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Sir William Stewart of Luthrie (c. 1510-1569)

Arms: Or a fess checky azure and argent within a bordure engrailed gules

SOURCE, NOTES & CREDITS: Source for blazon: “A Pride of Lyons”, Anthony Maxwell. Credit for the text goes to Mrs. C.G.W. Roads, LVO, FSA, Snawdoun Herald, Lyon Clerk, and Keeper of the Records at the Court of the Lord Lyon.

Sir William Stewart of Luthrie was born circa. 1515 or earlier, possibly around 1495 or 1500 and died we think on 22 August 1569. There is a note that in 1538 Maister William Stewart received 24 crowns to purchase what was probably a pursuivant’s tabard. He was Ross Herald by 1565 and in October 1567 he was given a mission by Regent Moray to go to Denmark in connection with seeking the return of Bothwell, a mission we know did not succeed, although we do not have the reasons for its lack of success.

The following year on 20 February 1567/8 he was appointed Lyon with the designation “of Luthrie”. He was a supporter of Queen Mary which, like others, cut his career short and after six months he was dismissed. The most usually accepted account, which is also contemporary, indicates he was arrested for being involved in a conspiracy with Patrick Hepburn, Parson of Kinnoul against the Regent Moray. Stewart escaped but was soon captured and transported from Edinburgh Castle to St Andrews in May 1569 and burnt at the stake on 16 August 1569. Clearly his death was a political death, on the trumped up charge of witchcraft and necromancy, rather than a religious one and he paid the penalty of conspiring against Regent Moray.

This is the only instance of a Lyon being executed or being burnt at the stake.

Sir William Stewart was preceded as Lord Lyon by Sir Robert Forman of Luthrie,1555-1567 and was succeeded by Sir David Lindsay of Rathillet, 1568-1591, appointed on the arrest of his predecessor by the Regent Moray.

The artwork is a rendering by John Hamilton Gaylor

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