Recorded in the spellings of Stewart, Steuart, and Stuart, this famous royal Scottish surname is perhaps surprisingly, of pre 7th century Olde English origins. In ancient times it was widely used (in both England and Scotland) as an occupational name for a senior official. Derived from the word "stigweard", a compound of "stig" meaning house(hold), plus "weard", a guardian, it was the title used by an officer who controlled the domestic affairs of a royal or noble household. In Scotland after the 12th century it took on a meaning of even greater importance. The Scottish royal family surname of "Stuart or Stewart", the spellings have varied over the centuries, originated from holding the hereditary office of High Steward of Scotland over several centuries from about 1157. In so far that the family originally had a surname it was the French 'Dapifer', the family having come from Brittany! King Robert 11nd (1371 - 1392) was the first "Steward" to hold the crown of Scotland. The earliest recordings of the surname include Nicholas Staward of Somerset in 1273, and William le Fiz Stywarde of Berwick in 1296. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Rogere se Stiwerd. This was dated circa 1100, in the "Old English Byname Register". Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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