|Earldom of Crawford|
Earldom of Balcarres
|Created by||Robert II of Scotland|
|Peerage||Peerage of Scotland|
|First holder||Sir David Lindsay|
|Present holder||Anthony Lindsay, 30th Earl of Crawford|
|Heir apparent||Alexander Thomas 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 in 1398 for Sir David Lindsay. 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 9th baron of Crawford, Lanarkshire. He was given the title of Earl of Crawford by Robert II in 1398, along with Crawford Castle.
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.
Between 1963 and 2019, the 28th Earl and the 29th Earl acted as Premier Earl of Scotland.
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, and so entitled the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres to sit in the House of Lords even before the passage of the Peerage Act 1963 extended that right to peers of Scotland.
The 29th Earl sat in the House of Lords as Baron Balniel, of Pitcorthie in the County of Fife, a peerage under the Life Peerages Act 1958 conferred on him in 1974 after leaving the House of Commons in the aftermath of the October 1974 general election while his father was still living.
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 traditional burial place of the Earls of Crawford is the family chapel at Balcarres House.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Alexander Thomas Lindsay, Lord Balniel (b. 1991)
The heir apparent’s heir apparent is Ludovic James Lindsay, Master of Crawford (b. 2020)