Lindsay History

     L i n d s a y

Lindsay is a noble name and has proved to be quite illustrious, when only the facts are given that are backed up by Charter evidence. This evidence starts with Walter de Lindeseia, who sat as a member of Prince David's council in the Scottish borders (Cumbria) along with other Norman Knights in the early part of the 12th century. When this Prince became King of Scotland, he placed these Knights as Great Barons in the power structure. Walter was given Ercildoune (Earlston) first and later Luffness and Crawford.

Walter was followed by two Williams in the ordinary line of succession.

In the reign of William the Lion, 1165-1214, the greater part of the parish of Crawford was held by William de Lindsay in lordship of Swan, the son of Thor. William undertook for himself and his heirs to render the services required from these lands to the overlord and to the King. This is the first Lindsay found associated with the territory of Crawford. Mr. W. A. Lindsay of the Windsor Hearld writes in 1901, "It is not probable that Barons who took a leading part in the Government of Scotland lived regularly in a spot so remote and so inaccessible as Crawford." He also says that the Lindsays held the more important fief of Luffness and was described in Parliament as Baron of Luffness. To a Lindsay of antiquarian taste, Crawford would be of great interest, but there is not any outward and visable token of the scenes which imagination would seek to revive.

David Lindsay of Glenesk was, by solemn belting and investiture, created Earl of Crawford by his brother-in-law, Robert, III, on the 21st of April, 1398 in the Parliament held at Perth. This creation was accompanied by a regrant of the principal fief of Crawford "with a regality" and a herald called Lindsay was then created. Though the Lindsays were now situated in Glenesk, Crawford was their principal fief and remained so until the 5th Earl resigned the superiority of the various lands in the barony of Crawford.

Earl David, being trained in Angus, permanently fixed there the main dwelling place of his family, at the castle of Finhaven. The urban dwelling of the Crawford house was in Dundee. At this time the Lindsays possessed more than twenty great baronies and lordships, besides other lands of minor importance.

Land in those days gave to the holders little more than the bodily service of the vassals who tilled them, or rather, who lived on their natural produce. The Lindsays are, however, to be looked on in all respects as a powerful house, Sheriffs in their day of the shires of Forfar or Aberdeen.

Through the centuries, the Lindsays have been eminent in many fields of endeavor. David Lyndsay, Lord Lyon, King at Arms, was also a playwright and poet of the Reformation. His fame is rivaled by that of Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie, whose History of Scotland is one of the most valuable national documents. Lady Anne Lindsay, daughter of the 5th Earl of Balcarres, wrote "Auld Robin Gray", one of the finest and most favorite of Scottish ballads.

Rev. David Lindsay, minister of Leith, became Bishop of Ross in 1600. Patrick Lyndsay was Archbishop of Glascow. David Lindsay, Bishop of Edinburgh, crowned Charles I at Holyrood in 1633. James Bowman Lindsay, the Forfarshire weaver, electrician and philologist, patented a wireless system of telegraphy in 1854. Marconi credits him as being his true predecessor.

A Lindsay was one of ten people who signed the declaration of independence of Scotland, declaring themselves totally independent of England. They were allies of Robert the Bruce and fought in Bannockburn. They intermarried with the family of William Wallace and handed over some of their castles to help him in his great battle for independence.

The 20th Earl of Crawford raised the Black Watch regiment in 1739, which was originally called the Lindsay-Crawford Regiment. Today, they still stand guard over Edinburgh Castle. Later, this Earl commanded the Scot Grays. Robert Lindsay, cousin to the 26th Earl, was the first recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Lord Crawford, current chief of the family, is the 29th holder of the title and 40th feudal lord of Crawford. He is the premier Earl of Scotland. If precedence were determined by length of service in Parliament, he would also be the premier peer of the Empire, for his predecessors and he have sat in every Parliament, either Scottish or British, since 1147.
[The foregoing was taken from a much-researched website of the Lindsay Clan and the information approved by  Rt. Hon. Robert Alexander Lindsay, the 29th Earl of Crawford. He is the current Lord Lindsay sitting in the British Parliament.] 

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