When James I of Scotland came of age, he curbed the power of his cousins, the Albany Stewarts. He beheaded Murdoch Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany, eldest son of the former regent Robert Stewart. Two of Murdoch's sons, Walter and Alexander (Alasdair), were both executed as well.
Main branches of the clan
As the Chief of the Stewarts was also the occupant of the throne, the relationship between the various branches or members of the family differed from the usual ties between clansmen and their Chief. The family did however have their own badge and tartan to distinguish them. Apart from the royal house of Stewart, the three main branches of the clan that settled in the Scottish Highlands during the 14th and 15th centuries were the Stewarts of Appin, Stewarts of Atholl and Stewarts of Balquhidder. Today the Earls of Galloway are considered the senior line of the Clan Stewart.
The Stewarts of Atholl are descended from a son of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, the "Wolf of Badenoch". James Stewart built a strong castle at Garth where he settled at the end of the 14th century. Queen Joanna, widow of James I of Scotland married the Black Knight of Lorne who was descended from the fourth High Steward. Their son was John Stewart of Balveny who was granted the Earldom of Atholl by his half-brother, James II of Scotland. He supported his brother, commanding the royal forces that opposed the rebellion by the Lord of the Isles. The fifth Stewart Earl of Atholl died with no male issue and his daughter married William Murray, second Earl of Tullibardine, who succeeded as Earl of Atholl. Many Stewarts continued to live in the Atholl area with many claiming descent from the Wolf of Badenoch. They were mainly transferred by allegiance to the Murray Earls of Atholl and were known as Athollmen. This is maintained today with the Atholl Highlanders, Europe's only legal private army. General David Stewart of Garth, an Athollman, was an officer in the Black Watch regiment and his book, Sketches of the Highlanders and Highland Regiments, popularized his homeland in Victorian England.
Stewarts of Balquhidder
Stewarts came to Balqhidder in about 1490, when William Stewart, grandson of the only son of the Duke of Albany to escape the persecution of James I, was appointed ballie of the crown lands of Balquhidder.
Stuarts of Bute
The chiefs of the Clan Stuart of Bute are descended from Sir John Stewart, illegitimate son of Robert Stewart who reigned as Robert II of Scotland by Moira Leitch (according to tradition).
Ardvorlich Castle, stronghold of the Stuarts of Balquhidder
Garth Castle, stronghold of the Clan Stewart.
Grandtully Castle, stronghold of the Clan Stewart.
Garlies Castle, stronghold of the Clan Stewart.
Castle Campbell, originally called Castle Gloom, it passed by right of marriage to the Campbells who changed the name to Castle Campbell by an Act of Parliament in 1489.
This section needs expansion with: the other Stewart/Stuart tartans. You can help by adding to it. (March 2020)
The usual tartan for the Stewarts or Stuarts is a red coloured pattern known as the Royal Stuart Tartan. According to historian Henry James Lee the effect of a large body of men crossing a hill in the red Stuart tartan, contrasting with the dark coloured heath has been described "as if the hill were on fire".
^Alexander, Derek; Neighbour, Tim; Oram, Richard D. (2000). "Glorious victory? The battle of Largs, 2 October 1263". History Scotland. 2. pp. 17-22.
^Young, Alan (1990). "Noble families and political factions in the reign of Alexander III". In Reid, Norman H. (ed.). Scotland in the Reign of Alexander III, 1249–1286. John Donald Publishers. p. 15. ISBN0 85976218 1.