Scottish Clan Tours
Researching your family tree is a voyage of discovery. Full of intrigue, exotic names and fascinating histories. It is a pastime that rewards again and again. But those who simply trace their family tree from the comfort of their own home are missing out on the real story of their heritage.
For the whole exciting picture, you need to visit the places you read about. And that means a trip to Scotland. To help you plan your trip, we've compiled a number of clan-themed touring itineraries . So if you see your clan name, just follow the trail and walk in your ancestors' footsteps.
The Lindsays came to prominence in both Scotland and England in the eleventh
century; here we will consider their Scottish history which took place in the
lands of Lanarkshire and Midlothian in the southern Lowlands and in Fife, Angus
and Kincardineshire in the eastern Highlands.
Throughout the centuries there have been famous Lindsays in many fields, in the arts, literature, history, music, science, astronomy, the church and government. It is said that since 1147 Lindsays have held seats in almost every Parliament, either Scottish or English. This itinerary will take you to some of the places linked with these Lindsays and perhaps you will discover something about your own ancestors from the distant past.
Arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland's magnificent historic capital. You'll be spoilt for things to do and places to visit. A good starting point is the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street. Here, you'll find the history of Scotland from early geological times through to the present day. At the nearby Scottish Genealogical Society library in Victoria Terrace you'll find plenty of fellow travellers and enthusiastic researchers, as well as a wealth of genealogical information and guidance. No appointment is necessary but there is a small charge for non-members.
Throughout the history of Scotland the Lindsay Earls of Crawford took part in the most notable events. At the wedding banquet of Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley, the Earl of Crawford was given the honour of cupbearer, and remained faithful to her cause throughout her life. You can visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the end of the Royal Mile to see the place where Lord Darnley married Queen Mary. The new Scottish Parliament lies nearby. At the other end of the Royal Mile is Edinburgh Castle, from the battlements of which you can enjoy commanding views out over both the New and Old towns of Edinburgh. In 1661 a Lindsay was rewarded for his eminent service during the civil war by being made Earl of Balcarres. He became the hereditary governor of Edinburgh Castle. In addition he was the Secretary of State for Scotland and High Commissioner to the General Assembly. Later in 1681 John Lindsay, Lord Menmuir's daughter helped the Covenanting Earl of Argyll escape from the castle by taking him out as a page holding up her train. Spend a second night in this fine historic city.
The early history of the Lindsays takes place in ancient Haddingtonshire, the area to the east of Edinburgh, so leave the city and travel east on the A1 towards Haddington. Make your way to Aberlady and Luffness. Luffness Castle is now the site of a tower house having been knocked down on the orders of Lord Hertford following his victory over the Scots in 1547. East of Aberlady lie the thirteenth century ruins of a Carmelite monastery, the monks of which were granted freedom from tolls at the port by the Lindsay landowners. The ruins of Garleton Castle are said to be on the site of the land owned by the Lindsays and was the birth place of Sir David Lindsay of the Mount who wrote the famous play 'Ane Satyre of the Three Estaitis'. Make your way to Haddington which has seen a thousand years of history as the gateway to Edinburgh and has been in the path of many marauding armies. The High Street and Market Street are a warren of wynds and lanes and contrast greatly with the grand buildings of Court Street. St Mary's is Scotland's largest parish church and is well worth exploring. Drive south to Dryburgh Abbey. It is a fine example of ecclesiastic architecture, despite having suffered in four wars and being burnt down three times. Ayrshire land was donated by William Lindsay of Crawford to Dryburgh Abbey. Continue west to Crawford, the site of the first clan chief's seat at Crawford Castle, enjoying the rolling hills and forests of the Border country as you go. The ruins of Crawford Castle are on the site of the original Tower Lindsay. William Wallace stormed the tower and took it from the English garrison, killing fifty of them in the assault. The Crawford-Lindsays held this land for several centuries and over to the west of the A74(M) you can visit the quiet and attractive hamlet of Crawford-John. The Crawford-John Heritage Venture has rural craft exhibitions and historical records to research your family roots.(Opening times are limited).
It's time to head north to Stirling, best known for its associations with Scotland's hero, William Wallace and the Battle of Stirling Bridge. During this period the Lindsay knights were prominent in both England and Scotland and so were in a dilemma as to which side to support. They forfeited much of their land in England as a result of moving their support to the independence of Scotland. Sir Philip Lindsay took part with Edward of England against the Scots in the Wars of Succession, invaded Scotland with Percy, and was present at the siege of Stirling, but went over to Bruce after Bannockburn. A mile or so southwest of the historic city of Stirling is the very poignant site of the Battle of Bannockburn (1314) . Less well known is the battle of Sauchieburn which took place near Stirling in 1488 and led to the death of King James III. James was an unpopular King and, backed by his disgruntled nobles, his son James took arms and defeated him at Sauchieburn. At that time Sir John, Lord Lindsay of the Byres was made Lord of Parliament and it was his son David who, on the eve of the battle, gave King James III the 'great grey horse'. The horse was to carry him faster than any other horse into or away from the battle; unfortunately the horse threw the King with fatal consequences! Lord Lindsay himself brought a four thousand strong army from Fife to the battle. Whilst in Stirling visit the impressive Stirling Castle, a favoured royal retreat for the Stuart dynasty and the childhood home of Mary, Queen of Scots.
The Lindsay clan was prevalent in the area to the northeast of Stirling so our journey will explore the lands of Balcarres, Edzell and Glenesk. Make your way east to Loch Leven, and if time allows visit the Lochleven Castle. Built on an island in the loch it is a remarkably complete example of a castle enclosure and is well worth exploring. It was the place where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in 1567 and where Patrick the sixth Lord of Lindsay forced her to give up her crown. Continue east into the heart of the Kingdom of Fife. Colinsburgh and Kilconquhar are situated a few miles south of St Andrews. Balcarres, Colinsburgh is the home of the current clan chief, Sir Robert Alexander Lindsay, twenty-ninth Earl of Crawford and twelfth Earl of Balcarres. In 1997 he was created a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle. Explore the country roads and hamlets and the beaches around Earlsferry. Stop off in the historic city of St Andrews.
Travel north to cross the river Tay to Dundee; this is the home of the Black Watch regiment. John the twentieth Earl of Crawford was the first commander of this regiment (then known as Lord Crawford-Lindsay's Highlanders) and their history and traditions are displayed in the museum at Balhousie Castle in Dundee. Earls of Crawford lived and married in a family mansion in Nethergate, Dundee. 12 miles north of Dundee is Glamis Castle, where the spirit of "Earl Beardie" Crawford is said to be locked in a secret room to gamble for all eternity with the devil! Glamis Castle has played an important part in the nation's history. Travel northeast to Brechin where you should take some time out from your itinerary to admire the magnificent stained glass in the cathedral. A few miles north of Brechin you will find Edzell and Glenesk. The Edzell and Glenesk branch of the Lindsay family descended from the son of the ninth Earl of Crawford. Edzell Castle was home to these Lindsays from 1358 until 1715. The restored gardens (originally designed and built by Sir David Lindsay in 1604) and castle include a visitor centre. Don't miss the best preserved room in the castle, situated on the upper floor of the summer house. To venture off the beaten track travel on into the flanks of the Cairngorm Mountains along Glen Esk. Near Tarfside is the Glenesk Folk Museum which gives an insight into local crafts and the local way of life. Back on the A90 continue northeast to Stonehaven.
On the coast at Stonehaven you will find Dunnottar Castle set in a spectacular location on a rocky coastal outcrop. The second Sir William of the Byres married a daughter of Sir William Keith, Marischal of Scotland and with her got the castle of Dunnottar. Now it is time to head back to Edinburgh. Take the picturesque coastal route south through Montrose and Arbroath, famous for the Declaration of Arboath. In 1320 at Arbroath Abbey the Abbot drafted a formal document to Pope John XXII asking him to pressurise Edward II to recognise Robert as King of Scotland. It was signed by 39 Scots Lords including David of Lindsay. Tartan Day on 6 April each year in the US honours this event. Arbroath Abbey has a visitor centre where you can find out more about the most famous document in Scottish history.
Return to Edinburgh to embark on your journey home. Take with you some souvenirs of Scotland and lots of memories of a place steeped in the myths, legends and heritage of your ancestors.
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