The Descent from Edward III, King of England, to John Stewart, 6th of Glenbuckie


Compiled by Jared Linn Olar


30 June 2005




            In tracing the genealogies of the principal Stewart families of Balquhidder, one finds a large number of descents from medieval European royalty.  This essay will outline one of these Stewarts’ “better” royal descents – “better” in the sense that it provides a link to a more recent king than other royal descents of the Stewarts of Balquhidder.  Through intermarriage with the Campbells of Ardkinglas, the Stewarts of Glenbuckie acquired a descent from James II, King of Scots, who was killed in 1460, who was in turn a descendant of Edward III, King of England, and many other medieval European monarchs.

            On page 177 of Duncan Stewart’s 1739 genealogical history of the Stewarts, we read that Duncan Stewart, 5th of Glenbuckie, married twice:  first, to “______ Campbell of the family of Ardkinglass,” and second, to “Katherine MacGrigor, granddaughter of Douglas Keir-mac-Grigor, predecessor to Innerlocharg & Glengyle.”

            We then find listed six sons of Duncan Stewart, 5th of Glenbuckie: John, successor of Duncan; Walter; Duncan; Patrick; John Beg; and Alexander.  However, we are not told which wife was the mother of which sons.  In early June 2004, the Scots genealogical researcher Gordon A. Comrie MacGregor informed Ryk Brown that to the best of his knowledge, John Stewart, 6th of Glenbuckie, was the son of his father’s first marriage.  This is supported by the following considerations:


-         John was the heir of his father Duncan, meaning he was either the eldest son, or the eldest surviving son.

-         Duncan Stewart (1739) not only designated John as successor of his father, but lists John first in order, which support his being the eldest or eldest surviving son.  As an eldest son, the odds are that he was born of an earlier marriage rather than a later one.

-         Duncan Stewart also shows that John had a younger brother named John Beg, meaning “Little John” or “the younger John,” which distinguished him from his same-named older brother.  In Scottish naming tradition of that era, the rule was that a father could “reuse” a name if he had children by another wife or consort.  That is, if brothers share the same parents, they wouldn’t have the same name, but if they were half-brothers, they could both have the same name.  That indicates that John Beg, obviously younger than John the heir, was born of the second marriage.  Logically, that would mean John the heir was son of the first marriage, which means John the heir was son of the Campbell marriage, not the MacGregor marriage.


These considerations are subject to the criticism that John Beg could have been illegitimate.  However, he is never designated as an illegitimate son, so we must presume that he was legitimate.  In support of John Beg as well as his younger brother Alexander being born of the MacGregor marriage, we should consider that Katherine MacGregor, their presumed mother, was either a daughter or a niece of Alasdair (Alexander), son of Dougal Ciar, which means Alexander, youngest son of Duncan Stewart, 5th of Glenbuckie, could have been named after Dougal Ciar’s son.

            Gordon Comrie MacGregor and Kelsey Williams have shown that, going by chronological considerations, the first wife of Duncan Stewart, 5th of Glenbuckie, could only be a daughter of James Campbell, 6th of Ardkinglas, who married Elizabeth Campbell, daughter of John Campbell of Murthly.  Williams has further shown that the 6th laird of Ardkinglas was the son of Janet Graham, whose maternal grandfather was Alexander Stewart, Bishop of Moray, son of Alexander Stewart, 3rd Duke of Albany, son of King James II.  (Williams has provided much of the source citations, shown below, that support this line of descent.)

            Therefore, the line of descent from Edward III of the Dynasty of Plantagenet down to John Stewart, 6th of Glenbuckie, is as follows:



1.         EDWARD III, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Aquitaine, Earl of Chester, born 13 Nov. 1312 at Windsor Castle.  He married 24 Jan. 1327/8 at York to PHILIPPA DE HAINAUT, daughter of Guillaume, Count of Hainaut.  Edward III, who started the Hundred Years’ War in an attempt to make good his claim that he was the rightful King of France, died at Sheen Palace, Richmond, Surrey, on 21 June 1377, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.  The fourth son of Edward III and Philippa was:


2.         John of Lancaster (John of Gaunt), Earl of Richmond, Duke of Lancaster, Duke of Aquitaine, Knight of the Garter, born March 1340 at St. Bavon’s Abbey, Ghent (Gaunt), Flanders, and died testate at Leicester Castle on 3 or 4 Feb. 1398/9, and was buried at St. Paul’s Cathedral with his first wife. His third wife, whom he married at Lincoln Cathedral 13 Jan. 1395/6, was Katherine de Roet, widow of Sir High Swynford, younger daughter and co-heiress of Sir Pain de Roet, Guienne King of Arms, a Hainauter who was one of the knights of Queen Philippa’s household. Katherine at first was governess to John’s daughters, then became his mistress, bearing him children before their marriage, which was ratified and confirmed by Pope Boniface IX. Their children were given the surname Beaufort from John’s lost castle in Champagne that he had inherited through his first wife. Their three bastard sons were legitimated 9 Feb. 1396/7, but were barred from succession to the English throne. The eldest son of John and Katherine was:


3.         Sir John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, Marquess of Dorset, Knight of the Garter, born about 1370/1, died testate in the hospital of St. Catherine-by-the-Tower on 16 March 1409/10, buried in St. Michael’s chapel in Canterbury Cathedral.  He married before 28 Sept. 1397 to Margaret de Holand, daughter of Thomas de Holand, 2nd Earl of Kent.  Their elder daughter was:


4.         JOAN BEAUFORT, Queen of Scotland, died at Dunbar 15 July 1445, buried in the Charterhouse of Perth.  Her first husband, whom she married 2 or 13 Feb. 1423/4 at St. Mary Overy’s, Southwark, was JAMES I, King of Scots, who was born Dec. 1394 at Dunfermline, crowned 21 May 1424 at Scone, assassinated 21 Feb. 1436/7 at Perth, where he was buried in the Carthusian Church.  Her second husband, whom she married in 1439, was Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorne.  King James I was succeeded by his second, but oldest surviving, son:


5.         JAMES II, King of Scots, called “James of the Fiery Face” from a red birthmark on his cheek, born 16 Oct. 1430, killed at the siege of Roxburgh Castle on 3 Aug. 1460 by the accidental bursting of a cannon.  James married 3 July 1449 to MARIE OF GUELDRES, daughter of Arnold, Duke of Guelders.  Their second son was:


6.         Alexander Stewart, Earl of March, Lord of Annandale, 3rd Duke of Albany, born about 1454, killed 1485 by the splinter of a lance at a tournament in Paris between the Duke of Orleans and another knight, buried in the church of the Celestins in Paris.  He married Katherine Sinclair, daughter of William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness, 3rd Earl of Orkney.  However, the marriage was determined to be unlawful on the grounds of propinquity of blood, and was dissolved 2 March 1477/8.  The children of Katherine and Alexander were therefore ruled to be illegitimate, including the eldest son:


7.         Alexander Stewart, Bishop of Moray, who died 1537 and was buried in Scone.  With his own consent, Alexander was declared illegitimate by Act of Parliament 13 Nov. 1516.  He became a churchman: in 1504, he was Dean of Dunbar, and in 1516 he was Prior of Whithorn and Abbot of Inchaffray, and he afterwards became Abbot of Scone.  In 1527, he was consecrated Bishop of Moray.  However, like many Catholic prelates of that era, he was not faithful to his vow of celibacy.  By an unknown mistress or mistresses, Alexander had four children, including an illegitimate daughter named:


8.         Margaret Stewart, who died between 16 April 1548 and 15 June 1551, whose first husband was Patrick Graham, 1st. of Inchbrakie, who died in 1536.  Their daughter was:


9.         Janet Graham, died August 1575, married Dougal Campbell, dead by 21 May 1555, son of Sir John Campbell, 4th. of Ardkinglas.  Their son was:


10.       Sir James Campbell, 6th. of Ardkinglas, married Elizabeth Campbell, daughter of John Campbell, 2nd. of Murthly.  They had a daughter:


11.       (NN) Campbell, born say 1565, who was the first wife of Duncan Stewart, 5th. of Glenbuckie.  Their son and heir was:


12.       John Stewart, 6th. of Glenbuckie, who married Isobel Stewart, daughter of Alexander Stewart, 1st. of Ardvorlich.  They had issue. (See “The Blackhall Connection,” generations 9 and 10)





Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth-Century Colonists, David Faris, 1996, pp.15-17, 229-231. [For the lineage from Edward III to Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scotland.]


The Scots Peerage, Sir James Balfour Paul, vol. I, pp.18-20, 151-153, vol. II, p.182. [For the lineage from James I, King of Scots, to Margaret Stewart, wife of Patrick Graham.]


The Landed Families of Perthshire, Volume I:  The Earldom of Strathearn, Gordon A. Comrie MacGregor, 2003, pp.68, 427 [For the lineage from Sir James Campbell, 6th of Ardkinglas, to John Stewart, 6th of Glenbuckie.]


Strathendrick and its Inhabitants from Early Times, John Guthrie Smith, Glasgow, 1896, p.293. (For the lineage from Patrick Graham to Sir James Campbell, 6th of Ardkinglas.]


A Short Historical and Genealogical Account of the Royal Family of Scotland . . . to Which is Prefixed a Genealogical and Chronological Tree of the Royal Family and the Name of Stewart, Duncan Stewart, 1739, pp.174-175, 177. [For the last two generations of the lineage.]