Clan Lindsay

Clan Lindsay
Clan Lindsay
Crest badge
Clan member crest badge - Clan Lindsay.svg
Crest: Issuing from an antique ducal coronet Or, the head, neck and wings of a swan proper according to Bain, the crest is : an swan, proper, holding in its beak a key. or.
Motto: Endure fort
Region Lowlands
District Angus

Lindsay E Crawford CoA.png
The Rt. Hon. Robert Lindsay
The 29th Earl of Crawford and
The 12th Earl of Balcarres
Historic seat Edzell Castle

Clan Lindsay is a Lowland Scottish clan.



Origins of the Clan

There is currently no known proven path pertaining to the origin of the Clan Lindsay. However, several possible theories have been advanced over the years. First is the theory proposed in 1769 by biographer/historian, Richard Rolt, in which he claimed that the Lindsays were of Anglo-Saxon descent. In his “Lives of the Lindsays”, first published in 1840, the 25th Earl of Crawford discounted Rolt's Anglo-Saxon descent theory and stated that the Lindsays were "distinctly" of Norman descent. Then in 1985/1990, British historian, Beryl Platts established, via an analysis of heraldic devices, the Lindsays were of Flemish descent. Much work is yet to be done before the origin of the Lindsays can be stated as proven without any doubt.

After the Norman conquest of 1066 Baldric de Lindsay became a tenant under the Earl of Chester in England. In 1120 Sir Walter Lindsay was a member of the council of David, Earl of Huntingdon who became King of Scotland. Sir Walter Lindsay's successor, either his son or brother came to Scotland with the new King.

William Lindsay acquired the lands of Crawford in Lanarkshire, Scotland. He gave some of his Ayrshire lands to the Dryburgh Abbey.

In the 13th century Sir David Lindsay of Crawford joined King Louis IX of France on a crusade but he was killed in Egypt. One of the crusader's sons Sir Alexander Lindsay was a Knight of King Edward I of England.

Wars of Scottish Independence

By the end of the 13th century the Wars of Scottish Independence had begun and it caused many dilemmas for the Lindsays as they had families on both sides of the border. However Sir Alexander Lindsay's patriotism made him take the side of Scotland. The Lindsays were supporters of both William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce. His English properties were forfeited and his sons there were imprisoned. The eldest of these sons Sir David Lindsay was later among the signatories of the Declaration of Arbroath, the 1320 assertion of Scottish Independence. Sir James Lindsay fought at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388 where the Scottish defeated the English. It was Sir Alexander Lindsay of Glenesk who during John Gaunts invasion of Scotland, attacked and put to the sword the crew of one of the English ships that had landed above Queen's Ferry (South Queensferry).

15th century & Clan Conflicts

Wallace and Lyndsay conjoiner Coat of Arms and supporters from Craigie Castle, Ayrshire.

At the Battle of Arbroath in 1445 the Clan Lindsay led by the Master of Crawford advanced with over 1000 men. Their enemy was the Clan Ogilvy who were also supported by men from the Clan Oliphant, Clan Gordon, Clan Seton and Clan Forbes of Pitsligo. The Master of Crawford's father, David Lindsay, 3rd Earl of Crawford rode between the two armies in an attempt to call a truce. However, an illadvised Ogilvie, thinking that this was the start of the Lindsay's attack, threw his spear at the Earl, hitting him in the mouth and killing him instantly. So the battle began which went in the Clan Lindsay's favour. Here fell Ogilvie of Inverquharty, Forbes of Pitsligo, Brucklay of Gartley, Gordon of Borrowfield, and Oliphant of Aberdalgie, along with 500 or so Ogilvies. However, the Lindsays lost a disproportionate amount of men, most notably the Earl himself. [1][2]

In 1448 Lord Lindsay of Byres gave King James III of Scotland the "great grey horse" which would carry him faster into battle than any other horse in Scotland. Lord Lindsay himself led a force of several thousand at the Battle of Sauchieburn.

During the 15th century the Clan Lindsay lost much of their land due to feuding with the Clan Ogilvy. Chief Alexander Lindsay, the 4th Earl of Crawford, also known as the Tiger Earl and Earl Beardie was badly defeated by the Clan Ogilvy and the Clan Gordon under the Earl of Huntly at Brechin in 1452. However all was not lost as Alexander Lindsay's son was made Duke of Montrose by King James III of Scotland.

16th century & Anglo-Scottish Wars

In the 16th century during the Anglo-Scottish Wars the Clan Lindsay fought at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513 where their chief, the 6th Earl of Crawford was slain.

The fifth Lord Lindsay was one of the four nobles to whom the charge of the infant Mary Queen of Scots was committed in 1542. His son Patrick, the 6th Lord, was a fierce reformer and one of the Lords of the Congregation. He took part in the murder of David Rizzio and challenged Bothwell to mortal combat at Carberry Hill, and at Lochleven Castle forced the Queen to then give up her crown. It was from this line that the 10th Lord was made 1st Earl of Lindsay by King Charles in the 17th century. The Lindsays later supported Mary, Queen of Scots and fought for her at the Battle of Langside in 1568.

17th century & Civil War

In the 17th century during the Civil War the Clan Lindsay were Royalist supporters of King Charles Stuart of England, Scotland & Ireland. The death of the Clan Lindsay Chief and 16th Earl in 1652 was the last of that line to be Earl of Crawford and the Earldom was passed into the hands of King Charles. However another line of Lindsays received a new title, held by John the 1st Earl of Lindsay who was also already the 10th Lord Lindsay of Byres.

18th century & Jacobite Uprisings

The Lindsays of Balcarres descend from a younger son of the ninth Earl of Crawford. They were created Earls of Balcarres for their services during the Civil War. The 1st Earl of Balcarres was made hereditary governor of Edinburgh Castle. His son supported the Jacobite Uprising and fought at the Battle of Sherrifmuir in 1715. The Clan Lindsay did not take part in the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 to 1746.


The Lindsays are arguably the clan with the most diverse variations when it comes to spelling their name. Known spellings include:

Limesay Linday Linde Lindeci Lindensay Lindesa Lindesaia Lindesaie Lindesans Lindesay Lindesaye Lindese Lindesee Lindesei Lindeseia Lindeseie Lindesey Lindesi Lindesie Lindesins Lindessay Lindessaya Lindessaye Lindessey Lindesseye Lindessi Lindesy Lindesye Lindeszey Lindey Lindiesay Lindisay Lindisin Lindissa Lindissai Lindissay Lindisseia Lindsa Lindsai Lindsay Lindsaye Lindsey Lindsseie Lindyesaye Lindyssay Lindyssey Linsai Linsaie Linsay Linsey Linsee Linsley Linza Linzee Linzey Lyncay Lynde Lynddesai Lynddessay Lynddessaye Lyndesai Lyndesay Lyndeseia Lyndeseie Lyndesey Lyndeseye Lyndesheie Lyndeshey Lyndesie Lyndesins Lyndessai Lyndessay Lyndessaye Lyndessey Lyndessy Lyndesy Lyndesya Lyndey Lyndezay Lyndisay Lyndissai Lyndissay Lyndisseye Lyndsa Lyndsaia Lyndsaie Lyndsay Lyndsey Lyndseye Lyndsy Lyndysay Lyndyssay Lyndyssey Lynsay Lynse Lynsey Leendsi

Clan Castle

See also

External links

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