Earls of Crawford (1398)


1st Earl of Crawford, David Lindsay, b.c.1360, a.1398, d.1407


The name Lindsay, being a contraction of “Lincoln’s Island”, occurs extensively in Normandy and England in the 11th Century. Sir Walter Lindsay accompanied King David I when he returned to Scotland from England in 1124, although we cannot be sure exactly where his immediate antecedents came from. His son or successor, Walter Lindsay of Ercildoune, obtained the lands of Crawford in Clydesdale and Luffness in East Lothian, and his descendants became almost hereditary in the position of Justiciar of Scotland. By the end of the 13th Century, there were Lindsays established all across Scotland, not all perhaps directly related, by which time they were making royal alliances. Sir Alexander Lindsay of Luffness (b.?, d.1307) was a loyal supporter of Robert Bruce and was given the lands of Crawford that had in the intervening years been lost when the principal branch of the family died out, and his son David Lindsay (b.?, d.1357) was a signatory to the Declaration of Arbroath. The chieftaincy passed to the descendants of his third son Sir Alexander Lindsay of Glenesk (b.b.1345, d.1381), who was Justiciar of Scotland in 1378. David Lindsay of Glenesk, 9th of Crawford, though his main powerbase was in Angus, was one of the most famous tournament knights of his time and won the celebrated London Bridge tourney in 1390. He married Elizabeth Stewart, daughter of Robert II of Scotland, and he held the office of Justiciar himself in 1389. He was made Lord High Admiral of Scotland in 1403 and served as an Ambassador to England on more than one occasion.


2nd Earl of Crawford, Alexander Lindsay, b.c.1387, a.1407, d.1438


Son of the 1st Earl and Princess Elizabeth Stewart (b.1356-1370, d.?), daughter of King Robert II. He also served as Ambassador to England on several occasions, not least of which to negotiate the ransom of King James I.


3rd Earl of Crawford, David Lindsay, b.b.1410, a.1438, d.1445-1446


Son of the 2nd Earl and Marjorie Dunbar (b.b.1394, d.1429) (she was possibly a daughter of George Dunbar, 10th Earl of Dunbar & March). In 1445, Alexander Lindsay, Master of Lindsay, was made Justiciar of Arbroath Abbey, but was soon replaced in this role by a senior member of the Clan Ogilvie. Incensed by the insult, the Master led his clan troops towards the abbey. In turn, the Ogilvies and various other north-eastern clans turned out in its defence. The earl, acting the peacemaker, rode out between the two armies, where his actions were mistaken and he was killed by a spear thrown from the Ogilvie ranks. In retaliation, the Lindsays descended on their opposition and destroyed the Ogilvie forces.


4th Earl of Crawford, Alexander Lindsay, b.b.1424, a.1445-1446, d.1453


Son of the 3rd Earl and Marjory Ogilvy (b.b.1391, d.1476). Hereditary Sheriff of Aberdeen, and famously known as the Tiger Earl, he married into the family of the earls of Dunbar & March that was hounded to extinction by James I. This turned him against the Stewart kings and he made bond with William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas and Alexander Ross, Lord of the Isles. This was too much of a threat to the throne, and the William Douglas was murdered at the hands of James II while under a letter of safe conduct. Crawford took part in the Douglas rebellion in 1452 and fought at the Battle of Brechin, where he was defeated by Alexander Gordon, 1st Earl of Huntly and declared forfeit, though he pleaded forgiveness and was restored shortly before his death.


5th Earl of Crawford, David Lindsay, b.1440, a.1453, d.1495


Son of the 5th Earl and Margaret Dunbar (b.b.1424, d.c.1499), a grand-daughter of George Dunbar, 9th Earl of Dunbar. A senior noble, he held many important positions, including Lord High Admiral of Scotland from 1476, Master of the Household from 1480 and Lord Great Chamberlain from 1483. He represented James III at the betrothal of the young Prince James, later James IV, to Princess Cecilia, daughter of King Edward IV of England and in 1488 he was created 1st Duke of Montrose, the first non-royal holder of a dukedom in Scotland. He continued his loyal support of James III during the rebellion of his son and fought for him at the Battle of Sauchieburn. When James IV acceded, Lindsay was deprived of the dukedom, which was later restored for life only. He exchanged with Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus the family estates of Crawford in Clydesdale for various estates in Angus.


6th Earl of Crawford, John Lindsay, b.b.1483, a.1495, d.1513


Son of the 5th Earl and Elizabeth Hamilton (b.1442-1443, d.a.1517), daughter of James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton. He died at Flodden.


7th Earl of Crawford, Alexander Lindsay, b.c.1443, a.1513, d.1517


Younger brother of the 5th Earl. He was made Chief Justiciar of the North under the regency of Queen Margaret and was with her when she led the 12 years old James V into Edinburgh to declare the regency of John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany to be over. Albany later retaliated harshly, depriving Lindsay of much of his estates.


8th Earl of Crawford, David Lindsay, b.b.1475, a.1517, d.1542


Son of the 7th Earl and Isobel Campbell (b.b.1460, d.?). His sons, Alexander Lindsay (b.b.1511, d.1542), Master of Crawford, and John Lindsay, were found guilty of attempting to murder their own father after having seized and imprisoned him. He had them condemned to death and forced them to renounce all rights to the earldom. He then, with the approval of the Crown, bestowed the succession on his distant cousin.


9th Earl of Crawford, David Lindsay, b.b.1513, a.1542, d.1558


Great-grandson of Walter Lindsay (b.b.1445, d.1476), a younger brother of the 4th Earl, and Isabel Livingstone, grandson of Sir David Lindsay (b.?, d.1528) and Katherine Fotheringham, and son of Walter Lindsay (b.?, d.1513) and an unknown Erskine. Having inherited the ancient Lindsay lands of Edzell and Glenesk, he succeeded the 8th Earl with the Crown’s approval and was made a Privy Counsellor. In 1546 he re-instated the son of his distant cousin, Alexander Lindsay, mentioned above, who had been deprived of the earldom, as the next earl, with a provision that if the male heirs of that man’s body failed that the earldom should return to his own heirs, which was indeed to take place centuries later.


10th Earl of Crawford, David Lindsay, b.c.1527, a.1558, d.1574


Grandson of the 8th Earl and Lady Elizabeth Hay, daughter of William Hay, 3rd Earl of Erroll, and son of the aforementioned neo-patricide Alexander Lindsay and Jean Sinclair (b.b.1511, d.?), daughter of Henry Sinclair, 3rd Lord St Clair. He tried to change his predecessor’s entail to limit descent to heirs-general of his body, but this was rejected by the Queen. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1565 and was cupbearer at the wedding banquet of Queen Mary and Darnley. He remained faithful to the Queen and fought for her at the Battle of Langside.


11th Earl of Crawford, David Lindsay, b.c.1557, a.1574, d.1607


Son of the 10th Earl and Margaret Bethune, or Beaton (b.c.1525, d.1583), daughter of Cardinal Beaton. A Privy Counsellor from 1575, he was one of the principal supporters of the young King after the events of the Raid of Ruthven in 1583, and received the estate of Scone and the church lands of Abernethy in reward. He threw his support behind James Stewart, 1st Earl of Arran, but had to reconcile with the returning Protestant lords after Arran was thrown out in 1586. having converted to Catholicism, hetook part in the rebellion of the Catholic earls Huntly and Erroll in 1589. He was captured and convicted of high treason but allowed safe passage to France, returning to Scotland in 1591 to continue his hereditary feud with the Lyons of Glamis.


12th Earl of Crawford, David Lindsay, b.1575-1576, a.1607, d.1620


Son of the 11th Earl and Lilias Drummond (b.1553, d.1636), daughter of David Drummond, 2nd Lord Drummond (for whom see the earls of Perth). He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1608. He was known as a troublemaker and was involved in numerous family squabbles, which eventually resulted in several deaths, including that of his uncle, Alexander Lindsay, 1st Lord Spynie (see that page for a more substantial account). He was later imprisoned by his own family in a bid to stop him running down the estates. He had one daughter but no sons.


13th Earl of Crawford, Henry Lindsay, b.a.1557, a.1620, d.1623


Younger brother of the 11th Earl. Three of his sons became earl in turn.


14th Earl of Crawford, George Lindsay, b.b.1599, a.1623, d.1633


Son of the 13th Earl and Helen Chisholm. He also only had one daughter.


15th Earl of Crawford, Alexander Lindsay, b.a.1599, a.1633, d.1639


Son of the 13th Earl and Elizabeth Shaw (b.b.1589, d.?), and so half-brother to the previous earl. He died unmarried.


16th Earl of Crawford, Ludovic Lindsay, b.a.1600, a.1639, d.1652


Younger brother of the 15th Earl. He served as an officer in the Spanish Army. Returning in Scotland, he became heavily involved, with James Graham, 5th Earl of Montrose, in “The Incident” of 1641, a Royalist plot to kidnap a group of Scottish nobles and Covenanters, including the earls of Hamilton, Argyll and Lanark. When the plot was uncovered, he was imprisoned. In 1642 he resigned the earldom to King Charles I and obtained a re-grant, with amended rules of succession, as he had no children, to favour a distant branch of the Lindsay family, the Lindsays of the Byres, who at that time were headed by John Lindsay, 1st Earl of Lindsay. He joined Charles in England, and took part in several of the major engagements of the English Civil War, including Edgehill and Newbury. After the Battle of Marston Moor, the Scottish Parliament declared him forfeit, but it was not until his death that the earldom was handed to John Lindsay, even though by ancient rights it should have passed back to the descendants of the 9th Earl. He was taken prisoner at the Siege of Newcastle in 1644 and condemned to death, but was released the following year and spent his remaining days in exile on the Continent.


17th Earl of Crawford, John Lindsay, b.c.1611, a.1644, d.1678


With no heirs in the immediate family, the earldom was handed to John Lindsay, 1st Earl of Lindsay, from a line descending from Sir William Lindsay of Abercorn and the Byres, a younger brother of the 1st Earl of Crawford’s father, whose grandson John Lindsay was raised to the peerage as 1st Lord Lindsay of the Byres in 1445. The earldoms of Crawford and Lindsay continued to be united until the 22nd Earl of Crawford died unmarried in January 1808. The Lindsay earldom and related titles passed to a descendant of the 4th Lord Lindsay of the Byres and the Crawford title remained in abeyance until 1848.


18th Earl of Crawford, William Lindsay, b.1644, a.1678, d.1698


Son of the 17th Earl and Lady Margaret Hamilton, daughter of Sir James Hamilton, 2nd Marquess of Hamilton. He was President of the Council in Scotland from 1689 to 1693 and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1690.


19th Earl of Crawford, John Lindsay, b.c.1672, a.1698, d.1713-1714


Son of the 18th Earl and Lady Mary Johnstone (b.1651-1652, d.1681), daughter of James Johnstone, 1st Earl of Annandale and Hartfell. He was made a Privy Counsellor  in 1702, and reached the rank of Brigadier-General 1703. He was Colonel of the 2nd Horse Troop, Grenadier Guards, from 1704 to 1714. He reached the rank of Major-General in 1707 and Lieutenant-General in 1710, and was a Representative Peer from 1707 to 1710.


20th Earl of Crawford, John Lindsay, b.1702, a.1713-1714, d.1749


Son of the 19th Earl and Emilia Stuart (b.?, d.1711), daughter of James Stuart, Lord Doune. He was a Representative Peer from 1732 to 1749, and he held the office of Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales in 1733. He was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1732 and was Grandmaster of the Freemasons in Scotland from 1734 to 1735. He fought extensively in various campaigns across Europe of the time, but returned in 1739, injured, as Colonel of the Black Watch, before moving to the Grenadier Guards. He fought at Dettingen in 1743 and Fontenoy in 1745, and also against the Jacobite uprising. In 1747, he was reached the rank of Lieutenant-General and installed as Colonel of the Scots Greys. He had no children and the succession fell to the descendant of the 18th Earl’s younger brother.



Viscounts Garnock (1703)


1st Viscount Garnock, John Lindsay, b.1669, a.1703, d.1709


Son of Patrick Crawford (born Lindsay) (b.1646, d.1681), younger brother of the 18th Earl of Crawford, and Margaret Crawfurd (b.?, d.1680), daughter of Sir John Crawfurd, 1st Baronet Crawfurd of Kilbirnie. He was an MP for Ayrshire from 1693 to 1703, and was raised to the peerage as 1st Viscount Garnock and 1st Lord Kilbirnie & Drumry, these titles replacing slightly earlier ones of 1st Viscount of Mount Crawford and 1st Lord Kilbirnie, Kingsburn & Drumry.


2nd Viscount Garnock, Patrick Lindsay-Crawford, b.1697, a.1709, d.1735


Son of the 1st Viscount and Margaret Stuart  (b.?, d.1738), daughter of Sir James Stuart, 1st Earl of Bute.


3rd Viscount Garnock, John Lindsay, b.c.1722, a.1735, d.1738


Son of the 2nd Viscount and Margaret Home.


4th Viscount Garnock, George Lindsay-Crawford, b.1729, a.1738, d.1781


Younger brother of the 3rd Viscount. In 1749 he succeeded as 21st Earl of Crawford.



Earls of Crawford (1398, continued)


21st Earl of Crawford, George Lindsay-Crawford, b.1729, a.1749, d.1781


He reached the rank of Lieutenant in the Army.


22nd Earl of Crawford, George Lindsay-Crawford, b.1758, a.1781, d.1808


Son of the 21st Earl and Jean Hamilton (b.c.1735, d.1809). He was Colonel of the 2nd Battalion, 71st Foot in 1782 and of the 63rd Foot from 1689 to 1808, and reached the rank of Major-General in 1805. He was Lord-Lieutenant of Fifeshire from 1794 to 1808. On his death, the principal male line of the Lindsays of the Byres became extinct, and the Crawford succession reverted to the heir-male of the 9th Earl as per the 1642 agreement. The titles pertaining to Viscount Garnock passed to the next Earl of Lindsay.


23rd Earl of Crawford, Alexander Lindsay, b.1752, a.1808, d.1825


In 1843, James Lindsay, 7th Earl of Balcarres, put forward his claim to the Earldom of Crawford in respect of his father as the heir-male of the 9th Earl of Crawford, being a descendant of that man’s younger son. This was upheld by the House of Lords in 1848. Alexander Lindsay, the 6th Earl of Balcarres, was then considered posthumously to have succeeded to the Crawford title although he did not claim it during his lifetime.


24th Earl of Crawford, James Lindsay, b.1783, a.1825, d.1869


Son of the 23rd Earl and Elizabeth Dalrymple (b.1759, d.1816). He was a Tory MP for Wigan from 1820 to 1825 before succeeding his father as 7th Earl of Balcarres, and was de facto 24th Earl of Crawford from 1825 though he only obtained recognition for this in 1848, since when the earldoms of Crawford and of Balcarres have been united. In 1826 he was created 1st Baron Wigan of Haigh Hall in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.


25th Earl of Crawford, Alexander William Crawford Lindsay, b.1812, a.1869, d.1880


Son of the 24th Earl and Maria Margaret Francis Pennington (b.1783, d.1850), daughter of Sir John Pennington, 1st Baron Muncaster. Educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, he travelled extensively, studying art and amassing a substantial collection, and published books on the History of Art. He also built up a substantial private collection of books, containing many rare examples, most of which were housed at Haigh Hall.


26th Earl of Crawford, James Ludovic Lindsay, b.1847, a.1850, d.1913


Son of the 25th Earl and Margaret Lindsay (b.1824, d.1909), a descendant of James Lindsay, 5th Earl of Balcarres. Educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, he reached the rank of Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards. He also served as Tory MP for Wigan between 1874 and 1880. He was a keen astronomer and built a private observatory at Dun Echt in Aberdeenshire, also leading expeditions to make astronomical observations. His donations allowed the opening of the new Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1878 and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1885, and was a Trustee of the British Museum in 1885. He was invested as a Knight of the Thistle in 1891, and also as a Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.


27th Earl of Crawford, David Alexander Edward Lindsay, b.1871, a.1913, d.1940


Son of the 26th Earl and Emily Florence Bootle-Wilbraham (b.1848, d.1934), a grand-daughter of Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Baron Skelmersdale. Educated at Eton and Magdalen College Oxford, he was MP for Lancashire Chorley from 1895 to 1913 and was latterly Chief Whip in the House of Commons. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1916 and was Lord Privy Seal between 1916 and 1919 and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1919 to 1921 in the administration of David Lloyd George. He was awarded various honorary degrees from the Universities of Manchester, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Liverpool and was invested as  a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries 1900 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1924, and was made a Knight of the Thistle in 1921.


28th Earl of Crawford, David Alexander Robert Lindsay, b.1900, a.1940, d.1975


Son of the 27th Earl and Constance Lilian Perry (b.?, d.1947), daughter of Sir Henry Carstairs Pelly, 3rd Baronet Pelly of Upton. Educated at Eton and Magdalen College Oxford, he was Unionist MP for Lonsdale from 1924 to 1940, holding various ministerial positions in government, and was awarded honorary degrees from six different institutions. He was also a trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1932 to 1937, the National Gallery for extensive periods from 1935 to 1960 and of the British Museum from 1940 to 1973. He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in 1951 for services to Art and a Knight of the Thistle in 1955, and was Rector of St Andrews University from 1952 to 1955.


29th Earl of Crawford, Robert Alexander Lindsay, b.1927, a.1975


Son of the 28th Earl and Mary Katherine Cavendish (b.1903, d.1994). Educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, he served in the Grenadier Guards from 1945 to 1949 and was later Conservative MP for Hertford from 1955 to 1974, and minister of state in various government departments. In 1974 he was made a life peer as Baron Balneil of Pitcorthie, in the County of Fife. He served as Chairman of various bodies, including the National Library of Scotland from 1990 to 2000. He was made a Knight of the Thistle in 1996 and a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in 2002. He served as Lord Chamberlain to HM Queen Mother between 1992 and 2002. Following the House of Lords Act of 1999, when most hereditary peers were removed, he was able to remain due to his life peerage. As well as being the 29th Earl of Crawford, he is also 12th Earl of Balcarres, 13th Lord Lindsay of Balcarres, 12th Lord Lindsay & Balneil, and 6th Baron Wigan of Haigh Hall. He is also Chief of Clan Lindsay.



The courtesy title of the heir is Lord Balneil.


(Last updated: 24/08/2011)


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