The Son of Scotangle: Sir John Steward


  • Michael Bennett University of Tasmania


In 1447 Sir John Steward made a will that is a memorial to an eventful life.1 Describing himself as the son of John Steward alias ‘Scotangle’, that is Scot-English, he requested burial in the mother church of Calais. He named his eldest son Thomas as his heir, bequeathing him his military equipment and a ship called Grace de Dieu given him by John, duke of Bedford, brother of Henry V and Regent of France.2 Other bequests included a gold goblet given him by Queen Catherine at her coronation and a diamond ring given him by Eleanor Cobham, duchess of Gloucester, while she was in his custody. He bequeathed his mansion at Swaffham, Norfolk, to a second son Robert, and silverware and jewelry to his daughter Magdalena. Steward assigned the tutela of his eldest son to Sir Thomas Kyriel and appointed him his executor. The will was proved on 3 September 1447. It survives in the registers of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, now held by the National Archives. A copy also appears in a manuscript miscellany compiled by Augustine Steward, a lawyer and antiquary in London, around 1570.3 The centrepiece of the manuscript is a Latin chronicle, tracing the history of his family from Banquo, through the high stewards of Scotland, ‘Scotangle’ and Sir John Steward, to the Stewards of his generation, most especially his branch of the family, based at Lakenheath, Suffolk. The manuscript also includes transcripts of some twenty-five old charters in Augustine’s possession in 1567.4