The House of Crawford is a Lowland Scottish family bearing the surname Crawford. The Crawford surname derives from the barony of Crawford in Clydesdale in the Southern Uplands. It dates from the 12th century when surnames were first adopted in Scotland. Crawfords have spread around the world .
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 at Carlisle 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. 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 possibly 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.
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