Who was he?

Young, eager but inexperienced, Walter Stewart was from one of the great families of Scotland. The Stewarts had the honour of being ‘stewards’ to the king – traditionally, one of the great offices of state.

At Bannockburn

A ‘beardless lad’ at the time of Bannockburn, Stewart lacked the experience to command his own division. Instead, he fought with Edward Bruce and his schiltron of spearmen from across Scotland.

Together, they saw off the English vanguard on 23 June. Stewart was one of those knighted on the morning of 24 June in a morale-boosting ritual. That day the schiltron forced back the disordered English cavalry and slayed the reckless Gloucester.

After Bannockburn

Stewart must have impressed Bruce at the battle. Two years later, he married Bruce’s only daughter, Marjorie and became son-in-law to the king.

Bruce’s son, David, died childless, so it was Walter Stewart’s son, Robert, who became king of Scotland. He was the first of the Stewart monarchs who would rule Scotland and the United Kingdom for over 300 years.