Born: 1106 in Oswestry Castle, Oswestry, Shropshire, England
Died: 1177 in Melrose Abbey
Buried: 1177 in Paisley Priory, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Noble family FitzAlan family
Spouse(s) Eschina de Molle DeLondoniis
Married: 1126 in Paisley Abbey, Renfrewshire, England
Children: David FitzAlan, Margaret FitzWalter, Emma FitzAlan, Simon FitzAlan, William FitzAlan, Alan FitzWalter, 2nd. High Steward of Scotland
Father: Alan FitzFlaald
Mother: Avelina de Hesdin
Walter FitzAlan (born c.1110; died 1177) was a twelfth-century Scottish magnate and Steward of Scotland. He was a younger son of Alan Fitz Flaad and Avelina de Hesdin.
In about 1136, Walter entered into the service of David I, King of Scotland. He became the king’s dapifer or steward in about 1150, and served as such for three successive Scottish kings: David, Malcolm IV, and William I. In time, the stewardship became hereditarily-held by Walter’s descendants.
Walter started his career as a minor English baron. Upon arriving in Scotland, however, he received a substantial grant of lands from his Scottish sovereigns. These included the western provincial lordships of: Mearns, Strathgryfe, Renfrew and North Kyle. The caput of Walter’s holdings is uncertain, although there is reason to suspect it was either Dundonald Castle or Renfrew Castle. Walter was a benefactor of several religious houses, and was the founder of Paisley Priory.
There is reason to suspect that Walter took part in the Siege of Lisbon against the Moors in 1147. He probably assisted Malcolm in the series of Scottish invasions of Galloway in the 1160, which resulted in the downfall of Fergus, Lord of Galloway.
In fact, Walter and the other colonial lords settled in western Scotland were probably intended to protect the Scottish realm from external threats located in regions such as Galloway and the Isles. In 1164, Somairle mac Gilla Brigte, King of the Isles invaded Scotland and was defeated near Renfrew. It is possible that the commander of the local Scottish forces was Walter himself.
Walter was married to Eschina de Londres, an apparent member of the Londres/London family. There is reason to suspect that she was also matrilineally descended from a family native to southern Scotland. If correct, this could explain why Walter was granted the lands of Mow. Alternately, it is possible that Eschina’s rights to Mow merely stemmed from her marriage to Walter. Eschina and Walter were the parents of Alan, Walter’s successor. The couple may have also been the parents of a Christina, a woman who married into the Brus and Dunbar families. Walter was an ancestor of the Stewart family, from which descended the royal Stewart/Stuart dynasty. He died in 1177.
1 Ancestry and arrival in Scotland
2 Ecclesiastical actions
3 Eschina de Londres
5 The Isles
6 Death and successors
9.1 Primary sources
9.2 Secondary sources
10 External links
Ancestry and arrival in Scotland
Map of Western Europe
Locations relating to the life and times of Walter.
Walter was a member of the FitzAlan family. He was born in about 1110. Walter was a son of Alan FitzFlaald (died 1121×) and Avelina de Hesdin. Alan and Avelina had three sons: Jordan (fl. 1128–1130), William (died 1160), and Walter.
Walter’s father was a Breton knight who was granted lands in Shropshire by Henry I, King of England (died 1135). Previous to this, Alan had acted as steward to the bishops of Dol in Brittany. Walter was a minor English landholder. He held North Stoke, north of Arundel, by way of a grant from his brother, William. There is reason to suspect that Walter also held Manhood, south of Chichester. He also held land at “Conelon” or “Couten”, a place that possibly refers to Cound in Shropshire.
Walter appears to have arrived in Scotland in about 1136, during the reign of David I, King of Scotland (died 1153). Following Henry’s death in 1135, the Fitz Alans evidently sided with David in his support of the contested English royal claims of Henry’s daughter, Matilda (died 1167). Certainly, both William and Walter witnessed acts of Matilda in 1141. In any event, the date of Walter’s introduction into Scotland may be marked by the original part of the so-called “foundation charter” of Melrose Abbey, which records Walter as a witness.
David I, King of Scotland as he is depicted in a mid twelfth-century royal charter.
Walter served as David’s dapifer or senescallus (steward). He served in this capacity for three successive Scottish kings: David, Malcolm IV (died 1165), and William I (died 1214). Walter is increasingly attested by royal charters from about 1150, and it is possible that it was at about this time that David granted him the stewardship to be held heritably.
As the king’s steward, Walter would have been responsible for the day-to-day running of the king’s household. Whilst the chamberlain was responsible for the king’s sleeping compartments, the steward oversaw the king’s hall. It is possible that David sought to replace the Gaelic office of rannaire (“food-divider”) with that of the steward. This office certainly appears to have been a precursor to the stewardship. Walter’s ancestors were stewards to the Breton lords of Dol.
In fact, his elder brother, Jordan, inherited this stewardship from their father, and held this office at the time of Walter’s own establishment in Scotland. As such, it is probable that Walter possessed a degree of experience in the profession.