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Location: West Highland Peninsulas
gaelic culture

The amazing centenarian of Gobshealach

Born in 1793 at Swordale in Ardnamuchan, when Mary Stewart passed away in 1902, she was at 109 years of age the oldest woman in Scotland.

Her personality had a fascinating appeal for Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII. Very popular for her charity work and interest in people - this first ‘Queen of hearts’ used to send Mary gracious and sympathetic letters as well as sweets, packets of tea and a yearly birthday card. This was well before the practice of sending royal telegrams to centenarians which was initiated in 1917 by her son, King George V!

Mary was renowned in her locality as ‘a lady of uprightness, honesty, incorruptibility and morally correct behaviour’. She never married, rarely left her homeland and later in life moved in with her niece at Gobshealach near Kentra. Of medium height, exceedingly well built and strong, she enjoyed an excellent health and never needed the doctor. In her old age, she would rise daily of her own accord and with her faculties and senses unimpaired right till the end.

Her memory and eyesight were so keen she could still thread a needle right in her last few months of life! Gaelic was her only tongue and her mind was brimming with highland lore and stories. She had a vivid recollection of many historical events – including the wanderings of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in her part of the country, only a few decades before her birth!

More information on visiting the area can be found here.