"Fesse Chequy," alludes to the
counting board used in their hereditary duties during the High Middle Ages. the ancestors
of the Stewarts were Seneschals of the counts Doll and Dinan in Brittany, to whom they
were related, as per Medieval custom. Alan Fitz Flaald was in England before 1101, and his
two sons, William and Walter, were the progenitors of the FitzAlan earls of Arundel in
England, and of the House of Stewart in Scotland, respectively. Walter was in Scotland
before 1164 and was created Stewart of Scotland by King David I. He was granted wide
territories in Renfrewshire and East Lothian, and commanded the Kings army which
defeated Somerled of the Isles in 1161. He founded the Abbey of Paisley, near Glasgow, and
passed the oflice of Stewart to his descendants, the second of which (the grandson of
Walter) adopted the title as his surname. He himself had several sons, including
Alexander, fourth High Stewart, and Walter, ancestor of the Menteiths, a branch of the
Stewarts who took their name from their earldom.
Alexanders son James, fifth High
Stewart, inherited the Islands of Bute and Arran, as well as the royal name James from his
mother, who was the heiress of Seumas (James) mlac Angus mac Somerled, of the Royal House
of the Isles. Walter, sixth High Stewart, was prominent at Bannockburn on the Scottish
side, and Robert the Bruce later gave Walter his daughter Marjorys hand in marriage.
She became heiress of the House of Bruce when her brother David II failed to have
children, and so Robert, seventh High Stewart, became King of Scots in 1372. There was
treacherous and sanguinary infighting within the Royal House in the early fifteenth
century, especially in the reign of James I, who was, as it happens, an important patron
of Anglo-Scottish arts, having married into the Chaucerian House of Lancaster.
Families of the House of Stewart fall into
one of two categories: The preroyal Stewarts, who branched off the main stem before the
Stewarts inherited the throne of the Scots; and the royal but illegitimate (at least
officially) descendants of the Stewart kings. Branches of the Stewarts, royal and
pre-royal, settled over wide areas of Scotland, especially in Galloway and Renfrewshire in
the Lowlands, but in various parts of the Highlands as well, The Highland Stewarts adopted
Gaelic ways, and lived with the traditional flux of lowland feudalism and highland
chanshiip, with important bonds of association being drawn up from time to time between
the various branches throughout the land. The Stewarts of Appin formed a clan, and
inherited the Lordship of Lorn from the MacDougals. There were other important branches in
Atholl, Moray, Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Balquhidder. Steuart and Stuart are simply
French-influenced forms, owing to the absence of "w" in that language: these
forms do not, broadly speaking, indicate a special line of descent.
The Tobins (Toibin-Norman-French "St.
Aubyn") take their name from the town of St. Aubyn in Brittany. They came to Ireland
in the wake of the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman invasion, and by 1200 were settled in
counties Tipperary and Kilkenny, spreading later into the neighboring counties of