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Maxwell

Reviresco (I grow strong again)

Maxwell Tartan
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

Maxwell Tartan

The name Maxwell originates from the Borders at a place now called Springwood, near Kelso. During the reign of David I (1080 - 1153) the area was in the charge of a Saxon chief called Maccus. The area included a pool on the River Tweed which became known as Maccus Well, which has been corrupted over the years to Maxwell. Originally supporters of the English, with Sir Herbert Maxwell swearing fealty to Edward I (1239 - 1307) in 1296, the Maxwells followed Robert I (1274 - 1329) at the Battle of Bannockburn (1314). A later Sir Herbert Maxwell was made Lord Maxwell in 1440.

The Maxwells were involved in a long running feud with the Johnstons, another family from the Borders. This feud claimed the life of the seventh Lord, John Maxwell, who was a great supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 - 1587). John's brother, Robert Maxwell took the title and was also made the Earl of Nithsdale.

The fifth Earl of Nithsdale was captured and sent for execution at the Tower of London for his part in the Jacobite uprising of 1715. He escaped dressed as a serving wench, and lived out his days in Rome.

Several offshoots of the Maxwell family all achieved baronetcies, including those of Monreith, Pollok and Cardoness, and the Heron-Maxwells of Sprinkell. The Maxwells of Pollok gave Pollok House to the City of Glasgow in 1967, the Burrell Art Collection being housed in its grounds. Novelist Gavin Maxwell (1914 - 1969) was a Maxwell of Monreith and his nephew is the current Baronet residing in Monreith House, Port William.


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