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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STEWART, n. Also st(e)uart. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. steward. The form with -t is still common in Sc. and survives also as a surname, derived from the office. The High Stewardship of Scotland was hereditary in the family of Fitzalan, the seventh High Steward becoming, through his mother the Princess Marjorie, heir presumptive of Robert the Bruce and succeeding Robert's son David II in 1371 as the first of the royal House of Stewart.

Sc. usages: 1. As in Eng., the manager of a household or an estate, a land-steward, one who keeps order at a public meeting, etc.Sc. 1731 Trans. Cmb. & Wm. Antiq. Soc. LXI. 211:
The stuart, it seems, thought it was needless to sweep the chimnies but to let them take fire and clean themselves.
n.Sc. 1746 W. Fraser Chiefs of Grant (1883) II. 265:
John Grant, stewart of Urquhart. John Grant, Sir James Grant's stewart.
Rxb. 1769 Caled. Mercury (4 Dec.):
The proprietor's stewart at Park.
Fif. 1864 St Andrews Gaz. (27 Feb.):
Mr Kidd, Land-stewart.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb ix.:
To qualify him for a lan' stewart.
Ags. 1956 Forfar Dispatch (27 Sept.):
Ilka time ony actor-body stoppit tae draw a braith, she thraitened tae hunt oot a stewart.

2. (1) An official in whom jurisdiction was vested, before the Heritable Jurisdiction Act of 1747, by the Crown in a stewartry (see below). His duties were merged in those of the modern Sheriff, who retained the title Stewart in the county Stewartries of Orkney and Shetland and of Kirkcudbright until the 19th c. Hence stewart-clerk, the clerk of a stewartry court, stewart court, stewart-depute, the actual judge to whom the Stewart (-principal) deputed his duties (see 1733 quot.); stewart officer, a stewart's constable, stewart-substitute, = stewart-depute above, the Sheriff-substitute in Kcb.Ork. 1700 J. Wallace Descr. Ork. (1883) 242:
The Lords of the Treasury Roup it of new, and he that bids most is Taxman and Stewart for the Lease of years he takes it for.
Sc. 1705 Morison Decisions 2251:
The Stewart-court of Annandale.
Fif. 1710 R. Sibbald Hist. Fife (1803) 272:
The stewartry of Strathern, whereof James Earl of Perth is heritable Stewart.
Sc. 1727 Plan for Improving Fisheries 4:
The Sherriff and Stewart-Clerk of each Shire and Stewartry.
Sh. 1733 T. Gifford Hist. Descr. Zetland (1879) 40:
The earl of Morton, as heritable steuart and justiciar of Orkney and Zetland, appoints and commissions deputes there for administering of justice to the lieges, and punishing of malefactors, conform to the laws and practice of Scotland. The steuart deputes keeps, and holds courts as often as there is occasion for them. The steuart clerk has his commission from the earl as steuart principal; not but the steuart depute can employ his own clerk upon occasion, as he doth all other members of court needful; but the steuart clerk only should record all court processes, and give out extracts. The steuart depute is also obliged to hold circuit courts in each parish once a year.
Sc. 1747 Acts 20 Geo. II. c.43. § 29:
There shall be but one Sheriff Depute or Stewart Depute, in every County, Shire or Stewartry in Scotland.
Ork. 1762 B. H. Hossack Kirkwall (1900) 147:
The Stewart Depute having granted warrant to the Stewart and Baillie officers to apprehend and bring before him the said Patrick Fea and the other rioters.
Per. 1766 A. Nicol Poems 95:
Our sheriffs, stewarts of a' degrees.
Sc. 1773 J. Erskine Institute i. iv. § 10:
Steward, in a strict sense, signified a magistrate appointed by the King over special lands belonging to himself, having the same proper jurisdiction with that of a regality.
Kcb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 21:
The burgh of Kircudbright is the place expressly appointed by act of parliament, where the steward's courts are to be held. This court consists of a steward depute, who is the supreme judge, a steward clerk, and 7 solicitors.
Kcb. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (24 April) 4:
The pannel, being also carried before the Steward-substitute.
Sc. 1896 W. K. Morton Manual 17:
The Stewart had jurisdiction over Regality lands which had been forfeited to the Crown.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 236:
He summons't the laird for the price o' the horses, but he made naething o't, for the steward said he had nae writins on't.

Hence stewartry, †st(e)uartrie, the jurisdiction of a stewart, specif. over lands annexed by or forfeited to the Crown, abolished in 1747. There were several stewartries in Scotland (see quots.) of which two, that of Orkney and Shetland and that of Kirkcudbright, were co-terminous with counties and were officially so-called until the 20th c. Kirkcudbrightshire is still locally and officially called The Stewartry (of Kirkcudbright).Sc. 1707 Acts Parl. Scot. XI. 420:
The haill shyres and stewartries now represented in this parliament.
Dmf. 1721 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. (1933–5) 33:
Lochmaben being the headburgh of the stuartrie [of Annandale] and be constant law and custom the seat of the stewart.
Sc. 1730 W. Forbes Institutes II. 241:
The King's Sheriff in some of his proper Lands is called a Stewart, whose Power comes up to that of a Lord of Regality; and his Jurisdiction is termed a Stewartry.
Sc. 1746 Laing MSS. (Hist. MSS. Comm. 1925) II. 378:
The jurisdiction of the stewart in stewartry is much of the same with that of sherifs in sherifdoms.
Sc. 1764 Caled. Mercury (16 June) 289:
Lordship of Zetland, and stewartry of Orkney and Zetland.
Kcb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 36:
The parish is situated in the county or stewartry of Kirkcudbright.
Sc. a.1814 J. Ramsay Scot. and Scotsmen (1888) II. 187:
The stewartry of Monteith, and the adjacent parts of Stirling and Clackmannan shires.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet x.:
Neither land nor water beasts — neither English nor Scots — neither county nor stewartry, as we say.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 1:
To complete his fine Shire volume of “Galloway Gossip” by the addition of a volume dealing with the Stewartry.
Sc. 1936 Sources Sc. Law (Stair Soc.) 112:
When, as in the case of the Douglases, a lord of regality was guilty of treason his regality — forfeited to the Crown — became a Stewartry, the Steward acting as Judge and accounting to the sovereign for all fines and fees which he had received.
Gall. 1968 Dmf. and Gall. Standard (1 June) 1:
The work of the Stewartry Education Committee.
Kcb. 1995 Galloway News 30 Aug :
Mr Devlin and his supporters argued that Hornel, a successful artist and of the "Glasgow Boys" bequeathed his home and library to the people of the Stewartry.

(2) Applied occas. and loosely to the deputy of a Lord of Regality.Inv. 1732 A. Buchan St. Kilda in Misc. Scotica (1818) II. 31:
The Laird of Macleod lets this island [ St Kilda] to some cadet of his name and he is called the Steward of it.
Sc. 1773 J. Erskine Institute i. iv. § 7:
The lord of regality might appoint deputies called stewards or bailies, not only during pleasure or for life, but heritable.

(3) Shortened form of the formal title Lord High Steward of Scotland, the chief officer of the Royal Household in Scotland, administrator of the Crown Revenues, and commander, under the King, of the army in battle. When the Steward of Scotland succeeded to the throne as Robert II (see above), the title was transferred to the crown prince and is still, in the form Great Steward of Scotland, a title of the Prince of Wales. Hence Stewartry of Scotland.Sc. 1710 G. Crawfurd Hist. Stewart 6, 14:
Walter the First, commonly called Senescallus, who fix'd the Office of Stewart, as the Sirname of his Family. . . . By this Royal Match the Stewart of Scotland obtained in Portion with her [Marjory Bruce] many Lands.
Sc. 1738 J. Chamberlayne Pres. State Scot. 183:
Lord Steward of Scotland was also Lord Steward of the King's Houshold. The Prince is born Steward of Scotland.
Sc. 1872 C. Innes Legal Antiq. 74:
The Seneschal — seneschallus, dapifer — Steward — was perhaps the greatest of the officers of the Crown from the days of David I. to the time when the name of Steward was lost in royalty.
Sc. 1970 Gsw. Herald (12 May) 1:
The Prince of Wales's consent “in respect of the Principality and Stewartry of Scotland” was signified on the third reading of the Conveyancing and Feudal Reform (Scotland) Bill.

[O.Sc. stewart, a steward, a.1400, stewartry. 1476.]

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"Stewart n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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