Laird of Balquhidder; 2nd of Baldorran.
Sir William Stewart seems to be the one most responsible for restoring his family to prosperity. His grandfather fled the country as a fugitive of the Crown. His father was born illegitimately but was able to return to Scotland where he was given the lands of Baldorran. But it appears to be Sir William who significantly expanded the family holdings to include parts of Upper Strathgartney and eventually most of Balquhidder. We note that when William's brothers were established in their estates each was styled as "brother of William Stewart of Baldorran" rather than "son of James Stewart of Baldorran", suggesting that James was already dead and that William was the head of the family and likely responsible for establishing his younger brothers in their properties. We note, significantly, that it was Sir William's younger brothers and sons who established all of the major cadet branches of Balquhidder (later Ardvorlich), Glenbuckie, Gartnafuaran, and Garchell.
Sir William inherited Baldorran sometime prior to his marriage, ca. 1484, and acquired the property of Lettir in Strathgartney by his marriage to Janet BUCHANAN, daughter of Archibald Buchanan of Lettir of Strongartney. Sir William is mentioned in a charter dated 1 MAY 1484: "Charter by Archibald Buchannane, laird of lands of Lettir, to William Stewart and Janet Buchannane, his spouse, granter's daughter, and specified heirs of lands of Lettir in lordship of Strongartnay, sheriffdom of Perth." (GD112/1/18) (Strongartney is on Loch Katrine in Strathgartney and is shown as "Strone" in the lower left corner of the map below.) The charter is followed on 17 MAY 1484 by an instrument of sasine: "Instrument of sasine propriis manibus given by Walter Buchquhanan of Tomboy ("Tombuie"), bailie in that part, for Archibald Buchquhanane, his brother, infefting William Stewart of Baldorane and Jonet Buchquhanane, his spouse, in lands of Lettir, following on [the preceding] charter." (GD112/1/19) And on 4 JUL 1493, "Charter by William Stewart of Baldorane and of Letter to Jonet Stewart, daughter of granter and Jonet Buchquhannane, his spouse, and specified heirs, of lands of Le Letter, in lordship of Strogarthnaa in sheriffdom of Perth." (GD112/1/27)
Sir William Stewart was appointed Royal Baillie of the Crown lands of Balquhidder sometime between 1484-1488. William held the townships listed in the Exchequer Rolls of 1488 (listed below). In the Exchequer Rolls of 1502-1515 Sir William and his eldest son, Walter, are confirmed as Crown tenants in the Balquhidder lands and the lands of Estir and Westir Duchraa (these lands were also known as Innerquhawawane and Glenmaan) and Blarbaith. The location of these lands has not been accurately identified, but they are described as forming "part of Glenfinglas" (Ardvorlich MSS). It is believed that Glenmaan is the same as Glean nam Meann, which lands encompass the sheiling lands north of Glenfinglas and south of Glenbuckie. In the portioning of Balquhidder which took place during the sixteenth century, the descendants of Sir William Stewart of Baldorran gained hereditary tacks of land.
Sir William held the Crown rentals for the following lands in Balquhidder, Strathyre and Glenfinglas. According to The Settlements of Western Perthshire, these lands were all small baile settlements or farm communities. There was nothing in Balquhidder at the time that would be as large as what we would think of as even a village today.