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Stewart, Sir William

STEWART, SIR WILLIAM (c. 1540-^. 1605), Scottish politician, began life as a soldier in the Netherlands, where he became a colonel and entered into communications with Lord Burghley on the progress of affairs. In the year 1582 he was in Scotland, where James VI. made him captain of his guard. Having visited the English court in the king's interest in 1583, Stewart helped to free James from William Ruthven, earl of Gowrie, and to restore James Stewart, earl of Arran, to power; he was made a privy councillor and for a time assisted Arran to govern Scotland. In 1584 he captured Gowrie at Dundee. In 1585 he and Arran lost their power, and Stewart went to Denmark and France on secret errands for the king. He commanded the ships which conveyed James and his bride Anne from Denmark in 1590, and the same year was sent on an embassy to the German princes. Twice he went on missions to the Netherlands, and in 1594 he was knighted and was given lands at Houston. He died before 1606. His only son, Frederick (c. 1590-1625), who was created a peer as Lord Pittenweem in 1609, died childless in December 1623.

Sir William Stewart of Houston is often confused with Sir William Stewart of Monkton (d. 1588), a brother of James Stewart, earl of Arran, who was killed in a fight in Edinburgh in July 1588, and also with Sir William Stewart of Caverstoun.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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