“Yes mother, I went to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, where this Baronet was awarded to me by Her Majesty the Queen herself,” I said to Mum, and Aunty Bea was smiling broadly. “My great nephew a Baronet, I would not have ever guessed for that to happen, I am so proud of you,” Aunty Bea said to me.
I chuckled a little, and suddenly I realised that I had picked up Robert’s habit, as I walked with my family out of the terminal and to the car park and twenty minutes later, we arrived home, which is so small compared to what I had been staying for nearly two weeks.
For the rest of the afternoon, I told Mum and Aunty Bea about my holiday in Scotland, visiting all of the homes and places that were or still are owned by the family, including meeting Cousin Alexander and his family at Archerfield Estate, and the two-day holiday to Zurich, Switzerland, on the return journey.
I informed Mum and Aunty Bea that Cousin Robert would be coming back to Australia in time for the mid-year school holidays, so he can take us on a short holiday around Tasmania. A day before school was due to start for another term; I caught up with two of my friends, Craig Ballard and Brad Cooper, while attending the St John’s Anglican Church.
We attend St John’s when on school holidays, which we are in the choir for St John’s, and during school, we attend the School’s own chapel. After the church service, Craig invited us both too have lunch with his family, and go horse riding afterwards, which we accepted, as we enjoyed visiting his place, which is just 28 kilometres north- north east of school, in North Lilydale.
The property is four and a half kilometres from the town of Lilydale, with the 50 acres property having a mixture of grazing land, some bushland, and they have set horse trails on the property. “So how was your holiday to Scotland?” Brad asked me as we began our ride after lunch.
“Great, had all sorts of adventures, played golf at St Andrews, saw a lot of ancestral properties, so which are still owned by the family, and some are not. Did a lot of looking around Edinburgh, including the castle and Holyrood, and my cousin even treat me to two and a bit days in Zurich, Switzerland, before flying home,” I replied.
“What is Holyrood?” Craig asked me, “It is a palace, which is the Queen’s Scottish residence,” I replied smiling, “What? You went to see the Queen?” Brad asked sounding shocked, and I chuckled, “Actually yes, I did meet her, I was nervous as hell too,” I replied.
“Wow dude, that is incredible, does your Cousin know here?” Craig asked, “Well yes, he is the Earl of Crawford, so he does attend some of the special events like all British aristocrats,” I replied. “But you said you don’t have a title, because you are only a second cousin, so how did you get to meet her?” Brad enquired.
“Unknown to me, Cousin Robert had made a request to give up one of his minor titles, the Baron of Wigan, so as to allow me be given the title of Baronet of Wigan, which Her Majesty conferred on me on my second day in Scotland,” I replied.
“Holy cow, you are a Baronet. What exactly does that mean?” Craig asked, “Well, a Baronet is one rank above a Knight and one rank below a Baron, so my official title now is Sir Edwin Crawford, Baronet of Wigan BT,” I replied.
“Oh, I can see it now, the teachers and students calling you Sir Edwin,” Brad stated, “That is why I need you to keep it a secret, as I don’t want to have any problems with media and all of that stuff. I am just ordinary Edwin, who just happens to have a cousin who is an Earl and has a title. I want to ask you both, without revealing my new title, to help-out with being my minders of sorts, and in return, you will be rewarded with some holidays somewhere in Australia, starting with the midyear school holidays,” I stated.
“You have a deal there buddy; you can count me in,” Craig said, “Me too mate, we are now your official body guards,” Brad added. “Good, as I may need your support when we return to school tomorrow, as the headmaster already knows about the bullying that took place at the end of last term,” I said.
We enjoyed a few hours of horse riding, before returning to the stables to unsaddle and clean the horses, feed them and let them enjoy the rest of the day, and as we approached the house, I recognised Mum’s car in the driveway.
After thanking Craig’s mum for lunch and the hospitality, Mum and I headed back to Mowbray. “There is a disused small railway line here, which I would like to talk to Robert about, to see if we could get it restored and operational again,” I commented to Mum.
“That’s nice, but who is going to pay for it? Sounds like a very expensive project,” Mum responded, “That is what I need to speak to Robert about,” I replied. When we arrived back at home, I checked the time, and worked out the time difference, and it was just after 9 am in Scotland, so I dialled Robert’s number.
“Hello Edwin, have you missed me already?” Robert said when he answered the call and I chuckled at this comment, “No, I just wanted to ask you something and… I just remembered, you are still in Zurich, so you must be an hour or two ahead of time to your home,” I replied.
“That is right, two hours, now what is it that you wanted to ask?” Robert said to me, “Well you mentioned the Wilderness railway on the west coast of Tasmania. I was at a friend’s place today horse riding, and there is a disused railway line nearby that goes from Scottsdale, all the way down to Launceston, and I was wondering if restoring that would be an ideal project instead of buying us a holiday home,” I said.
“Well, that is an interesting proposal, send me as much information as you can by email, and I will look into it for you. That is all I can do until I see the information and make an assessment of the project,” Robert said to me.
After the phone call, I went online and researched the rail line, and emailed it all to Robert, and by the time I had done that, it was time for dinner, and straight after I had a shower and went to bed early, as I was still a little tired from all of the travelling.
When I woke the next morning, to the sound of my Mum calling out that I had better get up soon, or I would miss school, and I groaned on hearing that it was back to school today. I quickly dressed, before going online to check my emails, and there was an email from Robert, but I did not have time to read it just now, as I packed my schoolbooks, laptop computer and assignment into my backpack, grabbed my phone and wallet, and headed to the kitchen for some breakfast.
“Good morning all,” I said as cheerfully as possible for a Monday morning, “Good morning Sir Edwin,” Aunt Bea said to me, which made me groan, and mum laughed. “None of that please, especially around school or at church, I am just plain Edwin, who is lucky enough to have a cousin, who is an Earl in Scotland, and who gave me an awesome school holiday trip,” I responded.
I was just finishing breakfast, when the doorbell rang, and Mum went to answer the door, while I stacked my dishes in the dishwasher. “You security detail has arrived to escort you to school,” Craig said happily, and both Mum and Aunty Bea frowned as they looked at me.
“I had to tell someone about it, to help protect me from those school bullies, and they know not to say a word to anyone,” I said to Mum and Aunty Bea. A few minutes later, Craig, Brad and I were walking to school, and soon after stepping onto school property, the gang of bullies appeared, and straight away Craig and Brad to a few steps forward to take the lead.
“What is this Crawford, your own goon squad?” the leading bully said to me, “No, just good friends here to make sure you idiots, don’t pin some sort of false accusations on me,” I replied, and we walked through them group, with Craig and Brad pushing them out of the way.
“Thanks guys,” I whispered to them as we headed to the library, to hang out until the first bell sounds. Thanks to my mates, I did not have to deal with the bullies for the remainder of the day, and I hoped that it would continue that way. It was hard to get back into a routine back at school, but that was about to change with the history class, being the last lesson for the morning.
“I believe that I asked for an assignment to be completed by today, and as a result, we have one student, who went as far as travelling to Scotland to gather information about his family. Mr Crawford would you like to come forward and give a brief summary of your trip, and what results you manage to get as a result of it,” the History teacher said to the class, and reluctantly I stood and walked to the front.
“Well sir, for my assignment, I was able to do research on an ancestor from back in the early 1830’s who was a Scottish born Army officer, serving in India, who refused to fight. Because of this, he was declared insane, and sent to a remote island, called Papa Stour, on the central west coast of the Shetland Islands, where he remained for a period of four years, until he was rescued by a female Quaker preacher, who negotiated for his release.
His older brother was the 24th Earl of Crawford and 7th Earl of Balcarres. In London, a large court case was held in regards of his detention, and the result was a large award, plus ownership of a small remote Fair Island, to the south of where he was detained.
My grandfather, the grandson of the Earl’s brother, emigrated to Australia where he changed his last name from Lindsay to Crawford, and now many years later, I was able to visit some of the ancestral properties of the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, with the current 29th Earl, being a second cousin to me,” I stated.
“Do you have a nobility title?” one of my classmates called out, and I looked towards Craig and Brad, who looked just as surprised as me at the question, “Because I come from the line of the younger brother of the 25th Earl, no I was not entitled to a title, but I am still aristocracy by blood, being a direct descendant, from the brother, who is my great-great grandfather,” I replied.
“Thankyou Mr Crawford, I look forward to reading your assignment later on, does anyone have any questions,” the history teacher stated. “Yes sir, Edwin, can you tell us some of the places that you visited on your holiday?” Craig asked.
I looked to the teacher who gave a nod to go ahead, “Well I saw quite a lot actually, I learnt that the family still owns a number of properties, and while in Scotland, I stayed with my second cousin, the current earl of Crawford, at his main residence called Balcarres House, which is on the north side of the bay from Edinburgh.
I also visited a few properties that the family had sold off, including Dunecht House, located just west of Aberdeen, which is where the 25th Earl was buried, and where his body was stolen, which is a completely other story, plus Crawford Priory, located near Cupar, north west of Balcarres, an incredibly beautiful gothic building, which sadly is in ruins.
I played a game of golf with my cousin on the famous St Andrews Golf links, visited Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood, before flying to Zurich for a two day stay in Switzerland, before flying home,” I responded, “What is Holyrood?” another student called out, “Does anyone know the answer to that question?” the teacher asked, and Brad put up his hand.
“Sir, it is Holyrood Palace, the Scottish Royal residence of the Queen, located in central Edinburgh, where Her Majesty spends a week before going onto Sandringham for her annual Summer holidays,” Brad said smiling. “Very good, you are correct with that,” the teacher said.
Copyright Preston Wigglesworth All Rights Reserved July 2020