Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lindsay, John (d.1563)

LINDSAY, JOHN, fifth Lord Lindsay (d. 1563), of the Byres, Haddingtonshire, was the eldest son of John, master of Lindsay, styled Sir John Lindsay of Pitcruvie, Fifeshire, by his wife Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir John Lundie or Lundin of Balgonie, Fifeshire. The Lindsays of the Byres were descended from William, son of Sir David Lindsay of Crawford (d. 1355?) [cf. art. Lindsay, Sir James, ninth Baron Crawford (d. 1396)]. Sir John Lindsay of the Byres (d. 1479) was created a lord of parliament in 1445, and from 1457 to 1466 was justiciary of Scotland beyond the Forth. David, second lord Lindsay (d. 1492), fought on the side of James III at Sauchieburn, 9 June 1488, and it was on his ‘grey courser’ that the king is said to have escaped from the battle (Pitscottie, p. 219). He was succeeded in turn by his brothers John (d. 1497), and by Patrick (d. 1526), who fought at Flodden in 1513, and was one of the guardians of James V. The fifth lord succeeded to the title on the death of his grandfather, the fourth Lord Lindsay, and in the same year was made sheriff of Fife (Acta Parl. Scot. ii. 605). About this time his support of Lennox in an attempt to rescue the young king from Angus exposed him to the wrath of the Douglases, but by giving ‘largely of his lands and gear,’ to them, he, according to Pitscottie, escaped ‘that envy for the present time’ (Chronicles, p. 330). On 27 June 1532 he was named an extraordinary lord of session, and in this capacity took part in the condemnation of Sir John Borthwick for heresy in 1540 and of Sir John Hamilton of Finnart for treason in the same year. He was present at the death of James V at Falkland in 1542 (ib. p. 622), and after the arrest of Cardinal Beaton was one of the four ‘indifferent noblemen’ to whom the custody of the infant princess Mary was on 15 March 1543 committed by parliament (Acta Parl. Scot. ii. 415). Although ultimately his sympathies were with the reformed party, the fifth Lord Lindsay, unlike his son, was not a vehement partisan. It was chiefly owing to his mediations that a battle was avoided at Cupar Muir on 13 June 1559 between the forces of the queen-regent and those of the lords of the congregation (Pitscottie, pp. 537–45). On the adoption of a reformed confession of faith by parliament in August 1560, Randolph records that ‘the old Lord of Lyndsay, as grave and godly a man as ever I sawe, sayd I have lived manie yeares: I am the oldeste in this companye of my sorte; now that yet hath pleased God to lett me see this daye … I will say with Simeon, Nunc dimittis’ (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1560–1, entry 434, quoted in full in Knox, Works, vi. 177). With other lords Lindsay subscribed the ‘Book of Discipline,’ 17 Jan. 1561.

Lindsay died about 17 Dec. 1563 (Letter of Randolph to Cecil, 21 Dec. 1563; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1563, entry 1523, in which he states that Lindsay died within the last four days).

During the lifetime of the fifth lord the estates of the family were considerably increased by grants under the great seal (see Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. passim). By his wife Helen Stewart, said to be a daughter of the Earl of Atholl, he had three sons—Patrick, sixth lord [q. v.]; John, who died in France; and Norman, ancestor of the Lindsays of Kilquhiss—and six daughters: Isabel, married to Norman Leslie [q. v.]; Catherine, to Thomas Myreton of Cambo; Margaret, to David Beaton of Melgund, son of Cardinal Beaton; Janet, wife first of Henry, Master of Sinclair, and secondly of Sir George Douglas; Helen, wife of Thomas Fotheringhame of Powrie; and Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Kinnear of Kinnear.

[Knox's Works, ed. Laing; Lindsay of Pitscottie's Chronicles; Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot.; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. reign of Elizabeth; Acta Parl. Scot. vol. ii.; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 385; Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice, pp. 32–4; Lord Lindsay's Lives of the Lindsays; Pedigree of the Lindsays, by W. A. Lindsay, in the College of Arms.]

T. F. H.