The legacies of the Stewart’s are well documented in
Scottish history. Walter FitzAllan was the First High Steward of Scotland assigned by King
David. The Stewart family went on to inherit the thrown of Scotland by the marriage
of Walter Stewart the son of James 5th High Steward, to Marjory Bruce the daughter of
Robert the Bruce and Isabella of Mar.
The Stewart’s have been over-looked for their loyalty to the people of Scotland.
Today’s history teaches that the Stewart’s were only barons that were
greedy and married into the Royal Lines in order to obtain their power.
James the 5th High Steward was a fantastic example of his patronage to his beloved
country, Scotland. He was one of the seven guardians of Scotland that had the right
to appoint a King. The fight was on between John Balliol and Robert Bruce the
Competitor for the thrown. Robert was the closest in line for the thrown because he
was a grandson of Alexander where Balliol was a great grandson.
The Guardians of Scotland knew Robert by all rights should be crowned King. King
Edward chose John Balliol due to the alliance established between him and Balliol.
Sir William Wallace fought under the banner of Balliol. Balliol was forced to
abdicate his thrown due to the great pressure the Scots were putting on him as a traitor.
He did abdicate and was killed. Wallace continued to fight for the Balliol
Silently, many men were flocking to Robert Bruce’s defense. One of these men
was James 5th High Steward. James had all the genealogies sent to attorneys in
Europe to be examined by impartial parties. The attorneys concluded based on an
example from the Bible that Robert Bruce the Competitor should inherit the Thrown of
Scotland. When James had received the letters from the attorneys, he took a firm
stand. His judgement was the same as the attorneys.
James swore allegiance to Robert the Competitor on September 20, 1286. Turbulence
surrounded Scotland for the next 30 years. Edward became obsessed with Scotland.
After his wife died, Edward became a tyrant and barbarian. He poured out
great cruelty upon the Scots. For thirteen years Scotland had suffered greatly so
the leaders of Scotland agreed to surrender to Edward on July 9th, 1297. Robert
Bruce, Earl of Carrick, grandson of the Competitor and James Stewart refused to surrender
or produce hostages.
The battle at Stirling Bridge was a win for the Scots. They had slaughtered the
English when they tried to cross to get to Berwick. The Earl of Surrey came upon the
English’s defeat and retreated back to Falkirk. James Stewart and Lennox along
with their troops remained in the woods watching Surrey. On September 11, 1297 after
watching Surrey’s group for three days, Stewart and Lennox attacked them. The
two Scotsmen and their troops beat Surrey and seized the laden wagons of booty.
James Stewart participated in the first full-scale raid in Roxburgh in July of 1299.
Once the Scots arrived at Roxburgh, the fortress was so heavily guarded that the
Scots knew they would loose many men if they attempted to siege it. Stewart and the
other leaders told their men to retreat. This caused the Scots to become very
discouraged and ill tempered.
The Constable of Roxburgh placed a spy in the camp of the Scots. The spy’s
accounting is still in existence and kept in the Public Record Office in London.
At the council, Sir David Graham demanded the land and goods of Sir William Wallace
because he was leaving the Kingdom without the leave or approval of the Guardians.
And Sir Malcolm, Sir William’s brother, answered that neither his lands nor his goods
should be given away, for they were protected by the peace in which Wallace had left the
Kingdom. At this the two knights gave the lie to each other and drew their daggers.
And since Sir David Graham was of Sir John Comyn’s following, it was reported to the
Earl of Buchan and John Comyn that a fight had broken out without their knowing it: and
John Comyn leapt at the Earl of Carrick and seized him by the throat and the Earl of
Buchan turned on the Bishop of St. Andrews, declaring that treason and lese majeste were
being plotted. Eventually the Stewart and others came between them and quieted
them. At that moment a letter was brought from beyond the Firth of Forth, telling
how Sir Alexander Comyn and Lachlan Macruarie were burning and devastating the district
they were in, attacking the people of the Scottish nation. So it was ordained then
that the Bishop of St. Andrews should have all the castles in his hands as principle
captain and the Earl of Carrick and John Comyn be with him joint-guardians of the
Kingdom. And that same Wednesday, after the letter had been read, they all left
James Stewart had earlier stepped in the middle of King Edward and the Competitor to
prevent a great blood shed upon the Kingdom of Scotland. This was at the Treaty of
Birgham. James attended the first secession of parliament in eighteen years in 1309.
Many other Scotsmen were present at this meeting. James Stewart remained
loyal to The Bruce even until his death, which was shortly after parliament in 1309.
King Robert the Bruce loved James Stewart and proved this by allowing his daughter to
marry James’ son Walter. Bruce mourned the loss of his dear quiet friend.
Stewart is not well known in the legacy of the Bruce because he was a quiet,
tactful caring man. Stewart was opposite of The Bruce and Wallace but that is what
kept the balance of the Scots to win against the greatest oppression they had ever
suffered, the cruel barbaric yet intelligent King Edward of England.
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