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.
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