Clan History

The Scottish Diaspora

Timeline of Scotland's Historical Events

The early history of Clan Crawford is diverse and complicated. Like so many other Clan histories, competing theories of Crawford history are difficult to decipher looking back almost a thousand years through more than 30 generations. However, by employing all we know about the secular and religious history of the period and adhering to certain physical and biological rules [eg. a person can't be in two places at the same time, people 15- and 50+ years typically are not prolific reproducers, and nobody lived over 100 years] we can sort out some of the competing theories.

One story that is frequently cited is the claim that the Crawfords derive from Alan Rufus, the 1st Earl of Richmond (1040-1093). He lived before the earliest records of the Crawfords. However, there is no reliable evidence connecting the Crawfords with the Earls of Richmond. This version was widely distributed in Burke's General Armory, a series of editions published between 1842 and 1884, and also in Burke's History of the Commoners. It appears to have been given voice about a century earlier, but no source has been found to support this assumption. The recording of the Arms of Colonel Robert Crawford of Newfield in the mid-1800's states the basis of the connection being "presumptive evidence" in reference to the similarity of Arms between the House of Crawford (gules, a fess ermine) and the Earls of Richmond (gules, a bend ermine). There are problems with this formulation. Arms designs of England (Richmond) and Scotland (Crawford) were independent with no prohibition against similarity. In fact early manuscripts on arms from England show several families using the same arms as the Scottish Crawfords, with only minor distinctions between them. Their surnames bear no relationship to ours, though they show the arms 'gules, a fess ermine' in various forms. One of these is a family surnamed Wallis who used the same arms; these are found in "The Dering Roll".

On-line there are several collections of old maps of Scotland. The Library of Scotland has a large collection of images [ ]. Below is a cropped portion of Blaeu's Atlas of Scotland 1654 - "Scotia Antiqua". In the center of the map are found the towns of Crawford and CrawfordJohn, origins respectively of our surname and our House and family. If you enlarge the size of the figure, it is easy to read the names. On the map Crawfordjohn is written 'CrewfurdIhon'. 'Crawfurd-Lyndsay' corresponds to the town of Crawford. 'Crauford K.' [Crawford Castle] is across the River Clyde, slightly northwest of the town and just south of Abington. The Merse (spelled as 'Merche') is straight to the east, 2/3 of the way towards the North Sea. Spellings were not standardized in Scotland until the 18th century. Before then, the spelling of a word was subject to the writer's preferences, if not whimsey. As can be seen on the map, the name for each Crauford site is written uniquely.

In the Merse, around 1090, begins our family's history in Scotland. Thorlongus was given undeveloped lands in a place called Ednam, just north of Kelso, to develop and populate. By early 12th century, our ancestor had settled in Crawford. He became known as the Overlord of Crawford. The first known to have taken the surname was Galfridus de Crauford. And so begins our history mostly recorded in donation documents. These are the first written Scottish records where our ancestors are listed as witnesses to land donations to the abbeys in Scotland by magnates (prominent men) of the time. The earliest records are by Thorlongus, to be found in the Durham University Library. They include his charter for the lands of Ednam, his seal, and a petition for blessings for the deliverance of his soul, that of his father (some have read the reference as 'brother') Leofwine, and that of his king (Malcolm). There is another reference to a Leofwine, though it is not completely certain that he is Thorlongus' close relative. Leofwine, 'the monk', is commemorated in the Martyrology of the Durham Cantor's book for June 2 (day of his death), and the same book commemorates Thorlongus for May 14. However, there is no firm confirmation that this Leofwine is brother to Thorlongus, though it is likely so. The year of these two deaths is unknown, but Ednam is in the crown's hand in 1136, indicating that both certainly died before that year.

Crawford Castle

The site of Crawford Castle (also known as Lindsay Tower) is on the outskirts of the town of Crawford in Lanarkshire, across the Clyde River next to the ford of the river. The site is strategically located overlooking the ford, thus protecting the crossing and guarding the approach from England into Scotland's Upper Clyde Valley. A Roman fort was located on the same site between around 80 and 170 AD. Crawford Castle was probably built by the Crawford family in the first half of the 12th century as a motte and bailey structure (earthwork and timber), as was typical of the day. Thorlongus of the Merse is identified by George Crawfurd from historical records as Overlord of Crawford. Lindsay Tower was built around 1175 and possibly of stone. It was destroyed by William Wallace in 1296 when he razed the castles on Scotland's southern border to protect the land from the English using them as refuges at the beginning of the Wars of Independence. Lindsay Tower was named after the Lindsay family who held the Barony from the 13th century until 1488. In 1398 David Lindsay was granted the title of Earl of Crawford by Robert II. David Lindsay had married Robert II's sister Marjorie. In 1488 the Barony was transferred to Angus Douglas whose descendants held it until 1578. James V used it as a hunting lodge for a period of time until his death in 1542. His mistress, Catherine Carmichael's father was Captain of the Crawford Castle guard. James V built a castle in Crawfordjohn for their trysts. Crawford Castle was rebuilt several times over the centuries, and a farmhouse, known as Crawford House was constructed in the 18th century from stones largely removed from the castle ruins.

Early Beginnings

The earliest presence in Britain of our Crawford line may go back to a Danish Viking who in the 9th century invaded the coast of west central England. Vikings, especially Danish, landed on the western shore of England in the kingdom of Mercia regularly between 868 and 877. These incursions differed from previous Viking landings in the British Isles, which had mainly been raiding for plunder. This series of invasions in the late 9th century were known as the 'Great Heathen Army' and are described in a couple of online sources [ and ]. The veracity of the accounts are not necessarily reliable, but they are what is available for this period of history. Our earliest male line ancestor mentioned by name appears to be Leofwine, who appears in a dedicatory charter by his son Thorlongus. Legend has their direct ancestor being a younger son of the Danish King and one of the leaders of the invading Viking forces into England. The Danes established themselves in Mercia and their ancestor is thought to have married into the local ruling family and ostensibly with descendants of Alfred the Great. Alfred's daughter Æthelflæd married Æthelred, King of Mercia in the last decade of the 9th century, having descendants who ostensibly intermarried with our Danish Viking ancestors. Æthelflæd's image below is as depicted in the cartulary of Abington Abbey (England).

Mercia was soon incorporated into the Daneslaw. Leofwine is thought to have had landholdings in Northumbria. In 1069 his son Thorlongus [some have read 'brother' instead of 'father' ('fatri'' rather than 'patri') in the manuscript, but actually the first letter is smudged and could be either] fled to Scotland when William the Conqueror overran Northumbria in an action known as 'The Harrying of the North', a series of campaigns waged during the winter of 1069–70 to subjugate northern England and complete the conquest [ ]. William ordered villages burnt and its inhabitants slaughtered. Food stores and livestock were destroyed so that anyone surviving the initial massacre would succumb to starvation over the winter.

Crawford legacy as a Scottish House begins with the Anglo-Danish Chief, Thorlongus (Thor the tall), who fled the Norman invaders in 1068 and was later granted the area around Ednam (Berwickshire) in Scottish King Malcolm Canmore's (1031-1093) effort to strengthen his borders against the Norman invaders. This advice may have came from his new Queen and second wife, Margaret (sister of Harold of England's uncrowned successor, Edgar Ætheling). Thorlongus was the first layman (non-royal and non-ecclesiastic) identified as having constructed a church inside the borders of Scotland with his own resources. The Merse, the locale from which Thorlongus is best known, is an area west of Berwick and north of the River Tweed. He is identified in charters found in Durham Cathedral as an aging man granting Ednam back to the King. The records, one dating to around 1110 and the other 1124, state that Thorlongus founded Ednam, a deserted waste land granted to him by King Edgar (1097 to 1107) of Scotland. The charter states that he repopulated the settlement with his own followers and built a church. The charter grants the church to the monks of St Cuthbert. The grant is stated to have been given by Thor to his lord Earl David (Prince of Cumbria [1113-1124] and future David I of Scotland [1124–1153]). It also included Earl David's confirmation of the grant. Thorlongus appears to be distinct from Thor of Tranent referenced closer to the mid 1100's. In any case, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the early history of the family. The transition from legend to history can indeed be murky.

The seal depicted (above left) is the actual seal of Thor the Long. It shows him, seated with a sword. Around the edge of the seal is a Latin inscription that states "Thor me mittet amico" that translated literally means "Thor bestows me friendship". It can be understood less literally to mean "Thor is my friend". Being granted a seal was a mark of royal distinction, it therefore may refer to a friendship between Thorlongus and either King Malcom III ('Canmore') or his son King Edgar. This would indicate a warm relationship, especially if Thorlongus as a knight who had showed unusual loyalty to the Canmore rulers and particularly if Thor was a cousin of Queen Margaret. The later reference to David I was also very calid.

The seal was appended to a charter titled Charta Thorlongi, now at Durham Cathedral. The charter affirms that King Edgar of Scotland gave Ednam and the surrounding lands to Thorlongus, where he could build a church to Saint Cuthbert. This may have been a reaffirmation of an original grant by Malcolm III that was reissued once Edgar took the throne so as to legally formalize the feudal relationship between the king and Thorlongus. Appended to the grant by King Edgar is a second one reiterating the grant for the time of King Alexander I of Scotland and King David I of Scotland, and giving permission that the hamlet of Ednam be given to the nearby monastery. This second part of the charter, too, is formulated in the name of Thorlongus and under his seal, even though Thorlongus had by then died. The re-issuance of the charter may have had the function of preserving the antiquity of the claim to Ednam, perhaps put forward by Thor's son Swane Thorson of Swinton and/or his grandson Galfridus of Crawford.

Barony of Crawford - Crawford of that Ilk

Galfridus Swaneson was possibly the first Baron of the Barony of Crawford located in Lanarkshire and recorded as bearing the surname, though his father, Swane Thorson may have been in possession before. In any case, Swane and Thor bore names in the old Scandinavian manner. Galfridus de Crauford is the first to use a name in the Norman style. Galfridus Swaneson's grandson is known as Dominus Galfridus (also possibly Gilpatrick) de Crawford as a witness in a record of a land donation to Kelso Abbey in 1179. Galfridus is the first to be associated with the Crawford surname and takes it in the Norman way, by indicating where he is from, thus 'de Crawford' (i.e., 'of Crawford'). Several alternate spellings of Crawford are found in early records, but Crauford was the commonest. It is used here throughout the history until Craufurd and Crawford become the dominant forms.

The primary Crawford branch using the surname terminated with the death of John or Johannes Crawford (in 1248), known as "Dominus de eodem miles" or "Lord of that Ilk, knight" in numerous donation documents. The Lordship of part of the Barony of Crawford and the original old Crawford Castle -- of wattle [wood frame] and daub [a mixture of mud, clay, dung and straw] -- appears to have passed from the Crawford Family through the earlier marriage (1215) of John's younger daughter to a Lindsay (some sources name him as William, others as David). The current Earl of Crawford (a Lindsay) claims Lindsay genealogical records do not support this claim. However, this marriage alliance is prominently part of the Crawford historical tradition and maintained in local folklore. Donation documents from Newbottle and Kelso Abbeys clearly identify the Crawfords of the Barony of Crawford extending as late as 1246. For example, in 1179 the holder of the Crawford Barony was Dominus Galfridus, in the direct line of Crawfords, and in 1246 the Lord of the Barony is named as Johannes Craufurd, Dominus de eodem miles.

Galfridus Swaneson's secondary branch from Crawfordjohn Parish carried on the surname and used the Crauford arms after 1248. Reginald, a younger son of Galfridus, was given possession of a part of the old Barony, which was eventually known as Crawfordjohn. A third and final section of the old Barony, the northern part, went to the House of Douglas who for centuries held it as the well-known lairds. This inheritance came with the marriage of Johannes de Crauford's eldest daughter Margaret to Archibald Douglas. Douglas history recognizes and acknowledges their historical tie to Crawfords. Lord James, the Black Douglas, a close friend of The Bruce, was the great-grandson of Archibald Douglas and the Crawford heiress.

According to historical sources, John of Crawfordjohn was the stepson of Baldwin of Biggar, and assumed possession of the parish upon attaining his majority circa 1153. John's mother, widow of Reginald, married Baldwin of Biggar we estimate around 1145. This branch of the family, sometimes referred to by their individual estate or cadet names, is collectively known as the Crawfordjohn Branch. They early on used as their arms 'gules, a fess ermine'. Whether it came from Crauford or from John's mother's family is not known. Either were possible. No name or definitive family identity are known for her except her marriages, first to Reginald Crauford and secondly to Baldwin of Biggar. There has been speculation regarding her origins: she may have been Norman and introduced some of the Norman first names prominently appearing in the family about that time (Reginald, Hugh, John), or alternatively she may have been from a prominent local family (Scot or Anglo-Danish). The first Christian names introduced were Latin (Johannes or Iohn, Hugonis, Galfridus, etc.); we see them proliferating in the early post Viking period. Reginald and Hew (Hugh) appear later and are repeated in each generation, thus dominating the field, which makes the early Crauford line a very confusing one to follow.

The Crawfords of Loudon

Ostensibly a son of the first John of Crawfordjohn, another Reginald, was made the King's chief officer in Ayrshire, the Heritable High Office of Sheriff of Ayr, around 1203 when this office was first established. However, the dates associated with them suggest that there might have been an intervening generation and Reginald was the grandson of John. The sheriff was responsible for maintaining law and order. Reginald had previously married the heiress of the extensive Loudon estates, Margaret of Loudoun. Loudon Castle was to be occupied by this branch of the Craufords until 1318 when the Crauford heiress, Susanna, whose uncle, the fifth Loudoun Crauford and third Reginald in the Crauford Loudoun line, was executed by the English in 1307 for supporting The Bruce. His heir was Susanna who married Duncan Campbell, passing the possession of Loudon to the Campbells who have retained title to this day. Below is the fairytale castle which was built by the Campbells. It burned in 1941, leaving only the outer shell. The lower ramparts (darker stone at the base of the castle) are attributed to Sir Reginald Crauford, the 1296 Sheriff of Ayr.

In the nearby forest are the ruins of an older castle (Arclowdan) used by the Craufords during the 12th and 13th centuries. Little remains but foundation stones, though the charter box containing documents of the family, including the marriage record of Margaret Crauford to Adam Wallace, parents of William Wallace, the Scottish patriot, reportedly is kept at Dumfries Castle. After the last Sir Reginald was executed at Carlisle, Susanna (and a younger sister Alyse) inherited their uncle's estates. Susanna was considered the heir of Loudoun, passing it on to her husband after their marriage in 1318. Below is a genealogical chart of the Loudoun Crauford descent.

Between 1203 and 1307 Craufords have traditionally been considered to be responsible directly to the King of Scotland as the Sheriffs of Ayr. Currently existing records confirm that there were at least two Crauford Sheriffs of Ayr, both Reginald, the first and fourth of the Loudoun Crauford line. That these two Crauford Sheriffs of Ayr have existing documentary confirmation does not mean that the three other Craufords named by Crawford tradition as Sheriffs of Ayr were not so in their own time, only that no existing documentation has survived to confirm the fact of the two Hughs, son and grandson of the first Sir Reginald, and the third Reginald, son of the second Sir Reginald documented as Sheriff of Ayr (1296). This Sir Reginald, also known as Ronald in the Ragman Rolls, was executed at Carlisle in probably early 1307 along with The Bruce's two younger brothers, Thomas and Alexander. There are many gaps in the documentary evidence due to destruction and loss over the centuries because of war and natural disasters. A custom speaking in support for the tradition that there were five Crauford of Loudoun Sheriffs of Ayr is that the position of sheriff was heritable. Given that at least the first and fourth Craufords of Loudoun were Sheriffs of Ayr, and that this position ultimately went to the Campbell who married the Craufurd heiress and the position was inherited down by their male descendants through many generations, it seems likely that the rest of the descendants of the first Sheriff would also have inherited the position. Records available for other non-Craufords as Sheriffs of Ayr (between 1264 and 1314) primarily document them as briefly holding the position during the period of Edward I's invasions and domination of Scotland. King Edward intervened actively in naming men loyal to him to positions and holdings. During this period of time it is not likely anyone suspect as a Scottish loyalist would have been able to retain his possessions whether public position or land holdings. Counter claims are well documented, including one in which the guardianship of Susanna and Alyse was disputed.

Crosbie and Craufurdland
There is confusion about whether the Crosbie estate was included in the Loudon estates as some historians argue that Crosbie was inherited by Hugh, the second Crauford of Loudoun, in 1245 when his father died. But local historians tell how Hugh, the third Loudoun Crauford (and presumptive 3rd Sheriff of Ayr), provided a solution to young King Alexander's problem of eliminating Norse claim to the Western Isles in 1263 when King Haakon appeared in the Firth of Clyde with a large fleet of longshipsr. The general concensus among local historians is that Alexander awarded Hugh the estate of Crosbie for suggesting the ultimately successful strategy to delay the Norse fleet until an Autumn storm crushed the longships against the shoreline rocks as the opening act to the Scottish attack at the Battle of Largs. Crosbie remained in Crauford hands until 1903, when it was sold along with the rest of the Auchenames holdings by Hugh Ronald George Crauford before he migrated to Canada.

Of the Loudon estates which were divided among the first Reginald of Loudoun's sons, John received the estate of Ardoch, now known as Craufurdland in 1245 through his marriage to Alicia de Dallsalloch. It is located in the north outskirts of Kilmarnock. The descendants still live at Craufurdland. It has remained in the same family for over 760 years! Below is a photo of Craufurdland Castle, which has come down through the line of descent since John inherited it. Though remodeled many times over the centuries, the old castle entrance remains intact and the castle is still in use today. Family members continue to reside there.

Crawfordjohn and Kilbirnie

Crawfordjohn is a small town some 10 miles from the town of Crawford. The church of Crawfordjohn is now a heritage site and museum. There was a chapel there in the 12th century and the location seems to have been used for religious purposes even before Christianity was introduced. The chapel and later the church were dependent on Kelso Abbey. The current church was built during the 19th century. The first castle may have been built as early as the 12th century, though it has long disappeared. Several others were built successively. Foundation stones are still visible on the hillside near the town. The castle site is known as Boghouse.

Crawfordjohn came back into the hands of Craufords in 1524 when Laurence Crauford, the grandson of Malcolm Crauford shown at the bottom of the pedigree chart above the word "Kilbirnie, [found under the genealogy tab]" exchanged Crawfordjohn for the lands of Drumry (adjacent Clydebank) with James Hamilton of Fynart. This exchange consolidated his holdings making them more accessible from Kilbirnie, which Malcolm had acquired around 1499. Descendants of this family also occupied the Cartsburn estate in Greenock during the 1600's and 1700's.

The castle, Kilbirnie Place, and Kilbirnie Auld Kirk form the lasting legacies of this cadet. The lovely Crawford Gallery (also known as the 'Laird's Loft') is a balcony overlooking the church's altar. It was commissioned by Thomas Crawford who brought carpenters from Italy to build it. Below is a photo of Kilbirnie Kirk. The rectangular mausoleum behind the church (at the front of the picture) is the tomb of Thomas Crawford (d.1603).

The 1st Baronetcy of Kilbirnie was conferred upon John Crauford of Kilbirnie in 1628. In 1662 the baronetcy became dormant, with John's death, until 1765 when Hew Crawford was made the second Baronet. He married into the Pollock family and assumed the name Pollock to inherit the Pollock estates. The baronetcy lapsed in 1885. A condition of the Craufurd baronetcy was that the title holder bear the surname Craufurd. A second incarnation of the baronetcy was conferred upon Alexander Craufurd of Newark [cadet of Auchenames] in 1781. He had 3 distinguished sons. The first was Sir James Craufurd who was the British Ambassador in Germany from 1798-1803. The second was Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Gregan-Craufurd (1761-1821) who served with great courage and daring in the Netherlands in 1794. The third was Major-General Robert Craufurd (1764-1812), "Black Bob" Commander of the Light Division in the Peninsular War. The current Baronet of Kilbirney is the 9th, Sir Robert J. Craufurd who resides in Lymington, England. Robin, as he is known, has been identified by our research as the senior most living member of The House of Crawford.

Kerse Estate and Baidland Castle

Reginald, the brother of Hugh, the third Crauford Lord of Loudoun (son of Hugh and grandson of Reginald), either through grant or marriage received the lands of Kerse (also Carse or Cars). It is probable that this was an estate near Dalrymple in East Ayrshire. The name is based on the Ragman Rolls, a list of land holders declaring fealty to King Edward of England in 1296. It is assumed from heraldic analysis that this Kerse was separate from Kerse Castle since the latter Craufords bear the Dalmagregan Arms. No description or accurate pictorial representation of Kerse castle seems to have survived. All that is left is a mound where the castle tower may have originally stood. The site of the estate is clearly identifiable through the presence beside the Bow Burn of substantial dykes and ditches, possible building platforms, evidence from old maps, march dykes, place names (Kerse Bridge & cottage), etc. Kerse Castle is said to have been dismantled (around 1760) to provide building material for the construction of Skeldon House. This cadet line is associated with the legend of a Kennedy-Crauford feud that lasted many generations and gave rise to a poem by Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, a descendent of the participants, titled "Skeldon Haughs" or, "The Flitting of the Sow".

An unnamed brother of Reginald, the Sheriff of Ayr in 1296 (4th of the Loudoun Crauford line) is credited with having received the lands of Baidland located on the west side of Dalry. Centuries later Baidland was sold by the last heir, James Crawfurd, and the estate of Ardmillan was purchased from his Kennedy in-laws. The Ardmillan estate was located on the coast a few miles south of Girvan, in southern Ayrshire. Ardmillan Castle burned in 1983 and the remaining structure was removed in 1990. Heraldic analysis suggests that the Baidland cadet may have sprung from the Kilbirnie branch, which evolved from Crawfordjohn. The origins of the Baidland cadet are thus unclear. The earliest reliable reference is to James Crawfurd of Baidland in 1546, though research by Kevin K. Crawford, who has investigated early Baidland has uncovered information about the relationships between cadet lines that may push our information back a century or more. Below is a photo in 2014 of descendants of the Ardmillan line seated on the stairs, only remaining structure of the old castle except for a garden pond and a section of the outer wall.

The Chiefly Line of Auchinames

The senior line of the Clan received a charter of lands at Auchinames in about 1320 from King Robert Bruce for outstanding service at the Battle of Bannockburn. Auchinames is found in the western outskirts of Johnstone in Renfrewshire, close to Glasgow. This land had been formerly in the possession of John Balliol and was forfeited when Bruce took the Crown. The Chief's line is detailed under the "Chiefs" tab. By tradition Hugh, a younger brother of the 1296 Sheriff of Ayr and of Margaret Crawfurd, mother of William Wallace, was the progenitor of this line. Hugh died in 1319 a few years after the Battle of Bannockburn but before the land charter of 1320. His son Reginald was the one granted Auchinames and the augmentation of Lances in saltire for his arms. The Bannatyne (or Bute) Mazer (communal drinking bowl) appears to have been commissioned around 1319 to commemorate the victory at Bannockburn and forever memorialize the importance of the House of Crawford alongside the handful of consistently loyal families closest to King Robert I ('the Bruce'). [See it and read about it under the About tab.]

Two important cadets of Auchenames were Thirdpart and Previck. The actual Baronet of Kilbirnie (the 9th), Sir Robert Craufurd, is a descendant of this line via Newark. He has been proposed as clan commander. As a descendant of the Auchenames line and having a genealogical tie to the last Crauford head of House, Hugh Ronald George Craufurd, Sir Robert is considered the rightful candidate to the chiefship. No challengers with a closer claim have come forth. Robin (as he is known) is our most eligible candidate.

Kerse Castle and Camlarg Cadet

There is some uncertainty about which Kerse is the one associated with the Craufords of Camlarg. Carse, cars, and kerse in Scots refers to Low and fertile land, usually close to a lake or other body of water. In Scotland there are several locations bearing this name. Kerse Castle is supposedly given to Reginald Crauford, a younger brother of Hugh, the second of Loudoun, thus would have pertained to the Crawfordjohn branch. Based on arms, Camlarg has been attributed to the Dalmagregan branch.

Camlarg was a cadet of Kerse, who was regularly feuding with the neighboring Kennedys. Feuding was not uncommon between related Scottish houses and clans. The trail of charters, grants, and wills between Dalmagregan cadets is both substantial and at times convoluted, with the exception of Balquhanny about which very little is known. The common feud with the Kennedys is supposedly based on the connection to the Campbells of Loudon. It was the Campbells and Kennedys that had an axe to grind. The Campbells in question appear to be descended from the Craufords of Loudon, which would have been through the heiress Susanna.

Fedderate Cadet and the Swedish Crafoords

The Barony of Fedderate and the corresponding Fedderate Castle were located in Aberdeenshire near Peterhead and Fraserburgh, well away from the Crauford homeland. The land was first mentioned in a charter from about 1206. “Magnus de fetherith” was the first known to use the name of the land as a surname. In 1289 Magnus also was amongst the great barons who consented to the marriage of the child queen Margaret, the “Maid of Norway” to the son of Edward I. The family of “de Federeth” through a fortunate marriage to one of the heiresses of Duffus, increased its prominence in the years preceding the Scottish Wars for Independence. By 1371, Fedderate had apparently descended to a minor heiress who was later married to Patrick Crauford, who became the first Crauford Baron of Fedderat. Patrick was also appointed Sheriff of Banff and then of Aberdeen under Robert II. Patrick was likely a younger son of one of the Crauford lines prominent in that period, but his precise origins have not yet been identified. However, recent Y-DNA analysis suggests a connection to Auchenmes.

By the 1500s, the lands associated with the barony had been greatly increased from those described in the 1206 charter and included superiority over some Highland estates as well. The Craufords held the barony for about 200 years. It was lost to them in the 1570s due -- at least in part -- to debt. The family of the old barons struggled unsuccessfully to regain their lands and status for decades thereafter, including engaging in a minor rebellion around 1590 in defiance of James VI's Privy Council. In the 17th century, two members of the Fedderate Craufords went to Sweden, with recordings dated 1614 and 1621. The line of one (Alexander) died out, but the other (Jacob) proliferated, with over 300 cousins forming a solid Swedish family with the surname of Crafoord. Their most notable member was Holger Crafoord, who founded the Crafoord Foundation, a Swedish equivalent to the Norwegian Nobel Foundation and with a similar mission.

There is no record of precisely when Fedderate Castle was built. However, it seems likely the castle was substantially renovated and enlarged by a William Crauford, who was baron from about 1474 to 1519. The resulting six-story conjoined or “L-plan” tower had rounded corners and thick granite walls. It was moated, accessible only by a drawbridge and “of old reckoned a great strength.” The surrounding land consisted mainly of bog and the castle must have provided a safe refuge. The castle was perhaps the last to hold out for James VII (also James II of England) and, as a result, was besieged by the forces of King William III (William of Orange) in 1690, during the civil strife of that period. However, the castle was still inhabited in 1696 and likely was only later ruined by the government following the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. The main cause for the destruction of the castle appears to have been that it was largely demolished for agricultural purposes! There are several legends relating to Fedderate. To find out about them read the book by John Crafoord in the House of Crawford volume titled "Our Roots in Scotland".

Haining Castle

These lands, west of Linlithgow, were granted to Reginald Crauford during the reign of James I. According to a charter dated 17 January 1424/5, they included a large part of the present parish. The Castle was built by the Craufords about 1470. The lands passed by marriage to the Livingstone family in 1540.

By 1676 the Castle was renamed Almond and in 1715 the lands were forfeited by the Livingstone's involvement in the Jacobite Rebellion. William Forbes, the ancestor of the current owner, purchased the Castle in 1783. The Castle was leased and eventually became unoccupied by 1797. While renovations were undertaken in 1600 by the Livingstones to add an East Wing, which no longer survives, the Castle has been in decline since passing from the Craufords. The Castle is reputed to be occupied by ghosts. The above picture of the ruins certainly would lend credence to that belief.

Dalmagregan Branch

By family tradition, for his part in saving the life of King David I in 1127, Sir Gregan Crauford was granted the use of arms of a stag with a cross between its antlers. He was given lands in Nithsdale, Ayrshire, where he was known as the "Lord of Tarengen". Sir Gregan became the progenitor of the Dalmagregan branch. Identified with this branch are the following estates: (1) Daleglis (Dalleagles), a farm 3 miles southwest of New Cumnock, (2) Drongan, (3) Drumsoy (Drumsey, Drumsuie, Drumsay [though not Drumry]), (4) Liffnorris (Lochnoris or Leifnoreis) (5) Torringzean Castle (Terringzean or Terangen), (5) Balquharry, (6) Auchincross and several others. The relationship between these cadets is difficult to decipher because records often do not state what the actual connection was. The most complete discussion of Crauford cadet lines is to be found in George Crawfurd's "Laurus Crawfordiana". This 17th century manuscript has been transcribed with commentary by Raymond Crawfurd and is available as the 4th volume of our series "The House of Crawford".

The intermarriage of lines sometimes complicates our understanding. For example, a Kerse Cadet with its offshoot at Camlarg appear to be descended from the Crawfordjohn Branch. They lived in South Ayrshire and intermarried with the Dalmagregan Branch. In later years, the Dalmagregan Branch married back into the Crawfordjohn Branch. A prime example of the intertwining relationships is revealed in the following diagram. This chart of Crawford intermarriages was developed by Kevan Crawford.

Terangen and Liffnoris

According to tradition Sir Gregan after 1127 was known as "Lord Dalmachregan of Crawfordton in Nithsdale". He also bore the title "Baron of Terangen". Terringzean Castle (pronounced "Tringan"), located about one mile west of Cumnock, was first noted in Exchequer Rolls in 1438. While it is now in ruin, it was observed during excavations in the 1890's to have tower walls 7 feet thick and was surrounded by a moat and steep embankments. The castle was first held by the Craufords and passed on to the Boyds some time before 1497. From the Boyds, the castle passed to the Ramsays before it was taken over by the Campbells. Sir Matthew Campbell of Loudoun was father-in-law to the Earl of Dumfries and sold the land to him in 1696. Below is what remains of Terringzean Castle from the west. During WWII a bomb fell through the castle wall (note the big hole) and remains undetonated within; because of the danger the castle is surrounded by a wire fence and kept inaccessible.

Liffnoris (also Lochnorris) has always been identified separate from Terangen. They are adjacent. The Liffnoris Estate had been occupied since the 1200's. It was also known as Craufurdstoun. Craufords separately held Liffnoris Castle. Only the dovecot survives from the old castle. Dumfries House was built on the grounds of Liffnoris. The Craufords relinquished these lands about 1630-35.

Drongan and Drumsoy

Drongan is located seven miles east of Ayr. The reference to Cathcart Craufords directly east of Ayr in a chartered land map dated between 1500-1700 lists this estate. The map also shows the adjacent Kerse Craufords. Drongan Castle became a stronghold of the Craufurds from before 1407, the date when John Craufurd of Drongan is listed as a charter witness. In 1623 the Liffnorris Estate incorporated it. The castle remains are found on the Drongan Mains Farm. The village of Drongan grew up near an early coal mine. Similar to many other villages in this part of East Ayrshire, Drongan saw prosperity when the pit mines were operational.

The adjacent Drumsuie Estate is younger that Drongan. The mound on which Drumsoy Castle stood is still visible. A cottage now occupies this site. The cobbles fronting it are said to be those which formed the floor of the medieval castle dungeons. The remaining walls of the old tower were dismantled early in the 19th century and the stones removed. The first proprietor of Drumsuie seems to have been William Craufurd, first mentioned in a writ under the Great Seal in 1567. Around 1700 Patrick Craufurd of Drumsoy (Drumsuie) married Jean Craufurd, the heiress of Auchenames, their marriage re-uniting the two principal lines of Craufords. The remains of the Drumsuie Castle are found on the Wee Drumsuie farm on the southwestern edge of town.


The Craufords occupied Dalleagles in the late 1300s. George Crawfurd names the earliest of this line as Roger Crawfurd. The Craufords sold the lands of Dalleagles in 1756 with heirs and descendants having moved to nearby Ayrshire towns.

The Wars of Independence

The picture is from Electric Scotland's article on William Wallace, by an unknown artist, who represents him in battle against the English. Based on his "Life of Sir William Wallace", Carrick describes Wallace's warrior skills as follows: "All powerful as a swordsman and unrivalled as an archer, his blows were fatal and his shafts unerring: as an equestrian, he was a model of dexterity and grace; while the hardships he experienced in his youth made him view with indifference the severest privations incident to a military life."

The well known and popular epic poem "The Wallace" by Blind Hary (written about 1475), depicts several Craufords as significant figures, especially his mother Margaret Crauford and her father and brother, Hugh and Reginald Crauford (though presented in the epic drama as Sir Reginald and Ronald). Many if not most Craufords during the early Wars of Independence appear to have been supporters of Wallace. Some dispute the credibility of Blind Hary without realizing that his writing was a collection of ballads emphasising different aspects of the life of Wallace that he compiled while travelling around Scotland. Chronology would be consistent only within each ballad. Some aspects would be improvised. However, after eliminating the little that we know about the supposed conflicts with regards to the historic record, we should note that the general outline of the stories coincides fairly well with documented history and geography. Blind Hary claimed that much of his ballad derived from a biography of Wallace by his priest and confessor Arnold Blair, a work that has been lost, though a copy may have been given to the Vatican and be somewhere in it's archives. It would mean the if Blind Hary did use Blair's biography of Wallace, it is likely that the outline of the biographical aspects of the story might be basically veridic. Many unsupported parts of the stories seem plausible. Thus it could be that the critics of Blind Hary may be defending a personal agenda when arguing against historical validity for the dramatic episodes. Another source of information on the 1st War of independence, including many military details of the war related to the exploits of Wallace and Bruce, is the "Chronicle of Lanercost", written by an English priest who was against Wallace and thus is a very negative report emphasizing his ostensible cruelty and viciousness. It is clearly not a unbiased view, but it is a source to confirm many of the details on the conflicts with the English between 1272 and 1346.

William Wallace was a leader of the Scottish rebellion against Edward I. Craufords appear to have been among Wallace's strongest supporters. A number of events may have precipitated his rebellion. Traditionally the murder of Wallace's uncle Reginald Crauford in June 1297 at the Barns of Ayr may have been one such event, as may have been the murder of Wallace's wife, Marion Braidfute, by William Heselrig, English High Sheriff of Lanark. Historians consider that if the tale of the Barns of Ayr is true, it would likely have been earlier in the year. At any rate the high point of the rebellion was the victory over the English army at Stirling Bridge in September 1297 which was planned and executed by Wallace jointly with Sir Andrew Moray, a Highland laird. Sir Reginald, identified as Wallace's grandfather by Blind Hary, according to the 1291 roll, which he signed, gave his allegiance to King Edward I ("known asLongshanks" and also as "The Hammer of the Scots"). Sir Reginald does not figure on the 1296 Ragman Rolls, however, he is appointed by King Edward in that same year as Sheriff of Ayr.

It was supposedly the death of William Wallace's father Adam Wallace at the hands of the English around 1291 that is suggested as having implanted in William a deep resentment of the English. Wallace was a very tall man and an archer; he was known as an experienced mercenary and an audacious guerilla. It is around this time that William started his revolt, with his uncle, Sir Reginald, ostensibly providing protection for William (at least according to Blind Hary) after each confrontation with the English. His guerrilla activities would have placed Sir Reginald and his family in danger. After a string of excuses and promises, the English probably lost confidence in Sir Reginald's ability to maintain the English peace. Edward ostensibly ordered the slaughter of land-holders in southern Scotland. Sir Reginald was again, according to Blind Hary, the first to be murdered in a gruesome mass hanging in the Barns of Ayr where the Scots were drawn under the guise of a peace conference. Wallace is portrayed as witnessing the aftermath and seeking immediate retribution by burning the English soldiers the following night as they slept in nearby barracks. Some say this is an unsupported account, while others affirm it is unrefuted. Yet Blind Hary's drama still stands as the best description we have of a historical record that is at best incomplete.

According to Blind Hary, Sir Reginald's oldest son, recorded as Ronald in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, became Sheriff and his younger son, William, joined the revolt with his cousin Wallace. Craufurdland's version has William as an ancestor within their line. Truthfully, it is not easy to be sure where to place William. He may have been from a completely different Crauford line (he had a landholding in Elcho near Aberdeen in northwestern Scotland) or even been an invention by Blind Hary as a supportive character. As a sympathetic figure, William Crawford has forged a place in historical tradition. As a legend he is much alive. After the English defeat at Stirling Bridge, Scottish nobles made Wallace the Guardian of Scotland and a Knight , while Wallace's second, John Graham, and Wallace's ostensible third, William Crawford, were also knighted. John Graham died at the battle of Falkirk. William is depicted as accompanying his cousin on a tour of the European trade centers, Paris and Rome. After the death of Sir Andrew Moray, William Wallace lost support of the Scottish nobles. The two cousins are described as sailing for France to further the cause of Scottish freedom. They assaulted the English wherever they could. The pair purportedly led the Scots Guard to two dashing military victories over the English while in France. But their desire was to return to Scotland to fight for Independence. When they returned to Scotland in 1303, they, at least according to Blind Hary, recuperated on the farm of William Crawford near the site of present day Elcho Castle. Unfortunately the English were warned and this led to a string of events before English attention was again drawn back to the chase that culminated with Wallace's betrayal by John Menteith and his subsequent capture by the English in Robroyston, in the environs of Glasgow.

Even with the betrayal of Wallace by Menteith and Wallace's subsequent execution in 1305, the House of Crauford continued in the fight for Independence. In late 1306, Wallace's cousin Reginald Crauford of Loudoun accompanied the Bruce's younger brothers on a campaign into Galloway in northern England. They were defeated in battle by an army of Galloway and handed over to the English. All three were executed at Carlisle in the winter of 1306/7. Hugh, another cousin and ostensibly the nephew of the 1297 Sheriff of Ayr, Reginald, was granted the former King's (John Balliol) Auchinames estate near the town of Johnston in compensation for his military contribution during the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Elderly and ill, he only lived a few years after the battle, dying in 1218/1219. It was his son Reginald who received the new estate around 1320. This Reginald was also granted an Augmentation to his arms of two lances in saltire on a silver shield between four spots of ermine to commemorate his valor at Bannockburn. It is his line that became senior and historically assumed the role of head of house.

Re-innactment of the Battle of Bannockburn on June 14, 2014, during the commemoration of the Battle's 700th anniversary.


Large sections of the above discourse is a summary of Crawford clan history extracted from Kevan Crawford's book "Sons of Freedom"; the book is no longer available. Joanne Crawford has done extensive editing and added to the text. Raymond Crawfurd reviewed the text and contributed to editing.

Sons of Freedom was based largely on George Crawfurd's Manuscript History of the Crawfurds, written in the 17th century and housed today in the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. George's manuscript bearing the title of "Laurus Crawfordiana" has been recently transcribed by Raymond Crawfurd, annotated, and published by the Association as the fourth volume of "The House of Crawford". It is available and can be ordered on-line. Several other publications are available on clan history and genealogy in the same series. Supplementary sources have included many historical records, including the Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland (CDS) and donation documents in Scotland's abbey records where early Crawfords figure as witnesses.