|Earldom of Crawford|
Earldom of Balcarres
|Created by||Robert II of Scotland|
|Peerage||Peerage of Scotland|
|First holder||David Lindsay, 1st Earl of Crawford|
|Present holder||Robert Lindsay, 29th Earl of Crawford|
|Heir apparent||Anthony Robert Lindsay, Lord Balniel|
|Remainder to||heirs male of the body of the grantee|
|Subsidiary titles||Earl of Balcarres|
Lord Lindsay of Crawford
Lord Lindsay and Balniel
Baron Wigan of Haigh Hall
|Motto||Endure Fort (Endure bravely)|
Earl of Crawford is one of the most ancient extant titles in Great Britain, having been created in the Peerage of Scotland for Sir David Lindsay in 1398. It is the premier earldom recorded on the Union Roll.
Sir David Lindsay, who married Elizabeth Stewart, Countess of Crawford, a daughter of Robert II, was the 10th baron of Crawford, Lanarkshire. In 1398 he was given the title of Earl of Crawford, along with Crawford Castle, by Robert.
The title descended to the first Earl's descendants without much incident, until the death of David Lindsay, 8th Earl of Crawford, in 1542. The eighth Earl had a son, Alexander, commonly called the Wicked Master, who frequently quarrelled with his father and even tried to murder him. The Wicked Master was sentenced to death for his crime, and the eighth Earl conveyed his title to a cousin, also called David Lindsay, a descendant of the third Earl of Crawford, and excluded from the succession all of the Wicked Master's descendants. However, the ninth earl, although he had his own sons, named the Wicked Master's son David as his heir; thus, in 1558, at the ninth Earl's death, the earldom returned to the main branch of the family. The ninth Earl is frequently referred to as an interpolated Earl, as are the 17th-22nd Earls.
At the death of Ludovic Lindsay, 16th Earl of Crawford, the title was passed, despite senior heirs, to a cousin, John, who had already been created Earl of Lindsay. The earldoms of Crawford and Lindsay continued to be united until the 22nd earl died unmarried in January 1808. The two earldoms then became dormant until the respective heirs could prove their claims to the titles.
In 1843, James Lindsay, 7th Earl of Balcarres put forward his claim to the Earldom of Crawford; in 1848, the House of Lords allowed it. The claim was based on the extensive research of his son Lord Lindsay. It was held that the seventh Earl's father, the sixth Earl, was the lawful successor to the earldom of Crawford (though he did not claim it); therefore, the sixth Earl of Balcarres was posthumously declared the 23rd Earl of Crawford, and his son, the seventh Earl of Balcarres, became the 24th Earl of Crawford. Thereafter, these two earldoms have remained united (but the Earldom of Lindsay is separate).
The Earl of Crawford was mentioned in an episode of Keeping Up Appearances, when Hyacinth Bucket insisted that her milk be sourced from the "very attractive herd" on his estate.
The subsidiary titles associated with the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres are: Lord Lindsay of Crawford (created 1398), Lord Lindsay and Balniel (1651) and Baron Wigan of Haigh Hall (1826). The former two subsidiary titles, as well as the two Earldoms, are in the Peerage of Scotland. The Barony is in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. By virtue of the title of Baron Wigan of Haigh Hall, the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres sat in the House of Lords until the passage of the Peerage Act 1963. The present Earl sits in the House of Lords as Baron Balniel, a life peerage conferred on him in 1974 after he left the House of Commons and before the death of his father.
The Earl of Crawford is the hereditary Clan Chief of Clan Lindsay.
The family seat is Balcarres House in Colinsburgh, Fife. Until the 1940s they were also seated at Haigh Hall, Lancashire.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Anthony Robert Lindsay, Lord Balniel (born 1958). Lord Balniel's heir apparent is Alexander Thomas Lindsay, The Master of Lindsay (born 1991). The Master of Lindsay's heir apparent is Ludovic James Lindsay (born 2020).