The Origins of the Stewart Dynasty


The origin of the Stewart line lies in Brittany before becoming the Anglo-Norman Fitz Alan family and coming to Scotland in 1124 at the invitation of the Scottish King David I (1124-1153). He  made them  High Steward of Scotland, a formal title meaning food bearer but which actually denoted a position in the royal household. These Anglo-Norman families , including the Fitz Alan’s were used as highly effective royal agents bringing as they did the innovative technologies of heavy mailed cavalry and the motte and bailey castle technology.  These new incomers were usually given lands in the areas of weakest royal control such as the North-East and south-west of Scotland where they were tasked with maintaining royal authority.

During the course of the twelve and thirteenth centuries the Stewart family gradually built up its land holdings through marriage and acquisition however it was the support of  Walter the Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland for Robert Bruce during the Wars of Independence and his ultimate success in winning the throne that led to Walter’s marriage to Marjorie, daughter of Robert Bruce (I). His heir also called Robert, acted as Regent for the often absent King David II before becoming the first Stewart king himself as Robert II in 1371.

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