Name: John Stewart
Suffix: 4th Earl of Atholl
Birth: in Atholl, Perthshire
Death: 24 APR 1579
Burial: St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh
Residence: Balvenie castle, Banffshire
Occupation: Chancellor of Scotland
Cause: Due to suspected poisoning
Religion: Roman Catholic
Change Date: 11 AUG 2010
G Grandson of 1st Earl.
The curtain wall that surrounds the courtyard castle of Balvenie was built by the Comyns, but the eastern side of the castle was completely remodelled in the 16th century by John Stewart, 4th earl of Atholl. He added a grand accommodation range that included a round tower on the east corner.
John Stewart, 4th Earl of Atholl succeeded his father in 1542. This John Stewart was one of the few Scottish nobles who remained a Roman Catholic and was thus a supporter of the government of Mary of Guise against the opposition forces of the Lords of the Congregation. In 1560 he was one of only three nobles who voted in the Scottish Parliament against the Reformation and the Confession of Faith. Naturally his religion became an advantage when the similarly Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots arrived from France in 1561 and together with the Earl of Lennox he became one of her leading supporters. However, after the murder of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley he abandoned the queen and joined with the Protestant Lords and supported her imprisonment at Lochleven Castle and subsequent abdication.
In 1578 he joined with the Colin Campbell, 6th Earl of Argyll and succeeded in driving James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton from the office of Regent of Scotland. James VI then dissolved the regency and on the 29th March 1578 appointed John Stewart as Lord Chancellor of Scotland.
John however died on the 25th April 1579 after being suddenly taken ill a few days earlier. There were strong suspicions of poison and that the culprit was the aforementioned Earl of Morton.
Father: John Stewart b: 6 OCT 1507
Mother: Grizel Rattray
Elizabeth Gordon b: ABT 1540 in Huntly
- Elizabeth Stewart b: ABT 1558 in Atholl, Perthshire
- John Stewart b: 22 MAY 1563 in Dunkeld
- Janet or Jean Stewart b: ABT 1557
- Anne Stewart