John Lindsay, 6th Earl of Crawford

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John Lindsay

Birthplace: Scotland, (Present UK)
Death: September 09, 1513
Branxton, Northumberland, England, (Present UK) (Killed as a Scottish field commander in the Battle of Flodden Field.)
Place of Burial: Dundee, Angus, Scotland, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of David Lindsay, 5th Earl of Crawford, 1st Duke of Montrose and Elizabeth Hamilton, Countess of Crawford
Husband of Mariot Home, Countess of Crawford
Brother of Elizabeth Lindsay; Margaret Lindsay; Elizabeth Lindsey and Alexander Lindsay, Master of Crawford

Managed by: Noah Tutak
Last Updated:

About John Lindsay, 6th Earl of Crawford

From Darryl Lundy's Peerage page on John Lindsay, 6th Earl of Crawford:

John Lindsay, 6th Earl of Crawford [1]

  • M, #20411,
  • d. 9 September 1513
  • Last Edited=19 Feb 2011
  • Consanguinity Index=0.46%

John Lindsay, 6th Earl of Crawford married Mariot Home, daughter of Alexander Home, 2nd Lord Home and Nichole Ker, between January 1493 and August 1493.[1]

He died on 9 September 1513 at Flodden Field, Northumberland, England, killed in action, without legitimate issue.[1] He was buried at Dundee, Angus, Scotland.[2]

He was the son of David Lindsay, 1st Duke of Montrose and Elizabeth Hamilton.[1]

  • He succeeded to the title of 6th Earl of Crawford [S., 1398] on 25 December 1495.[1]
  • He held the office of a Governor from Tay to Shetland in 1503.[1]
  • In 1509 he mortgaged the Shrievalty of Aberdeen to William, Earl of Erroll.[1]
  • He fought in the Battle of Flodden on 9 September 1513.[1]


  • 1. [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume III, page 513. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • 2. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, page 514.


From the English Wikipedia page on the Battle of Flodden:

The Battle of Flodden or Flodden Field or occasionally Battle of Branxton was fought in the county of Northumberland in northern England on 9 September 1513, between an invading Scots army under King James IV and an English army commanded by the Earl of Surrey. It ended in victory for the English army, and was the largest battle (in terms of numbers) fought between the two nations.[4]

This conflict began when James IV, King of Scots declared war on England to honour the Auld Alliance with France by diverting Henry VIII's English troops from their campaign against the French king Louis XII. Henry VIII had also opened old wounds by claiming to be the overlord of Scotland which angered the Scots and the King. At this time England was involved in the War of the League of Cambrai – defending Italy and the Pope from the French (see Italian Wars) as a member of the "Catholic League".

Scottish Invasion

Using the pretext of revenge for the murder of Robert Kerr, a warden of the Scottish East March who had been killed by John "The Bastard" Heron in 1508, James invaded England with an army of about 30,000 men in 1513.[4] In keeping with his understanding of the medieval code of chivalry, King James sent notice to the English, one month in advance, of his intent to invade. This gave the English time to gather an army and, as importantly, to retrieve the banner of Saint Cuthbert from the Cathedral of Durham, a banner which had been carried by the English in victories against the Scots in 1138 and 1346.[5][6]

After a muster on the Burgh Muir of Edinburgh, the Scottish host moved to Ellemford, to the north of Duns, and camped to wait for Angus and Home, and then crossed the River Tweed near Coldstream. By the 29 August, Norham Castle was taken and partly demolished.

The Scots moved south capturing the castles of Etal and Ford.[7] A later chronicler, Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie, tells the story that James wasted valuable time at Ford enjoying the company of Lady Heron and her daughter.[8]


The battle actually took place near the village of Branxton, in the county of Northumberland, rather than at Flodden — hence the alternative name is Battle of Branxton. The Scots had previously been stationed at Flodden Edge, to the south of Branxton, which the Earl of Surrey compared to a fortress.

Surrey moved to block off the Scots' route north and so James was forced to move his army and artillery 2 miles to Branxton Hill.[9] The Scottish artillery included; 5 great curtals; 2 great culverins; 4 sakers; and 6 great serpentines.[10] When the armies were within 3 miles of each other Surrey sent Rouge Croix pursuivant to James who answered that he would wait till noon.

At 11 o'clock Lord Howard's vanguard and artillery crossed the Twissell Bridge. (Pitscottie says the king would not allow the Scots artillery to fire on the vulnerable English during this manouevre.)[11] The Scots army was in good order in 5 formations, after the Almain (German) manner. On Friday afternoon the Scots host descended without speaking any word to meet the English.[12]

According to English report, first the groups commanded by the Earls of Huntly and Crawford totalling 6000 men engaged Lord Howard and were repulsed and mostly slain. Baron Dacre's company fought Huntly and the Chamberlain Lord Home's men.[13] Then James IV himself leading a great force came on to Surrey and Lord Darcy's son who bore the brunt of the battle. Lennox and Argyll's commands were met by Sir Edward Stanley.[14]

Western side of the battlefield, looking south-south-east from the monument erected in 1910. The Scottish army advanced down the ploughed field, the English down the grassy field in the foreground, and they met, presumably at the valley boundary between the two fields.

James was killed within a spear length from Surrey and his body taken to Berwick.[15] The 'rent surcoat of the King of Scots stained with blood' was sent to Henry VIII at Tournai.[16]

The biggest error the Scots made was placing their officers in the front line, medieval style. A Scottish letter of January 1514 contrasts this loss of the nobility with the English great men who took their stand with the reserves and at the rear.[17] The English generals stayed behind the lines in the Renaissance style.

The loss of so many Scottish officers meant there was no one to coordinate a retreat.[18]

Tactics and aftermath

Flodden was essentially a victory of bill used by the English over the pike used by the Scots. As a weapon, the pike was effective only in a battle of movement, especially to withstand a cavalry charge. The pike had become a Swiss weapon of choice and represented modern warfare. The hilly terrain of Northumberland, the nature of the combat, and the slippery footing did not allow it to be employed to best effect.

Bishop Ruthall reported to Wolsey, 'the bills disappointed the Scots of their long spears, on which they relied.'[19]

The infantrymen at Flodden, both Scots and English, had fought in a fashion that in essence would have been familiar to their ancestors, and it has rightly been described as the last great medieval battle in the British Isles. This was the last time that bill and pike would come together as equals in battle. Two years later Francis I defeated the Swiss pikemen at the Battle of Marignano, using a combination of heavy cavalry and artillery, ushering in a new era in the history of war. An official English diplomatic report issued by Brian Tuke noted the Scots' iron spears but concluded: 'the English halberdiers decided the whole affair, so that in the battle the bows and ordnance were of little use.'[20]

Despite Tuke's comment (he was not present), tactically, this battle was one of the first major engagements on the British Isles where artillery was significantly deployed. John Lesley, writing 60 years later, noted the Scottish bullets flew over the English heads while the English cannon was effective, the one army placed so high and the other so low.[21]

The battle is considered the last decisive use of the longbow, yet through the 16th century the English longbowmen continued to have success, as in the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. Many of these archers were recruited from Lancashire and Cheshire.

Every noble family in Scotland was supposed to have lost a member at Flodden. The dead are remembered by the song (and pipe tune) "The Flowers of the Forest";

  • We'll hae nae mair lilting, at the yowe-milking,
  • Women and bairns are dowie and wae.
  • Sighing and moaning, on ilka green loaning,
  • The flowers of the forest are all wede away.


Surrey's army lost 1,500 men killed.[1]

There were various conflicting accounts of the Scottish loss. A contemporary French source, the Gazette of the Battle of Flodden, said that about 10,000 Scots were killed,[3] a claim made by Henry VIII on 16 September while he was still uncertain of the death of James IV. Italian newsletters put the Scottish losses at 18 or 20 thousand and the English at 5000. Brian Tuke, the English Clerk of the Signet, sent a newsletter stating 10,000 Scots killed and 10,000 escaped the field. Tuke reckoned the total Scottish invasion force to have been 60,000 and the English army at 40,000.[26] George Buchanan wrote in his History of Scotland (published in 1582) that, according to the lists that were compiled throughout the counties of Scotland, there were about 5,000 killed.[2] A plaque on the monument to the 2nd Duke of Norfolk (as the Earl of Surrey became in 1514) at Thetford put the figure at 17,000.[2]

Notable men who died included:

  • James IV , King of Scots (1488–1513); died in battle
  • Alexander Stewart, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Lord Chancellor of Scotland; died in battle
  • Lieutenant General Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll; died in battle
  • John Lindsay, 6th Earl of Crawford, Scottish field commander.
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John Lindsay, 6th Earl of Crawford's Timeline

Scotland, (Present UK)
September 9, 1513
Age 30
Branxton, Northumberland, England, (Present UK)
Dundee, Angus, Scotland, United Kingdom