William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton
William Crichton, 1st Lord Crichton (died 1454) was an important political figure in the late medieval Kingdom of Scotland.
The son of Sir John Crichton of Crichton, William Crichton is first attested to as one of the Scots noblemen and gentry who were given safe passage into England to meet James I of Scotland, following the latter's release from captivity.
Crichton was one of eighteen gentlemen to receive the honour of knighthood at the coronation of King James on 21 May 1424, and was made a Gentleman of the Bedchamber.
In 1426, Crichton, described as a knight of the royal chamber, along with William Fowlis, the royal almoner, and Thomas de Cranston, King's squire were sent as envoys to the court of Eric III of Norway, to negotiate a continuation of the peace between their respective countries. Upon his return he was appointed governor of Edinburgh Castle, Master of the Royal Household and by 1435 Sheriff of Edinburgh.
During the King's minority, Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas was Regent. In 1440, after his death, Crichton and Sir Alexander Livingston invited the 16-year-old William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas and his brother to dinner in Edinburgh Castle, and murdered them, despite the young King's pleas for their lives. This brutal incident of murder and betrayal of hospitality has become known as the ‘Black Dinner’ and was an inspiration for the famous "Red Wedding" massacre in the Game of Thrones series.
Crichton was sent in 1448 to the continent, accompanied by the Secretary of State, John de Ralston Bishop of Dunkeld and Nicholas Otterburn who would latterly assume that position. The purpose of this embassy was not only to ratify the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France, but to find a bride for the as yet unmarried King James. Crichton and his company proceeded on to the Duchy of Burgundy, where they negotiated with Duke Philip for a suitable match for the King. Mary of Guelders, daughter of Arnold, Duke of Guelders, and niece of Duke Philip was chosen. Crichton escorted the future Queen back to Scotland, where they landed at Leith on 18 June 1449.
In 1450 he made a considerable loan to James II. He also invested his wealth in Crichton Castle, adding to it and transforming it into an impressive courtyard castle.
Marriage and issue
Crichton in fiction
- Fœdera vol iv p 102
- Balfour Paul,vol iii, p57
- Crawfurd, p 26
- Crawfurd, pp26-27
- Reg.Dip.Dan pp.607-608
- the 6th Earl of Douglas, his brother David
- Balfour Paul, vol iii, p 60
- Cokayne, vol iii pp 537-538
- Balfour Paul vol iii, p 61
- Balfour Paul, Sir James, Scots Peerage IX vols. Edinburgh 1904
- The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom : extant, extinct, or dormant ed.George Cokayne et al. London 1910
- Fraser, Sir William, The Douglas Book IV vols. Edinburgh 1885.
- Rymer Thomas, Fœdera XVI vols, The Hague 1739.
- Regesta Diplomatica Historiae Danicae, Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen 1889.
- article which mentions him