Skip to main content access modal is here

Our Heritage Timeline

SHEILA STEWART M.B.E. (1935 – 2014)

SHEILA STEWART M.B.E. (1935 – 2014)

Article Details

1935 Sheila Stewart


The Berry Toon

Folk Singers and Storytellers

The Travelling Community

The Scottish Folk Revival

SHEILA STEWART M.B.E. (1935 – 2014)


Sheila Stewart was born on 7 July 1935 in a stable in Blairgowrie. Her parents were Belle and Alex Stewart and so her roots were firmly in the travelling community.

Sheila was proud of her heritage and worked tirelessly to keep the old traditions alive. Her uncle Donald MacGregor taught her many of the family ballads, instilling in her the ‘conyach’ his word for the emotional expression in her singing.

Sheila became well known as a traditional ballad singer and storyteller and travelled widely in the United States of America singing and lecturing at many universities including Harvard and Princetown.

In 1982 Sheila sang for His Holiness the late Pope John Paul II at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow. During Gerald Ford’s Presidency, Sheila was invited to sing in Washington,DC, at the bi-centenial celebrations. She met the Queen and Prince Philip there and had tea at the White House with President Ford.

Recordings of Sheila were on a family album called ‘ The Stewarts of Blair’ (1965) and her own solo CD ‘From the Heart of Tradition’ was issued in 2000.

Sheila was the author of ‘Queen Amang the Heather’ (2006) a biography of her mother Belle Stewart; ‘Pilgrims of the Mist’ (2008) a collection of Travellers’ stories and ‘A Traveller’s Life’ (2011) her own autobiography.

In 2006 she was awarded an MBE and was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Sheila Stewart died in Blairgowrie on 9 December 2014 aged 79.

Previous Page
Back to top