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Clan Crawford

Clan Crawford is a Scottish king-group or family which does not have a chief and is therefore considered an armigerous clan.

Loss of Chiefship

The last internally recognised chief was Hugh Ronald George Craufurd, who sold his land (Auchenames, Crosbie and other estates) and moved to Canada in 1904. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 374</ref> He died in Calgary in 1942, leaving no surviving male heirs. His only son died in action as an air crew member in World War II. <ref></ref>


Clan Crawford derives its clan-name from the barony of Crawford in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Because of this it has been claimed the clan is of Norman descent, however it has also been asserted that the clan is of Anglo-Danish descent. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 374</ref>

The argument for a Danish descent was first made in the 18th century by George Crawfurd, a family historian. In line with George Crawfurd account, the House acknowledges as its progenitor the Anglo-Danish chief Thor Longus (Thor the Tall) who is most closely identified with the Merse in Southern Scotland, a marshy area west of Berwick and north of the River Tweed. Thor Longus also held lands in Northumbria. He fled to Scotland in the winter of 1068–9 when William the Conqueror ravaged Northumbria.

Thor Longus served under Malcom Canmore during the Dano-Scottish war with William the Conqueror. Before 1107 he built a church and granted lands in Ednam to the church of Durham with the approval of King Edgar. (Centenary celebrations were held in Ednam in 2005).

Thor Longus is known in documents located in Durham Cathedral Archives as the Overlord of Crawford. Thorlongus' grandson Galfridus de Craufurd is the first to assume the surname.

The rival claim that the clan descended from a Norman ancestor traditionally names Reginald, son of the Earl of Richmond, as a follower of David I. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 374</ref>

Middle Ages

The Crawfords feature in the legendary incident which led to the foundation of the Abbey of Holyrood when the king's life was saved from a stag in 1127 by Sir Gregan Crawford. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 374</ref> In 1296, Sir Reginald Crawford was appointed sheriff of Ayr. His sister Margaret, married Wallace of Elderslie, and was the mother of Sir William Wallace.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 374</ref>

In 1307 Reginald Crawford of Loudon and Crosbie, Sheriff of Ayrshire, was executed in Carlise for supporting the cause of Scottish independence. <ref></ref>

The family who originated in Ayr produced the main branches the family, who were styled 'of Auchinames' and 'of Crawfurdland'. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref> The chiefly family is understood as being that of Auchinames in Renfrewshire- who received a grant of land from Robert I in 1320.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref>

Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

Sir William Crawfurd of Crawfurdland was knighted by James I and fought with the Scots in service of Charles VII of France at the siege of Creyult in Burgundy in 1423.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref> John of Crawfurdland died, along with James IV and many other Scottish noblemen and gentry at the Battle of Flodden. The Laird of Auchinames also died at Flodden. A generation later the laird of Auchinames also died at the Battle of Pinkie.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref>

His cousin, Sir Thomas Crafurd of Jordanhill (b.1530) survived the Battle of Pinkie, being captured by the English army and ransomed.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref> He later served in the Scots Guards in France, returning to become a member of the household of Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. <ref></ref>

He was however, later an opponent of the Queen and in 1570 captured Dumbarton Castle from her forces with only 150 men.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref>

Crafurd was the sixth son and as this was unlikely to result in an inheritance purchased Jordanhill Estate, outside Glasgow. In 1576 he founded the Bishop's Bursary at the University of Glasgow and later built the first bridge over the river Kelvin in Partick. <ref></ref> The Jordanhill Estate was sold in 1750 and today is a suburb of Glasgow.<ref></ref>



A branch of the family gained the estate of Craufurdland, near Kilmarnock, in 1245. It has been owned by the family for 760 years. <ref></ref> The castle was extended by the sixteenth laird in the seventeenth century. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref>

Eighteenth Century

John Walkinshaw Craufurd, the twentieth laird, was a soldier who was present at the victory of Dettingen in 1743. Despite his service to the Hanoverians he was a close friend of the Jacobite Earl of Kilmarnock and accompanied him to his execution and attended his funeral.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref> Despite this Jacobite association he later was appointed falconer to the king. His devotion to his friends did not extend to family members, as on his death in 1793 he left his estate to Thomas Coutts, the banker. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref> This attempt to disinherit his relatives was challenged in the House of Lords by his heir, Elizabeth Craufurd in 1806.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref>

Sir Alexander Craufurd of Kilbirne was made a baronet in 1781.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref>

Nineteenth Century

Robert Craufurd of Kilbirnie commanded in the Light Division in the Peninsular War (1808-14) He is commemorated by a monument in St. Paul's Cathedral in London.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 375</ref>

Twentieth Century

As noted above, the chiefship was lost in the mid twentieth century. However another branch of the family still live in the castle at Craufurdland and operate it as a guest house. <ref></ref> It hosts international Clan Gatherings. <ref></ref>

Further information:

References <references/>