Clan Crawford is an ancient lowland House recognised by the Court of the Lord Lyon, which is the heraldic authority of Scotland, as an armigerous clan. More properly a “House” as most of the lowland families were titled, Clan Crawford is considered armigerous because Crawfords are matriculated with the Lyon Court as armigers.The clan is without a chief recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. The last internally recognized chief was Hugh Ronald George Craufurd, who sold his land (Auchenames, Crosbie and other estates) and moved to Canada in 1904. He died in Calgary in 1942, leaving no male heirs.

The House of Crawford considers all those surnamed Crawford as descended from a common ancestor. The name Crawford or Craufurd is derived from the Barony of Crawford in Lanarkshire. The most complete history of the House of Crawford was written by the historian George Crawfurd in the early 1600s. In line with George Crawfurd account, the House acknowledges as its progenitor the Anglo-Danish chief Thorlongus (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. Thorlongus also held lands in Northumbria. He fled to Scotland in the winter of 1068-9 when William the Conqueror ravaged Northumbria. Thorlongus served under Malcom Cadmore during the Dano-Scottish war with William the Conqueror. He was granted lands in Ednam by King Edgar around 1107. Thorlongus 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 claims of a Reginald, supposedly a son of the Earl of Richmond, to be a Norman knight brought to Scotland by David I of Scotland as progenitor of the Crawfords is untenable, since the Durham Cathedral documents date from the early 12th century, during the reign of King Edgar and clearly name Thorlongus as Overlord of Crawford. Furthermore, Reginald was born after Gregan, his reputed grandson. Gregan is the knight who saved King David I’s life from the attack of a stag in 1127AD that led to the grateful monarch founding Holyrood Abbey. Reginald de Craufurd as son of Galfridus lived at an earlier time, being born around 1075-80AD.

Galfridus de Craufurd divided the Barony of Crawford between his two sons, Hugh and Reginald, Hugh receiving the Barony and the portion given to Reginald became known as Crawfordjohn after Reginald’s son John. John de Craufurd witnessed a charter of Abbott Arnold to Theobald Flamaticus for Douglas Water (date). Johannes de Crawford, great-great-grandson of Galfridus de Craufurd, through his eldest son Hugh (d. 1248), had two daughters - the youngest who married William Lindsay, ancestor of the Earls of Crawford. The eldest daughter Margaret married Archibald Douglas, progenitor of the Earls of Douglas. A later Reginald de Crawford, of the Crawfordjohn line, married James de Loudon’s daughter and heir, Margaret. In 1196, during the reigin of William I of Scotland, Sir Reginald Crawford was appointed Sheriff of Ayr. He was succeeded by his son, Hugh Crawford of Loudon, Sheriff of Ayr.

From Sir Reginald of Loudoun descends the main branch of the Crawfords, named “of Auchinames.” This branch of the clan received lands from Robert I of Scotland in 1320. From a younger son of the Sheriff descend the Crawfords of Craufurdland. This man’s claim to the property was confirmed by Robert III of Scotland in 1391. The third branch of Crawfords are the Crawfords of Kilbirnie, who claim descent from Sir John of Crawfordjohn. The Crawfords of Kilbirnie acquired the Kilbirnie estates in 1499. Another important marriage of the Crawfords was that of Sir Reginald Crawford’s sister Margaret and Sir Alan Wallace of Ellerslie. In 1781 a baronetcy was conferred to this branch of the clan.

Clan Crawford is does not have a chief recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. Because of this the clan is considered an armigerous clan, and is not recognised under Scots Law. The clan is not currently represented at the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs. Peter Houison Craufurd of Craufurdland petitioned the Lyon Court in October, 2007 for Chiefship of this name. The petition is currently docketed for review by the newly appointed Lord Lyon. The modern crest badge of a member of Clan Crawford contains the crest: a stag’s head erased Gules, between the attires a cross crosslet fitchée Sable. Encircling the crest on the crest badge is a strap and buckle engraved with the motto: TUTUM TE ROBORE REDDAM (from Latin: “I will give you safety by strength”).

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