History and Home of the Lindsay Clan

The name Lindsay is derived from “Lincoln’s Island” from an area in England and Sir Walter de Lindeseya was one of many Norman knights who accompanied King David I when he returned to Scotland in 1124 after many years at the English court. Sir Walter settled in Lothian and Upper Clydeside. Over the years there were many different spellings of the name as different strands of the name spread across Scotland, with many of the holders making a significant contribution to Scottish history.

A descendant of Sir Walter, Sir William de Lindesay, held the lands of Crawford in Lanarkshire and sat in the Scots Parliament in 1164. He acquired considerable wealth through marriage to a grand-daughter of the ruler of much of Northumbria. His son, Sir David, married a member of the Scottish royal family and his grandson also inherited English estates. One of his descendants, also named Sir David, became High Chamberlain of Scotland in 1256. He perished on a Crusade with King Louis of France in 1268. His son, Sir Alexander, had to choose between Robert the Bruce and King Edward I and chose to support the Scottish cause, thus losing his English properties.

In 1320, Lord David Crawford was one of the signatories to the Declaration of Arbroath. One of his sons married a daughter of Walter, High Steward of Scotland – the Stewards/Stewarts later became the long line of Scottish monarchs.

Sir David de Lindsay took part in a famous tournament in London in 1390 in front of King Richard II of England. He won so easily that there was a suggestion that he was tied to the saddle – until he jumped off his horse. It is thought that Sir David may have been the organiser of the “Battle of the Clans” at Perth in 1396 which was staged in front of King Robert III. Sir David was later created Earl of Crawford and in 1403 he became Lord High Admiral of Scotland.

The Lindsays spread all across Scotland, though the main concentration was in Angus, Nairn and Lanarkshire. But at one stage there were over 100 Lindsay families who held land in Scotland.

The fifth earl held the positions of Lord High Admiral of Scotland, Master of the Royal Household, Lord Chamberlain and High Justiciary (though not all at the same time). In 1513, his son fell at the Battle of Flodden along with King James IV and many other Scottish nobility. The 10th Earl supported Mary Queen of Scots.

In the 17th century, Ludovic Lindsay fought for King Charles I and later joined the Marquis of Montrose in Scotland. He died in prison and the title passed to another branch. In the 19th century the title of Earl of Crawford passed to another branch who had been made the Earls of Balcarres in 1651 for services during the Civil War. The first Earl of Balcarres became hereditary keeper of Edinburgh Castle and then Secretary of State for Scotland. The 6th earl of Balcarres became the 23rd Earl of Crawford. The present chief lives in Balcarres in Fife.

Yet another branch of the family, this time in Angus, established themselves in Edzell Castle which is famous for a magnificent octagonal garden which was established there.

It was not just in the field of war and statecraft that the Lindsays made their mark. Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, who was Lord Lyon King of Arms, wrote a play “Ane Satyr of the Three Estaitis” in 1540. It satirised the corruption of the Church and State at a time when the Reformation of the Church was gaining ground. A contemporary of his, Robert Lindsay of Pittscottie in Fife, wrote a three volume history of Scotland which was used by Sir Walter Scott as the basis of many of his historical novels.

The Lindsay clan motto is “Endure fort” which means “Endure boldly”.

Surnames regarded as septs (sub-branch) of the Lindsay clan include Cobb, Deuchar and Summers.

Home of the Lindsay Clan

Edzell Castle is a ruined 16th century castle, with an early 17th century walled garden. It is located close to Edzell, and is around 5 miles (8 km) north of Brechin, in Angus, Scotland. Edzell Castle was begun around 1520 by David Lindsay, 9th Earl of Crawford, and expanded by his son, Sir David Lindsay, Lord Edzell, who also laid out the garden in 1604. The castle saw little military action, and was, in its design, construction and use, more of a country house than a defensive structure. It was briefly occupied by English troops during Oliver Cromwell’s invasion of Scotland in 1651. In 1715 it was sold by the Lindsay family, and eventually came into the ownership of the Earl of Dalhousie. It was given into state care in the 1930s, and is now a visitor attraction run by Historic Scotland. The castle consists of the original tower house and building ranges around a courtyard. The adjacent Renaissance walled garden, incorporating intricate relief carvings, is unique in Scotland. It was replanted in the 1930s, and is considered to have links to esoteric traditions, including Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry.

Sir David Lindsay, Lord Edzell

Arms of Sir David Lindsay, and his wife, Dame Isabel Forbes, over the garden gateDavid Lindsay, the 9th Earl’s son, was educated in Paris and Cambridge, and travelled in continental Europe. His father had nominated the son of Alexander, the Wicked Master, as heir to the earldom, returning the title to the senior line of the family, and thus Lindsay did not succeed to the earldom on his father’s death. However, he was knighted in 1581, became a Lord of Session (a senior judge), taking the title Lord Edzell, in 1593, and in 1598 was appointed to the Privy Council. A Renaissance Man, he undertook improvements to his estates, including mining and woodland planting. Two German prospectors from Nuremberg, Bernard Fechtenburg and Hans Ziegler, were invited to search for precious metals around Edzell.

In August 1562, David Lindsay received Mary, Queen of Scots at Edzell. The Queen was on a Royal progress, with the aim of subduing the rebellious Earl of Huntly, and spent two nights at Edzell. During her stay she convened a meeting of the Privy Council, attended by the nobility of Scotland. Her son, King James VI, visited Edzell twice; on 28 June 1580, and in August 1589.

Sir David further extended the castle in the late 16th century, with the addition of a large north range with round corner towers. He laid out the garden in 1604, with symbols of England, Scotland and Ireland, to celebrate the Union of the Crowns of the previous year, when James VI acceeded to the English throne on the death of his cousin, Elizabeth I. Sir David died in 1610, heavily in debt as a result of fines handed down for the unruly conduct of his son, and with both the garden and the north range incomplete.


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