Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Crawford, Lawrence

1341366Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 13 — Crawford, Lawrence1888Charles Harding Firth

CRAWFORD, LAWRENCE (1611–1645), soldier, sixth son of Hugh Crawford of Jordanhill, near Glasgow, born in November 1611, early entered foreign service, passed eleven years in the armies of Christian of Denmark and Gustavus Adolphus, and was for three years lieutenant-colonel in the service of Charles Lewis, elector palatine (Wood). In 1641 he was employed by the parliament in Ireland, and appears in December 1641 as commanding a regiment of a thousand foot (Bellings, Irish Catholic Confederation, i. 230). In this war he distinguished himself as an active officer, but the cessation of 1643 brought Crawford into opposition with Ormonde. He objected to the cessation itself, and refused to take the oath for the king which Ormonde imposed on the Irish army, and above all, though willing to continue his service in Ireland, would not turn his arms against the parliament. For this he was threatened with imprisonment, and lost all his goods, but contrived himself to escape to Scotland. The committee of the English parliament at Edinburgh recommended Crawford to the speaker, and on 3 Feb. 1644 he made a relation of his sufferings to the House of Commons, and was thanked by them for his good service (Sanford, 582). His narrative was published under the title of ‘Ireland's Ingratitude to the Parliament of England, or the Remonstrance of Colonel Crawford, shewing the Jesuiticall Plots against the Parliament, which was the only cause why he left his employment.’ A few days later Crawford was appointed second in command to the Earl of Manchester, with the rank of sergeant-major-general. ‘Proving very stout and successful,’ says Baillie, ‘he got a great head with Manchester, and with all the army that were not for sects’ (Baillie, ii. 229). Crawford's rigid presbyterianism speedily brought him into conflict with the independents in that army, and Cromwell wrote him an indignant letter of remonstrance on the dismissal of an anabaptist lieutenant-colonel (10 March 1644). At the siege of York Crawford signalised himself by assaulting without orders (16 June 1644). ‘The foolish rashness of Crawford, and his great vanity to assault alone the breach made by his mine without acquainting Leslie or Fairfax,’ led to a severe repulse (ib. ii. 195). A fortnight later, at the battle of Marston Moor, Crawford commanded Manchester's foot. His kinsman, Lieutenant-colonel Skeldon Crawford, who commanded a regiment of dragoons on the left wing, brought a charge of cowardice against Cromwell (ib. ii. 218). Later Lawrence Crawford also, in conversation with Holles, told a story of the same kind (Holles, Memoirs, p. 16). After the capture of York, Manchester sent Crawford to take the small royalist garrisons to the south of it, and he took in succession Sheffield, Staveley, Bolsover, and Welbeck (Rushworth, v. 642–5). In September the quarrel with Cromwell broke out with renewed virulence. Cromwell demanded that Crawford should be cashiered, and threatened that in the event of a refusal his colonels would lay down their commissions (Baillie, ii. 230). Though Cromwell was obliged to abandon this demand (Gardiner, History of the Great Civil War, i. 479, 481), the second battle of Newbury gave occasion to a third quarrel. Cromwell accused Manchester of misconduct. Crawford wrote for Manchester a long narrative detailing all the incidents of the year's campaign, which could be used as counter-charges against Cromwell (Manchester's Quarrel with Cromwell, 58–70, Camden Society). The passing of the self-denying ordinance put an end to the separate command of the Earl of Manchester, and Crawford next appears as governor of Aylesbury. In the winter of 1645 he twice defeated Colonel Blague, the royalist governor of Wallingford (Vicars, Burning Bush, 98, 116; Wood, Life, 20). In the same year, on 17 Aug., while taking part in the siege of Hereford, he was killed by a chance bullet, and was buried in Gloucester Cathedral (Wood, Life, 23). His monument was removed at the Restoration, but his epitaph is preserved by Le Neve (Monumenta Anglicana, i. 220).

[Wood's Life; Baillie's Letters, ed. Laing; Rushworth's Historical Collections; Sanford's Studies and Illustrations of the Great Rebellion; Carlyle's Cromwell; Manchester's Quarrel with Cromwell (Camden Soc.), 1875; Ireland's Ingratitude to the Parliament of England, &c. 1644; A True Relation of several Overthrows given to the Rebels by Colonel Crayford, Colonel Gibson, and Captain Greams, 1642; Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. pt. ii.]

C. H. F.