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MAXWELL CREST Copyright 1995-2015 by Celtic Studio
CREST: A stag Proper, lodged before a holly bush, Proper, attired Argent.
MOTTO: Reviresco.
TRANSLATION: I flourish again
PLANT: Rowan
ORIGIN OF NAME: Local: From the lands of Macchuswell now Maxwell in Dumfriesshire. The family are descended from Herbert de Macchuswell, temp. Malcolm IV
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Maxwell History

Maccus son of Undweyn witnessed an inquisition of David I, and also a charter to Melrose of 1153. It appears to have been he who gave his name to Maccuswell, a pool of the Tweed near Kelso bridge, and also to Maccustoun. Wael is old English for a pool, but there is disagreement as to whether Maccus was of English or Norwegian descent. His eldest son was Herbert of Maccuswell, and some time before 1159 he bestowed its church upon Kelso Abbey. His son, Sir John, was royal Chamberlain in about 1231-3 and it is said to have been he who acquired Caerlaverock Castle in Nithsdale. He died in 1241 and was buried in Melrose, to be succeeded by his brother Aymer as Chamberlain before he became Justiciar of Galloway in 1264. Aymer's son, Sir Herbert of Maxwell, was one of the magnates who recognised Margaret of Norway as Queen of Scots after the death of Alexander III in 1286, and John Balliol after her death. His grandson, Sir Eustace, was holding Caerlaverock for Edward I in 1312, but he dismantled its fortifications in the interests of Robert Bruce, and was one of those who signed the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, informing the Pope that his country would have no other king but Robert. Later he supported the king de jure, Edward Balliol, but returned to his allegiance to the Bruces. After his death in 1342 his brother and heir, Sir John, accompanied Bruce's son David II to the field of Neville's Cross, where he was captured and sent prisoner to the Tower of London. Here he probably died.
His successor, Herbert Maxwell, was knighted when James I returned from his long captivity in England in 1424, and became a Lord of Parliament in the reign of James II. The Maxwells were appointed Wardens of the Marches, and John, 4th Lord Maxwell was imprisoned by James IV for lawlessness on the Border, until he "paid a great composition for himself and all those who were with him". But he died with his King at Flodden in 1513. The 5th Lord was nominated Regent while James V was away in France in 1536 and 1537 choosing a wife, and as Great Admiral of Scotland he escorted Scotland's greatest Queen, Mary of Lorraine, to his country in 1538. His eventful life included capture at Solway Moss in 1542, when he was released on promising to further the designs of Henry VIII of England. But evidently he gave the English king little satisfaction, for he was kidnapped and taken back to London. This time he was freed only after promising to surrender Caerlaverock Castle to the English. He died in 1 546, shortly before England's dreadful king.
The 8th Lord was created Earl of Morton after the execution of the Douglas Earl in 1581, and it was to compensate his family after this title had been restored to the Douglases that Robert Maxwell was created Earl of Nithsdale in the next century. The 5th Earl was sentenced to death in Westminster Hall for his part in the 1715 rebellion, and was rescued by his devoted wife on the eve of his execution. She rushed to London and went repeatedly in and out of his prison with her attendants, until the guards were thoroughly confused. Finally Nithsdale left, disguised as one of the women, while his wife remained behind. Later, she departed with loud farewells to an empty room. The pair lived in poverty at the Chevalier's court in Rome until the Earl's death in 1744.
The second son of the 1st Lord Maxwell was father of Edward, who received a charter to the barony of Monreith in 1482. His descendant William was created a baronet in 1681, and was the ancestor of Sir Herbert Maxwell (1845-1937) the politician and historian. Sir Herbert's youngest son was Gavin Maxwell (1914-1969) the student of animals and primitive peoples, and author of books of outstanding English prose and universal popularity.

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Copyright 1995-2015 by Celtic Studio
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