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27 May 2016, 08:55
A Stirlingshire-based businessman has been confirmed as a direct descendant of a medieval Scottish king following a new study.
A DNA sample provided by Archie Shaw Stewart confirmed that he was in the family line of King Robert III, who ruled Scotland from 1390 until his death in 1406.
Mr Shaw Stewart, who runs electronics firm Pan Controls based near Doune, had already conducted his own research, which showed that he was related to one of the king's sons, Sir John Stewart of Blackhall and Ardgowan.
His family line also includes Sir John's great-grandfather, Walter Stewart, one of Robert the Bruce's main commanders at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
In addition to uncovering Mr Shaw Stewart's family connection, the organisers of the study also revealed that he holds a distinctive 'genetic marker' which had not been found in Robert III's brothers. This leads to the potential discovery of future descendants who carry this marker and can be directly linked to the former Scottish king.
The study was carried out by the genealogical studies postgraduate programme based at the University of Strathclyde, alongside the Bannockburn Family History Project, which attempts to uncover connections between people living today and ancestors who fought in the battle.
Mr Shaw Stewart, who has been involved with Pan Controls for over 30 years, said: "My great uncle, Patrick Shaw Stewart, produced an extensive family tree over 100 years ago, extending back to Robert III. He would be very satisfied to see this part of it - Stewart - verified by new technology.''
Graham Holton, principal tutor at the Genealogical Studies Postgraduate Programme, said: "This is a fascinating discovery of a distinct marker for descendants of Robert III.
"The marker is not found in descendants of the king's brothers, showing that a mutation in the DNA occurred in either Robert III himself or one of his descendants.
"It is not yet known in which generation this took place but we are delighted to have been able to confirm Archie Shaw Stewart's place in medieval royal lineage, and acknowledge his contribution to furthering research into the branches of the Stewarts.''