Sir John Stewart, 1st Seigneur d'Aubigny

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Sir John Stewart, 1st Seigneur d'Aubigny

Also Known As: "Stewart of Darnley"
Birthplace: Darnley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Death: February 12, 1429 (44-53)
Rouvray-Sainte-Croix, Duché d'Orléans, France (Killled in the Battle of the Herrings, also called the Battle of Rouvray.)
Place of Burial: Orléans, Département du Loiret, Région Centre, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Alexander Stewart of Darnley, Kt. and Jonetta Keith of Galston
Husband of Elizabeth Lennox
Father of Alexander Stewart; John Stewart of Aubigny and Concressault and Sir Alan Stewart of Darnley, Kt.
Brother of William Stewart
Half brother of Sir William Stewart of Jedworth; Janet Stewart of Darnley; Robert Stewart of Newtoun; Andrew of Hamilton; George Hamilton of Bordland and 4 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Sir John Stewart, 1st Seigneur d'Aubigny


Evidence from the National Records of Scotland

4 August 1437: Letters by Charles VII, King of France, granting to Alan Stewart, Lord of Darnlie, son of the deceased John Stewart, Lord of Darnlee, an extension of time during which to pay certain debts incurred by him for his support while engaged in His Majesty's service. Dated at Gienne. National Records of Scotland, Papers of the Graham Family, Dukes of Montrose (Montrose Muniments), reference GD220/2/1/46


  1. Stirnet: Stewart 03
  2. The Stewarts of Darnley

Biographical Summary by Darryl Lundy's Peerage

Sir John Stewart, 1st Seigneur d'Aubigny married Elizabeth (?), daughter of Duncan, 8th Earl of Lennox and Helen Campbell, on 23 September 1406, by Papal dispensation. He died on 12 February 1428/29 at Rouvray-Saint-Denis, France, killed in action.[1] (Biographer Stephen Cooper asserts that the battle took place at Rouvray-Sainte-Croix, instead.) He was buried at Cathedral of Orléans, Orléans, Orléanais, France. He was the son of Sir Alexander Stewart and unknown daughter Turnbull. He was invested as a Knight before 1387. He lived at Darnley, Scotland. In October 1419 he entered the service of France. He held the office of Constable of the Army of Scotland. He fought in the Battle of Baugé on 22 March 1420/21, where he distinguished himself. He was created 1st Seigneur de Concressault, in Berry [France] on 23 April 1421. He was created Comte d'Evreux, in Normandy [France] in January 1426/27. He fought in the Battle of the Herrings on 12 February 1428/29. Children of Sir John Stewart, 1st Seigneur d'Aubigny and Elizabeth (?) 1. Sir Alan Stuart of Darnley+[1] d. c 1439. 2. Sir John Stuart, 2nd Seigneur d'Aubigny+[1] d. 1482. 3. Alexander Stewart

Biographical Summary by Wikipedia

Sir John Stewart of Darnley, 1st Lord of Concressault and 1st Lord of Aubigny, Count of Évreux (c. 1380-d.1429) was a Scottish nobleman and prominent soldier during the Hundred Years War. The son of Sir Alexander Stewart of Darnley, he was a distant cousin of the Stewart Kings of Scotland, being descended from the second son of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland, John Stewart of Bonkyll. Darnley inherited his father's estates in 1404, and was knighted c.1418. In 1419, Darnley was part of the Scottish expeditionary force which under the Earls of Buchan (Darnley's cousin) and Wigtown, set out to France. By 1420 Darnley was referred to as Constable of the Scottish Army there. Darnley was present at the major Scots victory at the Battle of Baugé in 1421, and for his part in the fight was the granted the lordships of Concressault in 1421, and Aubigny-sur-Nère in 1422, by a grateful Dauphin. Darnley was present, and a commander, at the defeat at Cravant, where he was captured and suffered the loss of an eye. During his captivity, Darnley could not participate at the Battle of Verneuil, at which the Franco-Scottish army was heavily defeated. His ransom having been paid by the Dauphin Charles, Darnley once again entered French service, taking command of the remaining Scots forces in the country. Following a victory over the English at Mont Saint-Michel, Darnley was made Count of Évreux, and allowed to append the Fleur-de-Lis to his arms. In 1427, he along with Renaud of Chartres, the Archbishop of Rheims, returned to Scotland to raise further troops, and to negotiate the future marriage between Princess Margaret of Scotland, and the Dauphin's son Louis. He returned again to France in 1429, where he took part in the Siege of Orléans where he arrived with 1000 men. Four days later, he commanded the Scottish contingent at the Battle of the Herrings, where he was killed. John Stewart of Darnley was buried in the Sainte-Croix Cathedral, Orléans. Darnley married Elizabeth, a daughter of Donnchadh, Earl of Lennox c.1408, she accompanied Darnley to France, where she died 10 months after him and is buried beside him at Orléans. They had issue: 1. Sir Alan Stewart of Darnley, from whom descends the Stewart Earls of Lennox, and all Monarchs of Scotland, England and Great Britain from James VI of Scotland onwards. 2. Sir John Stewart, 2nd Lord of Aubigny, from whom descends all later Dukes of Aubigny and Dukes of Lennox. 3. Alexander Stewart of Darnley.

Battle of the Herrings

The Battle of the Herrings was a military action near the town of Rouvray in France, just north of Orléans, which took place on 12 February 1429 during the siege of Orléans. The immediate cause of the battle was an attempt by French forces, led by Charles of Bourbon, Count of Clermont, to intercept and divert a supply convoy headed for English forces.

The English had been laying siege to the town of Orléans since the previous October. The French were assisted by a Scottish force led by the Constable of the Scottish army, Sir John Stewart of Darnley.

There are two places called Rouvray in the region in question. In his biography of Sir John Fastolf, Stephen Cooper gives reasons why the battle probably took place near Rouvray-Sainte-Croix, rather than Rouvray-Saint-Denis.

This supply convoy was led by Sir John Fastolf and had been outfitted in Paris, whence it had departed some time earlier. According to Regine Pernoud, this convoy consisted of "some 300 carts and wagons, carrying crossbow shafts, cannons and cannonballs but also barrels of herring."[1] The latter were being sent since the meatless Lenten days were approaching. It was the presence of this stock of fish which would give the somewhat unusual name to the battle.

The battle

The field of battle was an almost featureless, flat plain. The French army, numbering between 3000 and 4000, confronted the much smaller English force who had set up defensive positions by drawing up the supply wagons into a make-shift fortification. The entire defensive formation was then further protected by the placement of sharpened spikes all around to prevent the French cavalry from charging, a tactic which had been employed, with great success, at the Battle of Agincourt.

The French attack began with a bombardment using gunpowder artillery, a relatively new weapon for the time and one whose proper usage was not well understood.

The 400-strong Scottish infantry, contrary to the orders of the Count of Clermont (Pernoud states that "Clermont sent message after message forbidding any attack") went on the attack against the English formation. This, according to deVries, forced the premature cessation of the artillery bombardment out of fear of striking their own forces. The Scots were not well protected by armour and great damage was visited upon them by the English archers and crossbowmen who were shooting from behind the protection of their wagon fort.

At this point, the English, seeing that the remaining French forces were slow to join the Scots in the attack (Pernoud quotes the Journal du siege d'Orléans to the effect that the remaining French forces "came on in a cowardly fashion, and did not join up with the constable and the other foot soldiers"), decided themselves to go on a counterattack. They struck the rear and flanks of the disorganized French/Scottish forces and put them to flight.

Pernoud states that the combined French/Scottish forces lost about 400 men, including Stewart, the leader of the Scots. Among the wounded was Jean de Dunois, known also as the Bastard of Orléans, who barely escaped with his life and who would later play such a crucial role, along with Joan of Arc, in the lifting of the siege of Orléans and the French Loire campaign which followed.

Aftermath and significance

While it is generally felt today that the Battle of the Herrings was lost because of the failure to continue the artillery bombardment to its full effect, such was not the view at the time, at least in the besieged city of Orléans. Within the city walls, as can be seen from the passage in the Journal du siege, the Count of Clermont was generally blamed for the disaster, being considered a coward and held in disdain. Soon thereafter, Clermont, together with the wounded Count Dunois, left Orléans together with about 2000 soldiers. Morale within the city and among its leaders was at a low point, so much so that consideration was given to surrendering the city.

The Battle of the Herrings was the most significant military action during the siege of Orléans from its inception in October of 1428 until the appearance on the scene, in May of the following year, of Joan of Arc. Even so, it was, to all appearances, a rather minor engagement and, were it not for the context in which it occurred, would most likely have been relegated to the merest of footnotes in military history or even forgotten altogether.

But not only was it part of one of the most famous siege actions in history, the story also gained currency that it played a pivotal role in convincing Robert de Baudricourt in Vaucouleurs, to accede to Joan's demand for support and safe conduct to Chinon. For it was on the very day (February 12, 1429) of the battle that Joan met with de Baudricourt for the final time. According to the story, recounted in several places (for example, in Sackville-West), Joan gave out the information that "the Dauphin's arms had that day suffered a great reverse near Orléans". When, several days later, news of the military setback near Rouvrey did in fact reach Vaucouleurs, de Baudricourt, according to the story, relented and agreed to sponsor her journey to the Dauphin in Chinon. Joan finally left Vaucouleurs for Chinon on the 23rd of February, 1429.

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Sir John Stewart, 1st Seigneur d'Aubigny's Timeline

Darnley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Darnley, Scotland (United Kingdom)
February 12, 1429
Age 49
Rouvray-Sainte-Croix, Duché d'Orléans, France
Probably Darnley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Cathédrale Sainte-Croix d'Orléans, Orléans, Département du Loiret, Région Centre, France