2. James Stewart 5th High Steward of Scotland+ b. 1243, d. 16 Jul 1309. Married 1) Cecilia de Dunbar 2) Muriel of Strathearn 3) Egida de Burgh.
  3. Elizabeth Stewart+ b. c 1250 4. Married Sir William "Le Hardi" Douglas of that Ilk.
  4. Andrew Stewart (d after 1350) Married Beith. (The chronology of this entry is extremely shaky and it is unlikely that Andrew was the son of Alexander.)
  5.  Sir John Stewart of Jedworth + b. c 1240, d. 22 Jul 1298 2. Married Margaret de Bonkyl.
  6. daughter . Her parentage and marriage are confirmed by a charter dated [Oct] [1299] under which "Robert de Feltone" reported to Edward I King of England damage caused by raids on castle Lochmaben whose constable was "Robert de Conigham…vallet of the Steward of Scotland, whose sister his uncle had married"[1285]. m --- Cunningham, son of ---.

Previously Geni showed also shows:

  • 1. Hawise Stewart 2. Married John de Soulis.
  •  2. Beatrix Stewart Countess of Crawford+ 2,6. also found as "daughter Stewart.". Married Sir Alexander Lindsay of Crawford and Luffness.

Through their eldest son James they were great-grandparents of King Robert II, the first Stewart to be King of Scots, and thus ancestors of all subsequent Scottish monarchs and the later and current monarchs of Great Britain.

Through their second son John, they were the direct ancestors in the male line of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and of the Stuart monarchs of Scotland and England from Darnley's son James VI and I onwards.

Through their third son Andrew they were the 9x great grandparents of Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector.


  • 1 - Principal commander under King Alexander III at the Battle of Largs 2 Oct 1263 when the Scottish army defeated the Norwegians. In 1264 he invaded the Isle of Man.
  • 2 -He commanded the right wing of the Scots army at the battle of Largs, 1263. He had two sons In the thirteenth century, the 4th Stewart of Scotland (a crusader) married the heiress of the Lord of Bute of the royal House of Isles
  • 3 - Battle of the Largs 1 October 1283: Invasion of Scotland by Haakon, King of Norway, attacked on the beaches by gathering Scottish forces, beginning the Battle of the Largs.
  • 5 October 1283: Norwegians abandon invasion of Scotland, leaving ships and wounded on the beach. Despite the victory of Brian Boru over the Danes in Ireland in 1014, the Scandinavian incursions into the Celtic nations took a long time to fade away. It would be nearly 270 years after the Battle of Clontarf before the ScandinaviansÙu last hurrah in the spectacular Battle of the Largs.
  • In the year 1283 the English were just consolidating their conquest of Wales with the execution on 3 October of Dafydd, the last native Prince of Wales. The power of Norway still dominated the North Sea and reached around the coast of Scotland into the Irish Sea, hedging the growing power of Scotland with a chain of island possessions that included the Orkneys, Shetland, the Hebrides, and the Isle of Mann.
  • When Scotland's boy king Alexander III turned 21 in 1262, one of his first acts was to try to purchase the Hebrides from Norway. The offer was refused, but when the Earl of Ross led a bloody raid on the Norwegian-held Isle of Skye, the Norwegian King Haakon prepared for an armed showdown with Scotland.
  • Haakon assembled a fleet of 100 ships, the largest armada yet seen in those waters, and was joined by Magnus, the King of Mann, along with other Scandinavian jarls. But after wasting the summer in fruitless sparring and maneuvering, Haakon divided his forces, sending most of the Manx fleet off on coastal raids and dispatching 40 other ships to be dragged overland and floated in Loch Lomond, a novel if pointless tour de force.
  • King Alexander in the meantime was biding his time, keeping his field armies intact behind a defensive screen of castles. The opportunity he was waiting for came at last on 1 October, when the first storms of autumn forced Haakon to decide between abandoning the campaign or chancing a risky landing on the Scottish coast. Haakon chose to go for the landing. The Norwegians struggled through the storm-roiled surf on the west coast of Scotland only to be met on the beaches by a Scottish vanguard of archers and mailed knights, who commenced a running battle with the Norwegians on 2 October.
  • The bedraggled Norwegians were in no shape to deal with a hot landing zone, but found themselves unable to put back out to sea due to the worsening weather. They were equally unable to gain a secure beachhead for themselves in the face of the growing numbers of Scots that Alexander dispatched from their inland bases as soon as he learned of the Norwegian predicament. After some 72 hours of debilitating and almost continuous combat, the weather lifted just enough to enable the remaining Norwegians to make a hasty evacuation, leaving most of their dead and wounded on beaches lit by the burning hulks of their ships.
  • The Battle of the Largs marked the rise of independent Scotland and the terminal decline of Norway's North Sea hegemony. The victory was followed by the death of Haakon, Norway’s cessation of the Hebrides to Scotland, and the Scottish takeover of the Orkneys and the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. Scotland eventually gained Shetland too, as a wedding present, but that is a story for another day.


  • The Scots Peerage: Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, Containing an Historical and Genealogical Account of the Nobility of that Kingdom, with Armorial Illustrations (1904-1914), Paul , Sir James Balfour, (9 volumes. Edinburgh: D. Douglas, 1904-1914), vol. 1 p. 13. "His wife is said to have been Jean, daughter of James, Lord of Bute."
  • (dead link)
  • Sources Nisbet, Alexander, 1722. Vol.1,p. 48; and appendix, page 149. Burke, Messrs., John and John Bernard, The Royal Families of England, Scotland, and Wales, and Their Descendants &c., volume 2, London, 1851, p. xlii. Anderson, William, "The Scottish Nation", Edinburgh, 1867, vol.vii, p. 200. Mackenzie, A. M., MA., D.Litt., The Rise of the Stewarts, London, 1935, pp. 13–14. The Marquis de Ruvigny & Raineval, The Jacobite Peerage &c., London & Edinburgh (1904), 1974 reprint, p. 8n Agnatic ancestor of British kings.
  • Simpson, David, The Genealogical and Chronological History of the Stuarts, Edinburgh, 1713.
  • Anderson, William, The Scottish Nation, Edinburgh, 1867, vol.ix, p.512
  • Burke, Messrs., John and John Bernard, The Royal Families of England, Scotland, and Wales, with Their Descendants &c., volume 2, London, 1851, p. xli-xlii.
  • Anderson (1867) vil.ix, p.512
  • Mosley, Charles, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th ed., 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books, Ltd., 2003), vol. 1, p. 449.
  • Paul, James Balfour (1904). The Scottish Peerage. p. 169.
  • "Bunkle Castle". Historic Environment Scotland.
  • International Genealogical Index Source Batch No. 6020347, Sheet 65, Source Call No. 1621525
  • Visitations of Cambridgeshire, 1575 & 1619
  • Noble, Mark, Memoirs of the Protectoral House of Cromwell, London, 1757, vol.2, p.204
  • Foster, John, The Statesmen of the Commonwealth of England, London, 1830, vol.4, p.305
  • Lauder-Frost, 2004, p.152.
  • Maxwell, Sir Herbert, Bt., A History of the House of Douglas, London, 1902, vol.1, p.28.
  • Cokayne; Gibbs; Doubleday; Howard de Walden (1932) p. 206.
  • Bibliography Cokayne, GE; Gibbs, V; Doubleday, HA; Howard de Walden, eds. (1932). The Complete Peerage. Vol. 8. London: The St Catherine Press. Lauder-Frost, Gregory, F.S.A.Scot., "East Anglian Stewarts" in The Scottish Genealogist, Dec.2004, vol.LI, no.4., pps:151-161. ISSN 0330-337X MacEwen, ABW (2011). "The Wives of Sir James the Steward (d.1309)". Foundations. 3 (5): 391–398. Sellar, WDH (2000). "Hebridean Sea Kings: The Successors of Somerled, 1164–1316". In Cowan, EJ; McDonald, RA (eds.). Alba: Celtic Scotland in the Middle Ages. East Linton: Tuckwell Press. pp. 187–218. ISBN 1-86232-151-5.
  • Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland House of Stewart Born: 1214 Died: 1283 Peerage of Scotland Preceded by Walter Steward High Steward of Scotland 1246–1283 Succeeded by James Stewart
  • RELATED ARTICLES Gille Críst, Earl of Angus Thomas Stewart, 2nd Earl of Angus John Stewart of Bonkyll
  • 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 1, page 449.
  • 1. [S265] Colquoun_Cunningham.ged, Jamie Vans
  • 2.[S288] Alexander Gardner, Paisley, 1906, McKerlie, (Alexander Gardner, Paisley, 1906), ii, 267 (Reliability: 3)
  • Chronicon Manniae et Insularum (Chronicle of Man and the Isles) - 1164-1225.
  • Sellar, WDH (1966). "The Origins and Ancestry of Somerled". The Scottish Historical Review 45 (140, pt. 2): 123–142. JSTOR 25528658.
  • Sellar, WDH (2000). "Hebridean Sea Kings: The Successors of Somerled, 1164–1316". In Cowan, EJ; McDonald, RA. Alba: Celtic Scotland in the Middle Ages. East Linton: Tuckwell Press. pp. 187–218. ISBN 1-86232-151-5.
  • Sellar, WDH (2004). "Somerled (d. 1164)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/26782. Retrieved 5 July 2011. Subscription or UK public library membership required.
  • Wikipedia identity of Alexander's wife is uncertain.[5] Some secondary sources erroneously[6] identify her as Jean, daughter of James, son of Angus, son of Somerled.[7][8][9]
  • Some sources (such as Scots Peerage volume 5) erroneously claim that a granddaughter of Angus married Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland. (5)
  • 5. Sellars, William David Hamilton (2000), "Hebridean sea kings: The successors of Somerled, 1164–1316", in Cowan, Edward J.; McDonald, Russell Andrew, Alba: Celtic Scotland in the middle ages, Tuckwell Press, p. 195, 195 fn 34, ISBN 1-86232-151-5
  • ALEXANDER Stewart, son of WALTER FitzAlan High Steward of Scotland & his wife --- (-1283). The Liber Pluscardensis names "dominus Alexander Stevart de Dundonald, pronepos primi Walteri Stewart"[1211]. The Visitation of Cambridge 1575 names "Alexander Stuart secundo genitus Gualt, Senescalli Scotie"[1212]. He succeeded his father as High Steward of Scotland. "Alexander filius Walteri Scotie senescallus" donated flour from "firma mea de Inchynnan" to Paisley monastery by charter dated Jan 1286 (presumably misdated)[1213]. The seal of "Alexandri filii Walterii senescalli regis Scotie" is appended to a charter under which "Alexander Stuart" donated lands at Machline and Carentabel to Melrose by charter dated to [1226] (presumably misdated)[1214]. John of Fordun’s Scotichronicon (Continuator) records the death in 1281 of "Alexander senescallus Scotiæ, avus…Walteri generi domini Roberti Bruce regis"[1215]. m JEAN, daughter of ---. Balfour Paul names Jean of Bute heiress of the Isles of Bute and Arran, daughter of James Lord of Bute and Arran & his wife ---, and records her marriage to Alexander Stewart (no primary source cited)[1216]. Andrew McEwen suggests that there is no evidence to indicate that the wife of Alexander Stewart was the daughter of James Lord of Bute[1217]. He adds that what evidence there is "suggests a double marriage alliance…about 1240 between Sir Walter fitz Alan II and Richard Comyn by which the Steward’s son and heir Alexander married Comyn’s daughter Joanna, while Comyn’s son and heir John married Sir Walter’s daughter Eva", but he does not cite the nature of the evidence in question[1218]. Alexander Stewart & his wife had [six] children: …
  •,_4th_High_Steward_o... shows (again) his wife as Jean Mccrory, despite their “talk” page disbelief.
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Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland's Timeline

Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
at or near, Durisdeer, Dumfreshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Age 69
Dundonald Castle, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Age 69
Paisley Abbey, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Bonkyl, Berwickshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)