Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford

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Alexander William Crawford Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford, 8th Earl of Balcarres (16 October 1812 – 13 December 1880), styled Lord Lindsay between 1825 and 1869, was a Scottish peer, art historian and collector.


Lindsay was born at Muncaster Castle in Cumbria, the son of James Lindsay, 24th Earl of Crawford. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1] On 23 July 1846 he married Margaret Lindsay, daughter of Lt Gen James Lindsay and sister of Robert James Loyd-Lindsay VC KCB, 1st and last Baron Wantage of Lockinge. They had 7 children, including his heir, James Ludovic and Anne Lindsay, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's paternal aunt-by-marriage.

He travelled widely studying art. He published Progression by Antagonism in 1846 and Sketches of the History of Christian Art in 1847. He became an avid art collector and many of his acquisitions are on display in galleries around the world.[2]

He travelled to the Middle East in 1837/38, writing Letters on Egypt, Edom and the Holy Land.[3] Later, he wrote Etruscan Inscriptions Analysed (1872), and The Earldom of Mar during 500 years (1882).[1]

His other passion was genealogy. He was the author of the three volume Lives of the Lindsays on the genealogy of his family.[4] In 1868 he published A memoir of Lady Anna Mackenzie, countess of Balcarres and afterwards of Argyll, 1621-1706, which recorded the life of Lady Anna Mackenzie.[5]

He inherited the earldom of Crawford and the earldom of Balcarres from his father James Lindsay, 24th Earl of Crawford, 7th Earl of Balcarres and was succeeded by his son James Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.

Lindsay died in 1880 in Florence, Italy and his coffin was brought home for burial in a new family crypt at Dunecht House, near Aberdeen. Some time afterwards the body was stolen and eventually recovered from a shallow grave 14 months later. A monument marks where the body was found at Dunecht but the Earl's remains were buried again in the family vault in Wigan.[1] A local poacher was convicted of grave-robbing.[6][7]

Bibliotheca Lindesiana[edit]

The Bibliotheca Lindesiana, was planned by Lord Lindsay and both he and his eldest son were instrumental in building it up to such an extent that was one of the most impressive private collections in Britain at the time, both for its size and for the rarity of some of the materials it contained.

The bulk of the library was kept at Haigh Hall in Lancashire with a part at Balcarres. The 26th Earl issued an extensive catalogue of the library in 1910: Catalogue of the Printed Books Preserved at Haigh Hall, Wigan, 4 vols. folio, Aberdeen University Press, printers. Companion volumes to the catalogue record the royal proclamations and philatelic literature. The cataloguing and organization of the library was a major task for a team of librarians led by J. P. Edmond. The manuscript collections (including Chinese and Japanese printed books) were sold in 1901 to Enriqueta Augustina Rylands for the John Rylands Library.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Crawford, Earls of" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 385.
  2. ^ Alexander, Lord Lindsay
  3. ^ A critical dictionary of English literature, Volume 2, By Samuel Austin Allibone
  4. ^ "Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  5. ^ A memoir of Lady Anna Mackenzie, countess of Balcarres and afterwards of Argyll, 1621-1706, Alexander Crawford Lindsay, 1868
  6. ^ Roughead, William (1913), Twelve Scots Trials, W. Green & Sons, pp. 248–272
  7. ^ "Sale of Dunecht", Aberdeen Daily Journal, British Newspaper Archive (17159), p. 4, 10 January 1910, retrieved 12 July 2014
  8. ^ Guppy, Henry (1946) "The 'Bibliotheca Lindesiana'", in: Bulletin of the John Rylands Library; vol. 30, pp. 185-94

Further reading[edit]

  • Barker, Nicolas (1978) Bibliotheca Lindesiana: the Lives and Collections of Alexander William, 25th Earl of Crawford and 8th Earl of Balcarres, and James Ludovic, 26th Earl of Crawford and 9th Earl of Balcarres. London: for Presentation to the Roxburghe Club, and published by Bernard Quaritch

External links[edit]

Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
James Lindsay
Earl of Balcarres
Succeeded by
James Lindsay
Preceded by
James Lindsay
Earl of Crawford
de jure