Sunday, June 3, 2007
Clan Crawford history
The early history of Clan Crawford is diverse and complicated. And like so many other Clan histories, competing theories of Crawford history are difficult to decipher looking back 900 years through 30 generations. However, by employing all we know about the secular and religious history of the period and using certain physical and biological rules [eg. a person can't be in 2 places at the same time, people 15- and 50+ years typically are not prolific reproducers, and nobody lived over 100 years] we can sort out competing theories.
One anecdote that keeps returning "like a bad burrito" is the claim that the Crawfords derive from Alan, the 4th Earl of Richmond. This version was widely distributed in Burke's General Armory, a series of editions published between 1842 and 1884. The registration of the Arms of Colonel Robert Crawford of Newfield in the mid-1800's states the basis of the connection being "presumptive evidence" in reference to the similarity of Arms between the House of Crawford (gules, a fess ermine) and the Earls of Richmond (gules, a bend ermine). There are several problems with this formulation. First, the first styling of the unofficial "Earls of Richmond" did not come about until 1136, well after the establishment of the House of Crawford absolutely no later than 1127 (stag incident and first use of the surname). Second, Arms designs of England (Richmond) and Scotland (Crawford) were independent with no prohibition against similarity as registrations didn't begin until a few centuries later. Third, aside from Alan technically being the 1st Earl of Richmond (although he could be justified as the 4th), Alan wasn't born until 1116. The claim is that his younger son, Reginald, is the father of John and Gregan who saved King David from the stag. Therefore, Alan was the 11 year old grandfather of the valorous Gregan of 1127, conclusively debunking the anecdote.
Regional and local maps are linked throughout the text. But for an overview of the geography, this super-map of Southern Scotland is provided with arrows pointing to Crawford sites with a supplementary legend identifying the sites. Also, this site for Old Maps shows some of the old Crawford estates in the mid-1800's, but requires a knowledge of exactly where the site is located relative to surrounding landmarks. This limited 1600's Map Collection has some wonderful old maps of Crawford estates.
While information exists on more primative events, the Crawford legacy as a Scottish Clan begins with a Danish Chief, Thorlongus (Thor the tall), who fled the Norman invaders in 1066 and was later granted the area around Ednam (Berwickshire) in Scottish King Malcolm's effort to strengthen his borders against the Norman invaders. Doubtless this advice came from his new Queen and second wife, Margaret (sister of Harold's uncrowned successor, Edgar Atheling). Thor was the first layman (non-royal and non-monk) to construct a church inside the borders of Scotland with his own resources. The Merse, the locale from which Thor is best known, is the area west of Berwick and north of the River Tweed. But he is also known in documents as the Overlord of Crawford.
Barony of Crawford - Crawford of that Ilk
We surmise from Thor being known as the Overlord of Crawford and from the results of a later division of the Barony in 1248 that Galfridus Swaneson was possibly the first Lord of the Barony of Crawford located in Lanarkshire. Of course, Swane Thorson could have been the first Lord, but there is no way for us to know for certain. Galfridus Swaneson's grandson is known as Dominus Galfridus de Crawford in the records of donations in 1179 to Kelso Abby.
The primary surname branch terminated with the death of John Crawford in 1248 (1246), known as "Dominus de eodem miles" or "Lord of Knightly Purpose" in numerous donation documents. The Lordship of half of the Barony of Crawford and the original old Crawford Castle passed from the Crawford Family to the Lindsay Family through the earlier marriage (1215) of John's daughter to David Lindsay. A few Lindsays unofficially lay claim to the entire Crawford family based on this marriage. It is important to note that even at this time there was no Lyon Court to establish recognized clans and therefore allegiance to the Lindsay's could not have been established.
But it is Galfridus Swaneson's secondary branch from Crawfordjohn Parish that carried the surname and the Chief's Arms in the time since 1248. It isn't until after David Lindsay took control of the Barony in 1248 we learn that John Crawfurd still had claim to a portion of the Barony, Crawfurdjohn Parish. This is the primary evidence that 4 generations before John Crawfurd and David Lindsay the Barony was divided between Galfridus Swaneson's sons, Hugh and Reginald.
Before the family grew and dispersed, the proto-branch from Crawfordjohn was known as Filius Reginaldi. Two of Reginald's sons, Johannes (John) and Gregan, were knighted in 1127. It is the tradition in Crawfordjohn Parish that this John is the origin of the Parish name. According to Burke's Peerage, great-grandson John, the stepson of Baldwin de Biggar, assumed possession of the parish circa 1153. This branch of the family, sometimes referred to by their individual estate or cadet names, is collectively known as the Crawfordjohn Branch. This is now the senior branch and will be discussed later.
For his part in saving the life of the King David I in 1127, Sir Gregan was granted lands in Nithsdale, Ayrshire, where he was known as the "Lord of Tarengen" and became the progenitor of the Dalmagregan (Chief Gregan) Branch. Identified with this branch are the following estates: (1) Daleglis (Dalleagles, a farm 3 miles southwest of New Cumnock), (2) Drongan, (3) Drumsoy (Drumsey, Drumsuie, Drumsay, but not Drumry), (4) Liffnorris (Lochnoris or Leifnoreis) (5) Torringzean Castle (Terringzean or Terangen), (5) Balquhanny, (6) Auchincross and several others. The relationships between these cadets are difficult to decipher because the land records are not complete and do not state the relationship.
The intermarriage of lines sometimes complicates our understanding. For example, the Kerse Cadet and its offshoot at Camlarg are descended from the Crawfordjohn Branch. They lived in South Ayrshire and intermarried with the Dalmagregan Branch. In later years, the Dalmagregan Branch even married back into the Crawfordjohn Branch. A prime example of the intertwined relationships is revealed in the following diagram.
Terangen and Liffnoris
Gregan was known as "Lord Dalmachregan of Crawfordton in Nithsdale" after 1127. But how he acquired the title "Baron of Terangen" is not yet known. Terringzean Castle (pronounced "Tringan"), located about 1 mile west of Cumnock, as first noted in tax payments in 1438. While it is now in ruin, it was observed during excavations in the 1890's to have tower walls 10 feet thick and surrounded by a moat and steep embankments. Apparently the land around the Castle passed out of Crawfurd control because the Crawfords assumed control of the Castle after 1468 from the Boyds and resigned control to father-in-law Matthew Campbell of Loudon in 1563 via marriage. Adjacent to Terringzean Castle, the Liffnoris Estate had been occupied since the 1200's. Liffnorris has always been identified separate from Terangen. Liffnoris is now known as Dumfries House. The Craufurds relinquished the lands of Liffnorris about 1630-35.
Drongan and Drumsoy
Drongan is located seven miles east of Ayr. The reference to Cathcarts Crawfords directly east of Ayr in this chartered land map dated between 1500-1700 refers to this estate. The map also shows the adjacent Kerse Crawfords.
Drongan Castle was a stronghold of the Crawfurds from before 1400, when the first records appear, until 1623 when the Liffnorris Estate assumed control, demonstrating a connection between the two. The castle remains are found on the Drongan Mains Farm.
It is generally observed that the Drongan Estate is older than the adjacent Drumsuie Estate. Before about 1700 Patrick of the Drumsoy (Drumsuie) Cadet married back into the Chief's line of the Crawfordjohn Branch to become Clan Chief in Auchinames, unifying these 2 major branches in the figure of the Clan Chief. The remains of the Drumsuie Castle are found on the Wee Drumsuie farm on the southwestern edge of town.
The Crawfords occupied Dalleagles in the 1200's. The Crawfords sold the lands of Dalleagles in 1756 with heirs and descendants having moved to nearby Ayrshire towns.
Kerse Castle and Camlarg Cadet
While Kerse Castle is in the Registry of Scottish Castles, it no longer stands. Little is written about how the Crawfords came into possession of Kerse Castle. There are several stories of the feuds this cadet of the Crawfords had with one of the Kennedy families. The Camlarg Cadet is connected to the Kerse Castle Cadet through estate documents and is supported by heraldry analysis. The Camlarg Cadet (1 mile northeast of the village of Dalmellington, including the Pennyvenie coal mine), descended from Duncan Crawford, son of David Crawford of Kerse, the latter granting his Dalmellington property in 1585 to his brother, William, with reversion to back to Duncan.
Nevertheless, the trail of charters, grants, and wills between these Dalmagregan cadets is substantial with the exception of Balquhanny, about which very little is known. The common feud with the Kennedys, is supposedly based on the connection to the Campbells of Loudon. It was the Campbells and Kennedys that had an axe to grind. On the other hand, one must ask why the Dalmagregans had any dispute at all with the Kennedys based on the second cousin relationship at closest to the Campbells. The Campbells are descended from the Crawfords of Loudon.
Ayrshire ArmsTop left: Arms of Ayr Royal BurghTop right: Arms of Carrick DistrictBottom left: Arms of Cunningham DistrictBottom right: Arms of Kyle DistrictMotto: of Craufurdjohn Branch
The great grandson of the first John of Crawfordjohn, Reginald, was made the King's chief executive in Ayrshire, the Heritable High Office of Sheriff in 1196 when this office was first established. Reginald would never have been directly responsible to the King if the House of Crawford had been subjects of the House of Lindsay. Before 1200 Reginald married the heiress of the extensive Loudon estates. Loudon Castle was to be occupied by this branch of the Crawfords until 1318 when the Crawford heiress, who's father was executed by the English in 1306 (1303 or 1308) for supporting William Wallace, married Duncan Campbell, passing Castle control to the Campbells.
Crosbie and Craufurdland
There is confusion about whether the Crosbie estate was included in the Loudon estates as some historians argue that Crosbie was inherited by Hugh, the Second Sheriff, in 1245 when his father died. But numerous local published historians tell how Hugh, the Third Sheriff, provided a solution to young King Alexander's problem of eliminating Norse claim to the Western Isles in 1263 when King Haakon appeared in the Firth of Clyde with a large fleet of longships wanting to settle the issue with King Alexander. The general concensus among local historians is that Alexander awarded Hugh the estate of Crosbie for suggesting the ultimately successful strategy to delay the Norse fleet until an Autumn storm crushed the longships against the shoreline rocks as the opening act to the Scottish attack at the Battle of Largs.
Of the Loudon estates which were divided among Reginald's sons, John received the estate now known as Craufurdland, in the north outskirts of Kilmarnock in 1245 on the death of his father, the First Sheriff. John's great grandson, James, supported the revolt led by William Wallace and advocated his kinsman's knighthood and elevation to Guardian of Scotland after Stirling Bridge. From the Craufurdland Cadet came estates at Ardoch (said to be at Craufurdland), Giffordland and Birkhead (separate estates near Crosbie), Auchenairn, Beanscroft and Powmill. The descendants still live at Craufurdland. Craufurdland has remained in the control of the family for 760 years! William Crawford of Dalleagles married Janet Crawford of Craufurdland on 30 Sep 1658 to unite the Dalleagles and Craufurdland Cadets across branch lines.
Kerse Estate and Ardmillan Castle
Reginald, the brother of Hugh, the Third Sheriff, either through grant or marriage received the lands at Kerse. It is probable that this was the estate near Kilmarnock. The name is based on the Ragman's Roll, a list of land holders declaring fealty to King Edward of England. It is only assumed from heraldic analysis that this Kerse was not the Castle since the Kerse Castle Crawfords bear the Dalmagregan Arms.
An unnamed brother or son (as debated) of Reginald, the Fourth Sheriff, received the lands of Baidland located on the west side of Dalry. In this cadet, Baidland inherited the estate of Ardmillan Castle through marriage, located directly on the coast a few miles south of Girvan, Ayrshire. Ardmillan, listed in the Registry of Scottish Castles, burned in 1983 and the remaining structure removed in 1990. Heraldic analysis confirms that this cadet springs from the Crawfordjohn Branch
The Chief's Line at Auchinames
The senior line of the Clan received a charter of lands at Auchinames in 1320 from Robert Bruce. Auchinames is found in the western outskirts of Johnstone in Renfrewshire. This land was formerly in the possession of John Balliol and was forfeited when Bruce won the Regency. The Chief's line is detailed on the Chief's Page. While Hugh, the younger brother of the 5th and last Sheriff of Ayrshire, is the progenitor of this line, he died in 1319 after the Battle of Bannockburn and before the land charter of 1320. His son, Reginald, is the person granted Auchinames and the Arms of Lances Saltire. Until Lyon Court registrations are closely studied, it is presently unknown whether it was Hugh, Reginald, or both who served with valor at Bannockburn. More to come...
From Crawfordjohn to Kilbirnie
The Crawfords continued to control the lands of Crawfordjohn until 1528 when Laurence Crawford, the grandson of Malcolm Crawford shown at the bottom of the pedigree chart above the word "Kilbirnie," exchanged Crawfordjohn for the lands of Drumry (adjacent Clydebank) with James Hamilton of Fynart. This exchange consolidated his holdings more accessible from Kilbirnie, which Malcolm had acquired in or before 1499 and where Laurence had centered his operations. Descendants of this family also occupied the Cartsburn estate in Greenock during the 1600's and 1700's. In Kilbirnie, Palace (Place) Castle and Kilbirnie Kirk became the lasting legacies of this cadet.
A baronetcy was conferred upon Alexander Craufurd of Kilburnie in 1781. He had 3 distinguished sons. The first was Sir James Craufurd who was the British Ambassador in Germany from 1798-1803. The second was Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Gregan-Craufurd (1761-1821) who served with great courage and daring in the Netherlands in 1794. The third was Major-General Robert Craufurd (1764-1812) who commanded the Light Brigade in the Peninsula War. The current Baronet of Kilbirney is the 9th, Sir Robert J. Craufurd of Lymington, England.
Fedderate Castle is located well out of the mainstream in Aberdeenshire near Fraserburgh. The Barony and Castle name is derived from William de Fedreth of Duffus, who received this grant of land in Strathnaver from Sir Reginald de Chene in 1286. The daughters of Ronald Chene inherited lands that they carried to the Sutherlands. The last Sutherland heir died in 1371, lending credence to the assertion that the Crawfords assumed control of the Barony in 1391.
Fedderate was build by William Crawford who held the barony between 1474 and 1519. The four-storey L-plan tower originally stood within a courtyard, with defensive towers on the outer walls. A drawbridge spanned the moat to give access. The surrounding land consisted mainly of bog and the original castle must have seemed a very safe refuge indeed. The Crawfords held the Castle until at least 1573, the same year the Reformation of the Regency was concluded.
The present state of the castle is a legacy of the revolutionary times of James the Second and the struggle for crown and power. The castle was reported to have been the last strongholds of James II's supporters. The castle was besieged for four weeks and finally destroyed by the forces of King William III (William of Orange) in 1690, during the civil strife of that period. There are many legends relating to Fedderate and, as might be expected, the ruins are said to be haunted.
These lands, west of Linlithgow, were granted to Reginald Crawford during the reign of James I. According to a charter dated 17 January, 1424/5, they included a large part of the present parish. The Castle was built by the Crawfords about 1470. The lands passed by marriage to the Livingstone family in 1540.
By 1676 the Castle was renamed Almond and in 1715 the lands were forfeited by the Livingstone's involvement in the Jacobite Rebellion. William Forbes, the ancestor of the current owner, purchased the Castle in 1783. The Castle was leased and eventually became unoccupied by 1797. While renovations were undertaken in 1600 by the Livingstones to add an East Wing, which no longer survives, the Castle has been in decline since passing from the Crawfords. It is widely published nowadays that the Castle is occupied by beings of the netherworld.
The Wars of Independence
In most histories Clan Crawford members are just periferal characters or left out entirely. But the most authoritative history, The Life of William Wallace by Blind Harry (written about 1475), places the Crawfords right in the thick of the action. With William Wallace as the leader, it was primarily Clan Crawford that provided the support structure for the popular and idealistic uprising. Indeed, it was not the death of William's father in 1291, but the murder of his uncle Ronald Crawford in June 1297 that crystalized the rebellion that led to the English defeat at Stirling Bridge in September 1297.
In 1296 Ronald Crawford, as Sheriff of Ayrshire, had the responsibility to reluctantly compile the Ragman Roll in the County of Ayr for King Edward. Many names can be gleaned from this list. But many did not sign the Roll, including many of Clan Crawford.
The death of Malcolm Wallace at the hands of the English in 1291 implanted a deep resentment of the English in William. From this time William started his one-man revolt with his uncle, Sir Ronald, picking up the pieces after every clash and providing protection for William. Undoubtedly this placed Sir Ronald and his family in grave danger. After a string of excuses and promises, the English lost confidence in Sir Ronald's ability to maintain peace. Edward ordered the slaughter of the land-holders in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire. Sir Ronald was the first to be murdered in a gruesome mass hanging in the Barns of Ayr where land-holders were drawn under the guise of a peace conference. Wallace witnessed the aftermath and sought immediate retribution, burning all of the English soldiers the following night as they slept in nearby buildings.
Sir Ronald's oldest son, Ronald, became Sheriff and his younger son, William, joined the revolt with his cousin Wallace. Many other Crawford cousins joined as well, including Patrick of Auchenleck and Kirkpatrick of Closeburn. After the English defeat at Stirling Bridge, Scottish nobles made Wallace the Guardian of Scotland and a Knight of the Realm, while Wallace's second, John Graham, and Wallace's third, William Crawford, were knighted also.
William Crawford also participated in the seige of York in 1298 before the Scottish betrayal and defeat at Falkirk where John Graham was killed. William Crawford became Wallace's second. Without the support of the Scottish nobles, the pair and their cohorts sailed for France to further their cause by assaulting the English wherever they could. The pair lead the Scots Guard to 2 dashing military victories over the English while they were in France. But their desire was to return to Scotland to fight for Independence.
When they returned to Scotland in 1303, they recouperated on the farm of William Crawford near the site of present day Elcho Castle. Unfortunately the English were warned and this led to a string of events resulting in William Crawford's wife nearly being burned at the stake before English attention was diverted to the chase.
Meanwhile, the younger Ronald, Sheriff of Ayrshire, was seized by the English and executed at Carlisle in 1306/7. But even with the betrayal of Wallace by John Menteith and Wallace's subsequent execution in 1305, Clan Crawford was not finished with the fight for Independence. Reginald, the nephew of the last Sheriff Ronald (Reginald), received the former King's (John Balliol) Auchinames estate near the town of Johnston in compensation for his valorous fight in the War-winning Scottish victory over the English at Bannockburn in 1314. It is this line that assumed the role of Clan Chief and established the Arms of the Chief as lances saltire on a silver shield between 4 spots of ermine to commemorate his participation at Bannockburn.
Thomas Craufurd was born the 6th son of Laurence of Kilbirnie in 1530. Realizing that 6th sons don't inherit anything, Thomas set out to create his own future by becoming a soldier. After an unspectacular beginning, being captured at the Battle of Pinkie and later ransomed. Thomas spent 11 years in the Scots Guard in France where he became a military advisor to Mary, Queen of Scots. Thomas purchased his estate at Jordanhill from Bartholomew Montgomerie, a chaplain in the Drumry Church that Lawrence Crawford had founded in 1546 on the lands Lawrence acquired in 1528 adjacent the Drumry estate. It is said that long before the lands had belonged to the Knights of St. John.
Through his acquaintence with Mary in France, Thomas became a trusted advisor of Mary's husband, Lord Darnley. After Darnley's murder, Thomas actively opposed the Queen's efforts to Catholicize the Scottish Regency and he began to serve Mary's Protestant son who became King James VI of Scotland. Thomas devised a plan to scale the walls of Dunbarton Castle to remove the Castle garrison loyal to Mary. In the early morning hours in the spring of 1571 Thomas and his small contingent successfully captured Dunbarton Castle. Two years later Thomas received the surrender of Edinburgh Castle after defeating the Queen's Commander Huntley at a place called Gallow Lee, reuniting Scotland under a Protestant Regency of James VI.
In 1576 he founded the Bishop's Bursary at Glasgow University. The following year he became Provost of Glasgow and built the first bridge over the Kelvin River at Partick. Under his Coat of Arms appears the following inscription:
He that by labour does any honestieThe labour goes, the honour bides with thee:He that by treason does any vice also,The shame remains, the pleasure soon agoes. Jordanhill was sold to Alexander Houston in 1750. It is now the Jordanhill School.
The previous discourse is a very brief summary of the Clan History extracted from the most comprehensive publication on the subject thus far, "Sons of Freedom." This book is available from the author, printed on demand, hardbound, and sold at cost. There is also some very interesting reading to be found at Crawford-John Parish web site.
The basis of Sons of Freedom is George Crawfurd's M. S. (ManuScript) History of the Crawfurds, published in the early 18th century and found today in the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh along with his joint publication with George Robertson, Description of Cunningham, and to a lesser extent Wood's Peerage. These sources are fully supported with references to secular and religious records and are by far the most authoritative outlines of the Crawford history. Additional information is extracted from Particular Description of Cunninghame (1840), Annals of Ayrshire Parish (1896), Our Village: The Story of West Kilbride (1990), A History of the House of Loudon and Associated Families, (1993), Scottish Surnames and Families (1996), A History of Kilbirnie Auld Kirk (2000), all found in 2004 in the Kilmarnock, Kilbirnie and West Kilbride Public Libraries.
Another very good research resource is this link list of Scottish records.