Stewart, Walter (d.1617) (DNB00)

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STEWART or STUART, WALTER, first Lord Blantyre (d. 1617), was son of Sir John Stewart of Minto (d. 1583), provost of Glasgow, by his second wife, Margaret, second daughter of James Stewart of Cardonald. The family descended from Sir Thomas Stewart (d. 1500), third son of Sir Thomas Stewart of Dalswinton and Garlies, progenitor of the earls of Galloway, who received from his father the lands of Minto, Sinlaws, and Merbottle, Roxburghshire, on 2 Nov. 1476. The elder Sir Thomas's eldest son, Sir John Stewart of Minto, was killed at the battle of Flodden in 1513, and his second son, William Stewart (1479–1545) [q. v.], was bishop of Aberdeen.

Walter (the great-grandson of Sir John who fell at Flodden) was educated with the young king, James VI, under George Buchanan (Crawford, Officers of State, p. 393). He was designated prior of Blantyre in 1580, when he was nominated a gentleman of the bedchamber. On 28 Jan. 1580–1581 he, also as prior of Blantyre, subscribed the second confession of faith (Calderwood, History, iii. 501). On 14 Nov. 1582 he was sworn a member of the privy council and appointed keeper of the privy seal. On 29 July 1583 he received a grant of the lands of Calderhall (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1580–93, No. 589), and on 3 Nov. 1587 of the lands and barony of Glasgow (ib. No. 1406). On 28 May 1593 he was chosen an extraordinary lord of session; in January 1595–6 he was appointed one of the commissioners of the treasury, known as octavians; and on 6 March 1595–6 he was promoted to the office of lord high treasurer, when he resigned the privy seal. In the same year he went to the west of Scotland to superintend the preparations for an expedition against Cantyre and the isles. On 18 Jan. 1598–9 he received a charter of the barony of Blantyre, Wrightslands, and Cardonald. For interfering on behalf of Robert Bruce in regard to a pension which Bruce had from the abbacy of Arbroath—or rather for interfering to prevent injustice to Bruce—he so incurred the displeasure of the king that, although the lords asserted that he had acted quite legally, the king not only ordered him into ward in the castle of Edinburgh, but desired him to demit the office of treasurer. He refused to do so until the king paid what he owed him; but, after being sent a prisoner to Inverness, he finally demitted his office on 17 April (Calderwood, v. 733; Reg. P. C. Scotl. v. 549). After doing so he was, however, released, and on 11 March 1600 an act was passed recognising his long and faithful services (ib. vi. 92). In 1604 he was appointed one of the commissioners for the treaty of union between England and Scotland; and on 20 June 1605 he signed the letter commanding the Aberdeen assembly to dissolve (Calderwood, vi. 281). On 10 July 1606 he was created a peer by the title of Lord Blantyre, and the same year he was appointed one of four delegates to reason with the imprisoned ministers and bring them to submission (ib. p. 375). He was an assessor at the trial, 12 Aug. 1608, of George Sprott [q. v.], for concealment of the Gowrie conspiracy, and also an assessor at the trial of Lord Balmerino, 4 March 1609. He was reconstituted an extraordinary lord of session, 13 Jan. 1610, and on 15 Nov. of the same year he was appointed an assessor of the treasury. He died on 8 March 1617. By his wife, Nichola (d. 1614), daughter of Sir James Somerville of Cambusnethan, he had three sons: William (d. 1638), who succeeded him as second Lord Blantyre, and was grandfather of Alexander Stewart, the fifth lord [q. v.]; Sir James, who fought a duel with Sir George Wharton at Islington on 8 Nov. 1609, when both combatants were killed (see Gent. Mag. 1800, ii. 1019); Walter, a doctor of medicine and father of Frances Teresa Stewart (la belle Stuart) [see Stuart], and a daughter Anne, married to John, eighth lord Abernethy of Salton.

[Reg. P. C. Scotl.; Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1580–93 and 1593–1610; Calderwood's Hist. of Scotland; Crawfurd's Officers of State; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 213–14.]

T. F. H.