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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Alan FitzWalter

Alan FitzWalter was born in 1126 in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. He was 78 years old when he died in 1204 at Kyle, East Ayrshire, Scotland.

 He was hereditary High Steward of Scotland and a crusader.
Alan was the eldest son of Walter Fitz Alan by his spouse Eschyna de Londoniis, of Molla & Huntlaw, and succeeded, upon his father's death in 1177, as High Steward of Scotland. (edit: eschyna was his father's wife, but it probably not alan's mother. mother unknown.)
Alan Fitz Walter accompanied Richard the Lionheart on the Third Crusade, from which he returned to Scotland in July 1191.
A Royal Grant to Kinloss Abbey, signed at Melrose Abbey was made between 1179 and 1183. Amongst the witnesses are the Abbot of Melrose, the Abbot of Newbottle, Richard de Morville, Constable of Scotland, Alan, son of Walter the Steward, and William de Lauder.
Alan Fitz Walter became a patron of the Knights Templar and is responsible for expanding Templar influence in Scotland.
He appears as a witness to other charters of William The Lion.
He was married twice, first to Eva, who is usually named as the daughter of Sweyn Thor'sson, although some historians dispute Eva's parentage. His second marriage was to Alesta, daughter of Morggán, Earl of Mar, by whom he had an issue:
Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland 
some sources list Margaret galloway as Walter's mother. galloway is related to William the conqueror and other royalty."

"... Walter Fitz Alan was succeeded by his son Alan, called Alan Fitz Walter. He died in 1204.
This same Alan, renouncing at a later period his claim to certain lands in Blenselei, in favour of Melrose Abbey, sealed his charter with a seal which indicates some progress in art as well as fashion. On the knight's shield the remains of a fesse cheque* are quite apparent, "and this," says Mr. Laing, "is perhaps the earliest instance of this well-known bearing of the Stuarts." The legend is :\emdash Sigill. Alani filii Waited.4 At his death, in 1204, this Alan was succeeded by his son Walter, called Walter Fitz Alan...."

"... In the month of December, in the same year, Roland, prince of Galloway, died at Northampton, in England, on the fourteenth day before the calends of January, being the third day of the week, and was buried there, in the abbey of Saint Andrew.
In the same year, Dunecan, son of Gilbert, the son of Fergus, carried off Evelina, the daughter of Alan Fitz-Walter, lord of Renfrew, before the return of William, king of Scotland, from England into his territories. The king, being greatly enraged at this, exacted from Alan Fitz-Walter twenty-four hostages, as pledges that he would keep the peace towards him and his territories, and that he would exact redress for that offense...."

"... What is a known fact, is that Lady Eschena from her first marriage, produced Alan Ruthven Fitzwalter, High steward of Scotland, Crusader and patron to the establishment of the Knights Templars in Scotland. The Royal House of Stuart, originates through Alan and his father Walter Fitz Alan. ..."

"The crusades were the West's belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world. While the Arabs were busy in the seventh through the tenth centuries winning an opulent and sophisticated empire, Europe was defending itself against outside invaders and then digging out from the mess they left behind. Only in the eleventh century were Europeans able to take much notice of the East. The event that led to the crusades was the Turkish conquest of most of Christian Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The Christian emperor in Constantinople, faced with the loss of half of his empire, appealed for help to the rude but energetic Europeans. He got it. More than he wanted, in fact. Pope Urban II called the First Crusade in 1095. Despite modem laments about medieval colonialism, the crusade's real purpose was to turn back Muslim conquests and restore formerly Christian lands to Christian control. The entire history of the crusades is one of Western reaction to Muslim advances. As it happened, the first Crusade was amazing, almost miraculously, successful. The crusaders marched hundreds of miles deep into enemy territory and recaptured not only the lost cities of Nicaea and Antioch, but in 1099 Jerusalem itself.

The Muslim response was a call for jihad, although internal divisions put that off for almost fifty years. With great leaders like Nured-Din and Saladin on the Muslim side and Richard the Lionheart and St. Louis IX on the Christian side, holy war was energetically waged in the Middle East for the next century and a half The warriors on both sides believed, and by the tenets of their respective religions were justified in believing, that they were doing God's work. History, though, was on the side of Islam. Muslim rulers were becoming more, not less powerful. Their jihads grew in strength and effectiveness until, in 1291, the last remnants of the crusaders in Palestine and Syria were wiped out forever.

But that was not the end of the crusades, nor of jihad. Islamic states like Mamluk Egypt continued to expand in size and power. It was the Ottoman Turks, though, that built the largest and most awesome state in Muslim history. At its peak in the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire encompassed all of North Africa, the Near East, Arabia, and Asia Minor and had plunged deep into Europe, claiming Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary, Croatia, and Serbia. Under Suleiman the Magnificent the Turks came within a hair's breadth of capturing Vienna, which would have left all of Germany at their mercy. At that point, crusades were no longer waged to rescue Jerusalem, but Europe itself. Christendom had been shrinking for centuries. The smart money was all on Islam as the wave of the future.

Of course, that is not how it turned out. But surprisingly the rise of the West was not the result of any military victory against Muslims. Indeed, the Ottoman Empire survived largely intact until the end of World War I. Instead, something completely new and totally unpredictable was happening in Europe. A new civilization, built on the old to be sure, was forming around ideas like individualism and capitalism. Europeans expanded on a global scale, leaving behind the Mediterranean world, seeking to understand and explore the entire planet. Great wealth in a commercial economy led to a fundamental change in almost every aspect of Western life, culminating in industrialization. The Enlightenment turned Western attention away from Heaven and toward the things of this world. Soon religion in the West became simply a matter of personal preference. Crusades became unthinkable - a foolishness of a civilization's childhood." 

Alan Fitzwalter 
Born Abt 1126 Paisley Abbey, Renfrewshire, Scotland  

Education: Between 1178 and 1204 Second High Steward of Scotland. Counselor of William the Lion (1143-1214), King of Scotland (1165-1214)  In 1191 He took part in the Third Crusade, led by King Richard I the Lion-Hearted of England.

He was my 28th great grandfather

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