Lawrence Crawford, 1611-45

Devout Scottish professional who commanded the Eastern Association infantry and quarrelled with Cromwell over religious extremism in the ranks.

Born at Jordanhill, Glasgow, Lawrence Crawford became a professional soldier at the age of 15. He fought in the armies of Christian IV of Denmark, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden and Charles Louis, the Elector Palatine. In 1641, he went to Ireland as a colonel of infantry under the Marquis of Ormond in the Confederate War.

When the Cessation of 1643 was signed, Crawford angrily refused to take the oath renouncing Presbytrianism which Ormond imposed upon the Irish army. He also refused to be transferred to England to serve King Charles, regarding the Royalists as little better than Papists. Ormond had him arrested, but Crawford escaped to Scotland, then went to England, where he persuaded Parliament to grant him a commission. In 1644, he was appointed Major-General of Foot to Edward Montagu, Earl of Manchester, in the Eastern Association army.

Almost as soon as he was commissioned, Crawford quarrelled with Lieutenant-General Oliver Cromwell over Cromwell's toleration of Independents and religious radicals amongst his officers and men. After the battle of Marston Moor, Cromwell demanded that Crawford be dismissed from command. The Earl of Manchester called on the Committee for Both Kingdoms to mediate, but Cromwell himself withdrew the demand in the interests of military expediency. Crawford supported Manchester when Cromwell denounced his leadership before the House of Commons in December 1644.

Rather than serve in the New Model Army, Crawford transferred to Parliament's Western Association army under the command of fellow-Presbyterian Edward Massie. He was killed in action at the siege of Hereford in August 1645 and buried in Gloucester Cathedral; his monument was removed at the Restoration.


C.H. Firth, revised by Sean Kelsey, Lawrence Crawford, Oxford DNB, 2004.