James Stewart, Canon of Glasgow, illegitimate son of King Robert II of Scotland

Dear Newsgroup ~

The authoritative Scots Peerage 1 (1904) 15–17 (sub Kings of Scotland)
has a good account of the family of King Robert II of Scotland and his
legitimate issue by his two wives, Elizabeth Mure and Euphame of
Ross. King Robert II likewise had a large tribe of illegitimate
children by various mistress. His known illegitimate issue is listed
by Scots Peerage, Vol. 1, page 17. This list includes eight
illegitimate sons, among them Thomas Stewart, Archdeacon of St.
Andrews, Dean of Dunkeld. This list may be viewed at the following


A similar list of the illegitimate children of King Robert II of
Scotland is provided in Dunbar, Scottish Kings: A Revised Chronology
of Scottish History, 1005–1625 (1906): 169–170, which may be viewed at
the following weblink:


Thomas Stewart's place as an illegitimate son of King Robert II is
attested by many records, among them being:

1. Burns, Cal. of Papal Letters to Scotland of Clement VII of Avignon
1378–1394 (Scottish Hist. Soc. 4th ser. 12) (1976): 41 (papal
provision granted in 1380 to Thomas Stewart at the petition of “king
Robert, who is his natural father”).

2. Ibid., 62 (Thomas Stewart stated in papal letter dated 1381 as
“being born of king Robert [II], then only seneschal of Scotland, and
an unmarried woman.”).

3. Ibid., 148 (Thomas Stewart “said to be born of king Robert” in
papal letter dated 1389), 149, 161, 182.

4. McGurk, Cal. of Papal Letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of
Avignon 1394–1419 (Scottish Hist. Soc. 4th ser. 13) (1976): 108
(Thomas Stewart, canon of Glasgow, B.Dec. styled “natural brother of
Robert [III], king of Scots).

5. Ibid., 283 (Thomas Stewart, Archdeacon of St. Andrews styled
“natural brother of Robert Stewart, duke of Albany, governor of

6. Ibid., 306 (Thomas Stewart, clerk, St. Andrews diocese stated to be
“related in the second degree of consanguinity to James, king of
Scots, and kinsman of both Robert, duke of Albany, governor of
Scotland, and Alexander, earl of Mar, admiral of Scotland” in papal
letter dated 1414).

Besides the above records, there is yet another record relating to
Thomas Stewart's parentage in the book, Calendar of Entries in the
Papal Registers relating to Great Britiain and Ireland, Papal Letters,
Volume 4, edited by W.H. Bliss and J.A. Twemlow (1902), page 215.
This item may be viewed at the following weblink:


This item is dated 1375 and it identifies Thomas Stewart as "the
illegitimate son of a married man and an unmarried woman." The entry
further relates that a dispensation was granted to the said Thomas "at
the petition of Charles king of the French, who asserts Thomas is a
son of Robert king of Scotland."

Curiously, on the same date that Thomas Stewart was granted this
dispensation by the pope, the very same dispensation was granted to a
certain James Stewart. Like Thomas, James Stewart was then a scholar
of the diocese of Glasgow. And, like Thomas, he was evidently
dispensed because he was the illegitimate son of a married man and an
unmarried woman.

Although the 1375 dispensation has been in print since 1902, Scots
Peerage and Dunbar appear not to have realized that James Stewart,
scholar of Glasgow diocese, was yet another illegitimate son of King
Robert II. Proof of James Stewart's royal parentage, however, has
appeared in recent years in the book, Calendar of Papal Letters to
Scotland of Clement VII of Avignon, 1378-1394, edited by Charles
Burns, published 1976, pg. 41.

In that record dated 10 February 1380, the Pope provided a canonry of
Glasgow and the prebend of Stobow to Thomas Stewart, which post was
left vacant by the death of Thomas' "brother" James Stewart. The pope
made this provision at the request of King Robert II, who is named as
Thomas Stewart's "natural father."

Taking these two records together, that is, the 1375 dispensation and
the 1380 papal provision, it is clear that the brothers, Thomas
Stewart and James Stewart, both clerics, were both illegitimate sons
of King Robert II. Also, it is clear that James Stewart died shortly
before 10 February 1380.

James Stewart, brother of Thomas, should not be confused with another
of King Robert II's illegitimate sons also named James Stewart, who
was born of his mistress, Marion de Cardney. James Stewart, son of
Marion de Cardney, was living in 1383, when he was granted lands in
Kinfauns, Rate, etc.

Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah