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The house of Stewart ruled Scotland in direct descent for over three centuries, and inherited the thrones of England and Ireland in 1603. The family was of Breton origin, holding the office of seneschal or steward of the counts of Dol and Dinan, but Walter was recruited by David I and appointed high steward in 1138. The title became heritable, and by 1300 the family had become one of the most powerful in the west Highlands. ‘Stewart’ gradually replaced ‘the Steward’ as a surname. The sixth high steward married the daughter of Robert I, so when the Bruce male line failed, the succession passed to their son as Robert II. Despite several periods of minority rule, rebellion, assassination (James I) and deposition (Mary), the dynasty proved more durable than its English counterparts, and ended only with the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688.

Subjects: British History.

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