T i m e l i n e
The 2nd Battle of Inverkip
Prior to the Battle of Bannockburn, King Robert the Bruce lays siege to the Ardgowan Castle before defeating the English at the Battle of Inverkip and taking the lands at Ardgowan for himself.
The Stewart Dynasty
Princess Marjorie (Bruce’s daughter) marries Walter, high Stewart of Scotland, founding the Stewart Dynasty.
The Feudal Barony of Ardgowan
King Robert III (Bruce’s great grandson) has an illegitimate son John Stewart bestowing upon him the feudal Barony of Ardgowan in 1404.
The Duchal Murder
James Stewart is murdered by Robert Boyd, Laird of Duchal (later 1sr Lord Lyle) for his royalist sympathies. His wife is imprisoned in Dumbarton Castle where she gives birth to a son, John who is later held as their ‘ward’.
The Battle of Flodden
John Stewart, grandson of James becomes, by a twist of fate, heir to the Duchal Estates but refuses to take the name Lyle. He is later killed alongside his friend King James IV on the field at Flodden.
The Free Barony of Ardgowan
Having been chosen by the council to head an expedition to Denmark to aid King Christian II in his Scandinavina Wars, James Stewart is ennobled with the Free Barony of Ardgowan.
The Inverkip Witch-hunts
As a Privy Councillor to King Charles I, Archibald Stewart, fondly known as ‘Gouty Toe’, is knighted for his support of the Crown following the introduction of the ‘Popish prayerbook’. He is later imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle before leading a Royal enquiry into the infamous Inverkip witch-hunts.
The Baronetcy of Nova Scotia
Following the Restoration of the Monarchy, ‘Gouty Toe’s’ son, Archibald Stewart the younger is ennobled with a hereditary Baronetcy for the family’s support of the Crown.
The Treacherous Laird
Archibald Stewart, the son of Sir Archibald the younger, fell under the spell of his treacherous neighbour, the Laird of Kelburn who duped him out of lands and money. Archibald fled to the highlands where he became mad and died
The Shaw inheritance
In 1738, Sir Michael Stewart, 3rd Baronet married the heiress Helenor Houston, niece of the tycoon Sir John Shaw of Greenock
The Construction of Ardgowan House
Following the death of his great uncle Sir John Stewart, 4th Baronet, took the name “Shaw” in tribute thereby creating the name “Shaw Stewart”. With the proceeds of his inheritance he employed James Ramsay to design the Park and Hugh Cairncross to build a new mansion house.
The Pursuit of Napoleon
In 1814, Michael (later 6th Baronet), the grandson of Sir John, embarked upon his grand tour – an adventure of a lifetime, which would see him cross Europe in pursuit of Napoleon. Having been jilted by his fiancée he married Eliza Farquhar, the direct descendant of Pocahontas.
The Construction of the Chapel
In 1854 Sir Michael, 7th Baronet employed Henderson to build the Ardgowan Chapel. He married Lady Octavia (nee Grosvenor) and together they made numerous improvements to the Park. Sir Michael’s sister Jane was a pioneering nurse in the Crimean War alongside Florence Nightingale.
The House as a Hospital
Prior to the War, Sir Hugh, 8th Baronet married Lady Alice (nee Thynne) and together they held literary and artistic salons in the house. During both WWI and WWII, the house became a target for German bombs as an auxiliary hospital and the family lived alongside and cared for the patients.
The World Wars
Sir Hugh’s nephew, Guy (later 9th Baronet) was wounded twice in WWI and awarded an MC for gallantry. Having left the army to run the Estate, he rejoined following the death of his first wife to fight on the Beaches of Dunkirk in WWII.
The Korean War
Sir Guy’s son Houston (later 11th Baronet) was the last man to be awarded an MC from George VI for gallantry in the Korean War aged 19.
The late Sir Houston’s son Sir Ludovic (12th Baronet) returns to Ardgowan to run the Estate with a view to opening up the house for weddings, conferences, dinners and functions.