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Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland


R, Page 102. Spelling of the Name of Stewart

There are four different spellings of this name; Stewart, Steuart, Stuart, and Steward. The ancient and original name, as spelt by the royal family, is Stewart, taken from the office of Lord High Steward of Scotland, which was hereditary in the family nearly two centuries before the succession of Robert II. to the throne. The original spelling of Stewart continued for several reigns after this succession, till the increased communication between France and Scotland induced so many noblemen, gentlemen, and soldiers, to enter the French army. James Stewart, Earl of Buchan, Constable of France, carried with him on one occasion 7000 men, as auxiliaries in the war with England. The Lords of Darnley and Aubigny were frequent visitors in France, and held extensive military commands and possessions there, and following the idiom of the French language, the W being unknown, several began to use the U, and spelt the name Stuard or Stuart. Mary Queen of Scots being educated in France, likewise adopted that mode of spelling, on her subsequent marriage with the Dauphin, and out of compliment to her husband's language; as did her brother the Earl of Murray, and the families of Traquair, Bute, Castlemilk, and several others, which from whim or accident changed their names. How much accident influenced this change of name is evident from the circumstance, that Lord Galloway retains the old spelling of Stewart, while Lord Blantyre and other families of the same descent, as Castlemilk, spell Stuart; Al-lanton, Steuart; Allanbank, a branch of Allanton, Stuart; Coltness, also a branch of Allanton, Stewart: and while Traquair is Stuart, Grandtully, of the same descent and family, is Stewart. The Earl of Murray, before his promotion to that title, when Prior of St Andrews, and previous to the return of Queen Mary from France, spelt his name Stewart, as we find by the following document, signed by him and the Earl of Argyle, and Ruthven Earl of Gowrie, authorizing the Lairds of Airntully and Kinvaid to destroy all images and relics of the Catholic religion in the Cathedral of Dunkeld.

"To our traist friends the Lairds of Airntully and Kinvaid.

"Traist friends, after most hearty commendation, we pray you fail not to pass incontinent to the Kirk of Dunkeilden, and tak doon the hail images thereof, and bring them forth to the kirk yaird and burn them openly. And sicklyke cast doon the alters and purge the kirk of all kind of idolatyry. And this ze fail not to do, as ze will do us singular impleasure, and so committeth you to the protection of God.

"From Edinburgh the xii of August 1560.
"James Stewart.
William Ruthven.

"Fail not, but ze tak guid heyd that neither the desks, windocks, nor duires, be any way hurt or broken, eyther glassin wark or iron wark."

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