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Atholl, Walter Stewart, earl of

Atholl, Walter Stewart, earl of [S] (c.1360–1437). Second son of Robert II's second marriage, to Euphemia Ross, and the only one of Robert's sons not to acquire an earldom in his father's lifetime. Lord of Brechin until 1402, Walter Stewart acquired the earldom of Caithness [S] in that year, and that of Atholl [S] and the lordship of Methven in 1404. His main territorial ambitions centred on the earldom of Strathearn [S], which he received in life-rent from his nephew James I in 1427.

Atholl was already an old man when his sons David and Alan predeceased him. Fears that James I was seeking to undermine his position in Perthshire led Atholl and his grandson Robert to organize a successful assassination plot. The king was murdered at the Perth Blackfriars (20 February 1437), but Atholl failed to win the ensuing struggle to control the young James II, and was beheaded for regicide on 26 March 1437.

Norman Macdougall

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