The Stewarts and their adherents are intertwined in every aspect of Scottish history. Known as "The Protectors" even among living Scots, the name in one of its many versions is the most common surname in modem Scotland, evidence of the ubiquity of the Stewart lineage.
The Stewarts are not a clan in the usual sense (though there were Highland branches, principally the Stewarts of Appin), nor are they a family. The origin of the Stewart structure was Alan fitz Faald. the Celtic Breton, who came to Britain with or shortly after William the Conqueror. Two of his sons entered the service of David I of Scotland, and one of them, Walter fitz Alan, became Hereditary High Steward of Scotland. Thus, the family name originates in an occupation, like so many others.
At least eight variations of the name are known. One common spelling, Stuart, is incorrectly assumed to be "royal." More prosaically, it simply echoes the fact that many Stewarts were exiled to France during the struggles for succession to the throne with both the Tudors at the beginning of their dynasty on the British throne and with the Hanovers during the Jacobite rebellions at the end. These Stewarts adopted the French spelling and language during their exile. There is no "w" in the French or Gaelic alphabet.
At one time or another, Stewarts have held dukedoms, at least 17 earldoms, scores of other noble positions, and have been identified with more than 160 Scottish localities. Among the major branches that developed across the expanse of Scotland were Stuart of Bute and the Stewarts of Galloway, Appin and Atholl. The Stewarts of Appin were strong supporters of the Jacobite rebellion to the very end on the moors of Culloden. The Robert Stevenson novel Kidnapped is based on the true story of the Appin murder of Colin Roy Campbell, (The Red Fox), factor to King William, which was falsely blamed on James of the Glen, the chief of the Stewarts of Appin. Many families and towns affiliated with the Stewarts for fame, fortune, or protection. So many other tradesmen associated with the Stewart family that it is also known as the Clan of Tinkers and Kings.
For about 250 years after Walter became High Steward, the Stewarts multiplied and developed alliances for common prosperity and defense and married into the Bruce family. David II, son of the great Robert Bruce, died without direct heir in 1371. Robert Stewart, then David II's High Steward (and son of Bruce's daughter), became King Robert II of Scotland. With Robert II began the line of monarchs who reigned in Scotland and England for nearly 350 years.
From the official website of the British Monarchy
The Stewart dynasty descended from King Robert I's daughter and her husband, Walter the Steward. Despite early unrest and weak government caused by several Stewart kings succeeding as minors, the dynasty flourished for over three centuries.
During this time, Scotland moved forward to become a modern and prosperous nation. Stewart monarchs such as King James IV and VI were Renaissance patrons of artistic, scientific, commercial, religious and political endeavour, sponsoring figures including the poet Robert Henryson and humanist George Buchanan.
Also of significance was the arrival in the mid-sixteenth century of the Reformation movement, bringing about the replacement of Catholic Mary Queen of Scots by her son King James VI.
It was through the Stewart dynasty that the two thrones of England and Scotland - and later the governments - came to be united.
The 'Marriage of the Thistle and the Rose' took place at Stirling Castle in 1503 between King James IV and Princess Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England.
This union of the Scottish and English Royal families eventually led in 1603 to the succession of a Stewart (now with a change of spelling) to the throne of England.>
From its beginning at Grandfather Mountain Games in 1975 with ten foundling members, Clan Stewart Society in America is now one of the largest clan societies in North America. While there is no hereditary chief to whom the Stewarts offer allegiance, we maintain cordial and effective relations with the Stewart Society in Edinburgh, Scotland.
CSSA invites active participation of its members in achieving its purposes: