Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lindsay, David (1547?-1607)

LINDSAY, DAVID, eleventh Earl of Crawford (1547?–1607), eldest son of David Lindsay, tenth Earl of Crawford, by Margaret, daughter of Cardinal Beaton, was born about 1547. His grandfather, Alexander, son of David, eighth earl, was known as the ‘wicked master of Crawford,’ and his father had, by the forfeiture of the master and his issue for the murder of a servant of Lord Glammis, lost his right to the title, which passed to David Lindsay of Edzell, who succeeded as ninth earl. The latter had, however, no issue by his first wife, and adopted the son of the ‘wicked master,’ who in 1546 was put in fee of the earldom as master of Crawford, and succeeded to the full title on the death of the ninth earl in September 1558. Like his father, the tenth earl acquired an unenviable reputation for lawlessness and violence. In 1559 he obtained a charter annulling the clause in the conveyance of 1546 by which, on failure of his own heirs male, the succession was to pass to the house of Edzell, and assigning it to his heirs female, but on 22 March 1564–5 the charter of 1546 was restored. The tenth earl adhered to the catholic party, and was a consistent supporter of Queen Mary. At her marriage to Darnley he acted as cupbearer, and he took part in the roundabout raid against the Earl of Moray. He was one of the nobles who met at Dumbarton on 29 June 1567 to effect her rescue from Lochleven, and after her escape on 2 May of the following year, joined the association for her defence; but like Huntly and other northern lords he did not arrive in time for the battle of Langside, at which her cause was lost. On 23 July he was denounced by the lords of the congregation as a rebel (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 633), but having on 6 May 1569 signed a bond of allegiance to the young king and the Regent Moray, obtained pardon of all crimes ‘since his defection from the king's obedience’ (ib. p. 662). He died before 1 Nov. 1574, and was buried at Dundee. He had five sons: David, eleventh earl; Sir Henry of Kinfauns, thirteenth earl; Sir John of Ballinscho; Alexander, first lord Spynie [q. v.]; and James, mentioned 12 Oct. 1589 as James, brother-german of the Earl of Crawford (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1580–93, entry 1702). This was probably the Sir James Lindsay who acted as intermediary between the pope and King James in 1603–4 (see Gardiner, History of England, i. 97, 124, and the authorities there quoted; also Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. x. 81, 351, 413). The tenth earl had also a daughter, Helen, married to Sir David Lindsay, lord Edzell [q. v.]

The eleventh earl, according to the family genealogist, was ‘a princely man,’ but luxurious and extravagant. He is described as ‘in affection French, in religion unsettled’ (Bannatyne Miscellany, i. 58). On 17 March 1577–8 he became involved in a fray which resulted in the death of his hereditary enemy, the Lord-chancellor Glammis. The two lords being in attendance on the king at Stirling happened with their followers to meet in the school house wynd, opposite the ‘Earl of Mar's lodging.’ They made way for each other, and ordered their followers to do the same, but the hindmost were, it appears, unable to resist the providential opportunity of coming to blows. In the fray the chancellor was shot dead, and the blame of the murder was assigned by many to Crawford. His skill ‘in shooting with a piece’ was pointed to as presumptive evidence against him, especially when coupled with the bitterness of the hereditary feud and the well-known lawlessness of his disposition. He was sent a prisoner to the castle of Edinburgh, but on 14 June was permitted to pass to his house at Cairnie in Fifeshire on giving sureties again to enter into ward on fifteen days' notice (Reg. P. C. Scotl. ii. 705). For his failure to act on this arrangement on 5 March 1579, his sureties, David Lindsay of Edzell and Patrick, lord Lindsay of the Byres were fined (Pitcairn, Crim. Trials, pt. i. p. 85), and on 1 Sept. they gave caution in 20,000l. for his appearance at the Tolbooth of Edinburgh on 3 Nov. (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 212). According to Sir James Balfour, he was found innocent (Annals, i. 364), and on 5 Nov. he signed a band, under pain of 10,000l., not to molest Thomas Lyon of Balduckie, tutor or guardian of the young heir (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 233). Not long afterwards the earl went over to France in company with the Earl of Huntly (Balfour, i. 364), having on 7 Dec. obtained a license to go abroad for three years (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iii. 245). He returned to Scotland before the last day of February 1581, when he subscribed at the Canongate, Edinburgh, a renewal of the band in reference to the non-molestation of the tutor of Glammis (ib. p. 457). On 26 July 1582 he obtained a commission of justiciary (ib. p. 501).

Crawford was one of those who, in 1582, assembled at St. Andrews in support of the king after his escape from Ruthven. Shortly afterwards he was chosen master stabler to the king, and, in opposition to the wishes of the inhabitants of Dundee, was made provost of that town (Bowes, Correspondence, Surtees Society, p. 585; Calderwood, iii. 731). On Arran's return to power in August of this year he became one of his principal supporters, and at the parliament held on the 22nd, he carried the sword (ib. iv. 197). He was one of those who, on 14 Nov., convoyed the young Duke of Lennox from Leith—where he had landed from France—to the king at Kinneil (ib. viii. 255). He took part in the trial of the Earl of Gowrie in May 1584, and after the earl's forfeiture, received from the king the barony and regality of Scone and the church lands of Abernethy. With the king and Arran he was seized in the castle of Stirling by the banished lords on 1 Nov., and for a short time was committed to the charge of Lord Hamilton at Kinneil (Hamilton Papers, p. 65). He was at the reconciliation banquet at Holyrood House in May 1587, and in the procession on the following day walked arm in arm with his hereditary enemy, the Master of Glammis (Moysie, Memoirs, p. 63; Calderwood, iv. 614), but these ceremonies were without practical effect either on the private feuds or political intrigues of the nobles who took part in them. Having been converted to the catholic faith by the jesuit William Crichton [q. v.] (Letter of Robert Birrel to the Duke of Parma, 25 Jan. 1589, in Calderwood, v. 25), he was concerned along with Lord Claud Hamilton [q. v.] and the Earls of Huntly and Errol in a correspondence with Spain in reference to a Spanish invasion of England, and he was also closely associated with other schemes of the catholic nobles. In the spring of 1589 he and Huntly appeared in arms at Perth, and shortly afterwards waylaid the treasurer Glammis, whom for some time they kept in captivity in the north. From Perth they proceeded northwards to the bridge of Dee (ib. v. 55), but on the appearance of the king with a greatly inferior force, they disbanded their troops. Crawford delivered himself up at Edinburgh on 20 May, asserting that Huntly had beguiled him into the belief that he had a commission from the king for gathering his forces (ib.) He was on the 21st convicted of treason (ib. p. 57; Moysie, p. 77), and sentenced to be confined in the castle of St. Andrews during the king's pleasure, but received his release in the following September. Afterwards, according to Douglas (Peerage of Scotland), he received a safe-conduct to pass through England into France; and Lord Lindsay (Lives of the Lindsays) supposes him to have been absent from Scotland till 1601, but if he ever went to France, he had returned to Scotland by 3 Feb. 1590–1, when he was present at a meeting of the privy council (Reg. P. C. Scotl. iv. 572). His attendance at the council continued during subsequent years, and notices of his feuds with Lord Glammis frequently appear in the ‘Register.’ He died before 15 Oct. 1607—his son in a council minute of that date is referred to as now Earl of Crawford—at Cupar, Fifeshire, and was buried at Dundee.

He was married first to Lilias, one of ‘seven bonnie sisters,’ daughters of David, lord Drummond, and secondly to Griselda, daughter of John, fourth earl of Atholl. A manuscript genealogy states that he had by his first wife a son who died young, and according to the old ballad of ‘Earl Crawford,’ he separated from her on account of a light jest of hers in reference to the paternity of the child. The ballad goes on to recount that she died of grief at the separation, and that the earl died the same night from grief at her loss, but the earl's second marriage disposes of the latter statement. By his second wife he had three children: David, James, and Claude.

In David Lindsay, twelfth Earl of Crawford (d. 1621), the prodigality and lawlessness, which had more or less characterised the descendants of the ‘wicked master,’ reached their climax. On 25 Oct. 1605 he slew, ‘under trust,’ his kinsman, Sir Walter Lindsay of Balgavie [q. v.] On this account he was ‘placed at the horn’ (Reg. P. C. Scotl. vii. 143), but succeeded in eluding capture, owing, it would appear, to the remissness of the privy council, who were on 10 Oct. rebuked by the king (ib. p. 541). In revenge of the murder Crawford was, on 5 July 1607, while accompanied by Lord Spynie, attacked by the relatives of Sir Walter, lord Spynie [see Lindsay, Alexander, first Lord Spynie], being slain in the brawl and Crawford wounded. On 10 May 1607–8, Crawford appeared before the council and took the oath of allegiance (ib. viii. 59), but was subsequently, on many occasions, proceeded against for his lawless proceedings. Ultimately his relatives, to prevent further alienations of the estates, placed him under surveillance in the castle of Edinburgh, where he died in February 1621. He had by his wife, Lady Jane Ker, a daughter Jean, who eloped with a public herald—a ‘jockey with the horn’—and latterly became a beggar. The earldom passed to his uncle, Sir Henry Lindsay of Kinfauns.

[Histories of Calderwood and Spotiswood; Moysie's Memoirs (Bannatyne Club); Hist. of James the Sext (Bannatyne Club); Papers of the Master of Gray (Bannatyne Club); Sir James Balfour's Annals of Scotland; Register of the Privy Council of Scotland; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 378; Lord Lindsay's Lives of the Lindsays; Lindsay Pedigree, by W. A. Lindsay, in the College of Arms.]

T. F. H.