A breif History of the Maxwell Clan
The MAXWELLS, for almost five years, were one of the most pwerful and respected families along the border of Scotland and England. Their story begins in the Early part of the Twelfth century with a man called Maccus, his latinized name. He was correctly Max or Macs. Charter of Melrose Abbey indicates thatMax was the son of Unwin or Alwyn. Maw was a wealthy landowner in the vicinity of Roxburgh Castle. Max died about 1152. However, his name continued in two places. One was a small town on the Tweed River called Maxtown, and the other was at a fishing pool at the confluence of the Teviot and Tweed Rivers, which became known as Max's well or the Maxwell. Both places survive to this day. The first survives as Maxton, and the other in the Village of Maxwellheugh.
About this time there lived a man whose name was Herbert who was Chancellor in the time of King David I of Scotland. He named "Herbert" was of Anglo/Norman origin. At some point before 1159, Herbert held the land of Maccuswell or Macchwel and was called 'Herber de Macchwel'. or Maccuswell. He signed a document, "Herbto Camerio' ( Herbert, Chancellor). He was never called 'the son of Max'.
We Know of three of Herbert's Children. Sir John de Maccusweil succeeded Herbert in the Barnoy. Sir John was the Great Chamberlain of Scotland from the year 1200. He also served as Sheriff of Teviotdale. His services to Scotland brought him the barnoy of Caerlaverock in Dumfriesshire where he died before 1241. Sir John was succeeded by his yonger brother Aymer de Maxwell, the first to be called'Maxwell'. Aymer married mary, daughter and heiress of Sir Ronald de Mearns. She brought with her the Renfrew barnoy and this became the base for the Maxwells of Clyde side, the Maxwells of Pollock and Calderwood and from there the Irish Maxwells or Farnham, Finnebrogue and Ballyrolly. Sir Aymer's eldest son, Sir Herbert Maxwell, carried the Caerlaverock line of Maxwells.
The head of the Maxwell family, whose descendans became the Lords Maxwell and the Earls of Nithsdale, lived at Caerlaverock Castle on the Solway coast of Dumfriesshire.
they held paternal lands in the barnoy Maxwell in the area near Kelso in Roxburghshire, and barnoy of Mearns in Renfrew and Pencaitland near Musselburg on the fourth estuary south of Edinburgh. These were regarded as the border Maxwells. The northen Maxwells were based at Nether Pollok.
The thirteenth century saw Maxwells involved in noble deeds, such as the Crusades or becoming knights in religious orders. They were involved in strife not only in their lands, but with the English. On a few occasions, they switched their allegiance between English and Scottish causes. At one point, Caerlaverock was under the English appointed Scots King, John Balliol. In the 1290's they swore fealty to King Edward of England, but broke their bond with him. Therefore, in 1300 Caerlaverock was besieged by the English.
having broken their bond with the English, they were loyal to the Scots King, Robert the Bruce. The Chief of the Maxwells was one who signed the Declaration of Arbroath.'
Maxwell history also includes with the Johnstones and involved as border Reivers, of which there are many stories.
The Northen Maxwells were prolific than those on the borders in the earlier years, and some of their sons earned their living elsewhere. some offered their service in religious orders, such as knights Templer and foreign Kings, while others became merchants and tradesmen.
With the union of the crowns of Scotland and England in 1605, many Maxwells along with other Scots moved south into England. The eighteenth century saw Maxwells dispersed throughout the British Empire.
In their illustrious history, the Maxwells have held numerous titles and offices, such as Earl of Nithsdale, Earl of morton, Earl of Dirleton, Lords Maxwell, Clyde, Elbottle, Eskdale, Herries of Terregles, Kingston, Farnham and DeRos, they have held five baronetcies: that of Calderwood in Lanarkshire, Cardoness in Kirkcudbrightshire, Monerith in Wigtonshire, Pollock of Renfrewshire and Springkelll in Dumfriesshire.
Maxwells were Wardens of the West March of the Scotland/english border.
Many were the Castle and estates that belonged to the Maxwells over the centuries, such as Threave, Annan Tower, Lochmaben, Langhol, Hills,Terregles, Maxwell's castle ( Dumfries), Barend, Kirkconnell. Hoddon. Cardoness, Orchardtown, Corra, Preston ( Wrieth's Tower), Castlemilk. Cowhill, Fourmerkland. The Isle, Friar's Carse, Myretown Tower, Auldhouse, Monreith, and in Strathclyde there was Pollock, Hags, Calderwood, Newark, Stainley, and Dargavel House. However, the great castle of the Maxwells and their Clan seat is Caerlaverock Castle, south of Dumfries on Solway, a unique and awesome sight even in its partial state of ruin today!
Today, thousands of Maxwells live all over the world, and continue to contribute to the area in which they live. Some of them have risen to fame and fortune. There was even a Maxwell Motor Company which, though the years, became part of Chrysler Corporation. Clan Maxwell Societty of the United States of America was founded in 1964, and Clan Maxwell Society of Canada was formed in 1993, both of which are growing in membership.