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The Scottish Nation
Avandale


AVANDALE, Lord, a title conferred by James the Second on Andrew Stewart, the eldest of the seven illegitimate sons of Sir James Stewart, called James the Gross, fourth son of Murdoch, duke of Albany, and the only one who escaped the vengeance of James the First, when his father and three brothers were ruthlessly cut off by that monarch. On their imprisonment he had flown to arms, assaulted and burnt the town of Dumbarton, and killed Sir John Stewart, the king’s uncle, who held the castle with thirty-two men. He afterwards took refuge in Ireland, where he formed a connection with a lady of the family of Macdonald, by whom he had seven sons, and a daughter, Matilda, married to Sir William Edmonstone of Duntreath. These children are supposed on their father’s death to have been adopted by Murdoch’s widow, the duchess Isabella, countess of Lennox, to bear her company in her castle on the small island of Inchmurrin on Lochlomond, where her latter years were spent in retirement; as his name and that of three of his brothers, Murdoch, Arthur, and Robert Stewarts of Albany, appear as witnesses to charters granted by the duchess Isabella as countess of Lennox, betwixt 1440 and 1451. (Napier’s History of the Partition of the Lennox, pp. 18—20.) King James the Second, touched perhaps with regret for the ruin which his father had caused Duke Murdoch’s family, honoured the eldest of his illegitimate grandsons with peculiar marks of regard and affection. Hs placed him at one of the English universities, and on his return to Scotland, after his education had been completed, appointed him a gentleman of his bedchamber, and knighted him. In 1456 he bestowed on him the barony of Avandale or Evandale in Lanarkshire, which had been forfeited by the last earl of Douglas in 1455, and in 1457 created him Lord Avandale (Ibid, p. 45). Before the 1st of March, 1459, the new peer had superseded George fourth earl of Angus, as warden of the marches, and in 1460, on the accession of James the Third, he was chosen lord-chancellor of Scotland, an office which he held for twenty-two years, with the high distinction of precedence next to the princes of royal blood. He was one of the lords of the regency, and in a charter of King James the Third, in 1465, he is styled guardian of the king. In 1468 he was sent ambassador to Denmark to treat of a marriage between James the Third and the princess Margaret of Denmark, which was happily accomplished. On the 4th May 1471, he had a liferent grant, under the great seal, of the whole earldom of Lennox, which had been in non-entry from the year 1425, when Earl Duncan, the father of the duchess Isabella, was beheaded, though it had never been forfeited, as erroneously stated by Douglas in his Peerage, and other writers. To fortify himself in this grant, he obtained letters of legitimation under the great seal, of date 28th August 1472, to himself and two of his brothers, Arthur and Walter, by which a right of general succession was thrown open to them. These letters were repeated on the 17th April 1479, and on the 18th of the same month he had a charter of the lordship of Avandale. In 1482, when the king’s brother, the duke of Albany, with the assistance of Edward the Fourth of England, invaded Scotland, Lord Avandale and many other noblemen who had been till then the most loyal supporters of the crown, abandoned the sovereign who had heaped upon him wealth and honours, and after the king had been conveyed prisoner to Edinburgh castle, he as chancellor, with the archbishop of St. Andrews, the bishop of Dunkeld, and the earl of Argyle, entered into a bond, dated 2d August of that year, for the protection and indemnity of Albany. The noblemen who sign this deed declare that they and the other nobles of the realm "sall cause our soverane lord frely to gif and grant" to the duke of Albany "all his landis, heritagis, strenthis, houses, and offices quhilk he possessit the day of his last parting forth of the realm of Scotland." (Faedera, b. xii. p. 160.) To punish his ingratitude, the king, before the 25th of the same month of August, deprived him of the chancellorship, which he had held so long, and bestowed it on John Laing, bishop of Glasgow. This took place before the siege of Edinburgh castle, which occurred 29th September 1482, and not after that event, as Mr. Tytler, in his history, records it, and could not therefore have been in consequence of Albany’s partial success, as Tytler says it was. (See Napier’s History of the Partition of the Lennox, p. 68, note.) Albany was soon received into favour, and in the following December appointed lieutenant-general of the kingdom, but in 1484 the Albany party was completely crushed. Although not restored to the chancellorship, Lord Avandale appears to have regained the confidence of the king, and in 1484 he was one of the commissioners sent to France to renew the ancient league with that crown. He was also one of the plenipotentiaries who concluded the pacification with King Richard the Third at Nottingham, 21st September of that year. His name appears as one of the witnesses to a charter of James the Third, dated 11th March 1487. He continued to possess the lands of the earldom of Lennox till his death in 1488. He left no issue, whereby the title for the time became extinct.

The title of Lord Avandale was next bestowed on his nephew, Andrew Stewart, second son of his younger brother, Walter Stewart of Morphie, in the county of Kincardine, sixth son of Sir James the Gross. The mother of the second Lord Avandale was Elizabeth, daughter of Arnot of Arnot, in the county of Fife. Crawford (Officers of State, p. 39) says that Alexander Stewart, the eldest son of Walter Stewart of Morphie, was, in 1503, created Lord Avandale by solemn investiture in parliament, but this is a mistake, as it would appear that the said Alexander Stewart died before 1500, and that he was succeeded in the estate of Avandale and other lands by his immediate younger brother Andrew above mentioned, second Lord Avandale. (Douglas.) By his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir John Kennedy of Blairquhan in Ayrshire, had three sons and three daughters. Andrew, the eldest son, succeeded as third Lord Avandale. Henry, the second son, on marrying the queen dowager, was created Lord Methven. (See METHVEN, Lord.) The third son, Sir James Stewart of Beath, was the ancestor of the earl of Moray. (See MORAY, earl of.)

      The third Lord Avandale was governor of the castle of Dumbarton, and held the office of groom of the stole to King James the Fourth. In 1534, be transferred the barony of Avandale and the lands of Coldstream to Sir James Hamilton of Fynnart, in exchange for the barony of Ochiltree in Ayrshire, and in consequence of this exchange, on the 15th March 1543, the earl of Arran, governor of the kingdom, with consent of parliament, ordained that Andrew lord Avandale should in future be styled Lord Stewart of Ochiltree. By his wife, Lady Margaret Hamilton, only child of James, first earl of Arran, he had a son, Andrew Stewart, who became second lord Ochiltree. (See OCHILTREE, Lord.)


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