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UK: Joan Stewart

UK: Joan Stewart Dalkeith (Scotland)

119 High St,
Dalkeith EH22 1AX,
United Kingdom


Joan Stewart, Countess of Morton, (c. 1428 – 22 June 1493), was the daughter of James I, King of Scotland, and the wife of James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton. She was known, in Latin, as the muta domina [mute lady] of Dalkeith.

Joan was reported to have used sign language to communicate, even in public (although it was considered at that time to be impolite).

The Earl and Countess of Morton were buried together in the choir of the parish church of St. Nicholas Buccleuch in Dalkeith, Scotland.

Known as the Morton Monument, their tombs are covered with their stone effigies, complete with their armorial bearings. This is believed to be the world's oldest image of a known deaf person. The choir is now in the ruins, leaving the tombs out in the open, where, in a few centuries, the elements have erased their faces.