Clan Maxwell

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Scotland Project > Scottish Clans > Clan Maxwell


Welcome to Clan Maxwell

Clan Maxwell has no chief, and is an armigerous clan Last Chief: William Maxwell of Carruchan Died: 1863.

Clan Maxwell Team
Team Leader Maria Maxwell
Team MembersBeth Golden,Brian Lange, Marty Acks
Clan Chief
Motto: Reviresco ( I grow strong again)
Slogan/War Cry:
Region: Lowlands
Historic Seat: Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfriesshire
Plant badge:
Pipe music:
Gaelic name:

Clan Team

Team Goals

The focus of this team's work is to identify, improve and maintain profiles associated with the Lairds and Chiefs of Chiefs of Clan Maxwell together with members bearing the name Maxwell, the related families and those recognised as septs of Clan Maxwell.

Team To Do List

This list will be developed by the Team. If you are working on a specific task, please list it here:

  • promoting the entries of those bearing the name Maxwell on Wikitree.
  • ensuring entries appearing on Wikitree are as accurate as possible, correcting mistakes once spotted.
  • encouraging interest in and study of Clan Maxwell.


Clan History

Clan Branches

Other Names Associated with the Clan

Allied Clans

Rival Clans

Clan Research and Free Space Pages

Source Material

Image Credits and Acknowledgements

Information below this line should be summarized and incorporated into this Team page. Detailed information should be moved to additional Clan pages.

Clan Maxwell See Also - Maxwell Name Study

Clan Maxwell

Maxwell History

The name Maxwell originates from Maccus, a Norse chief and son of Undweyn, who gave his name to Maccuswell, a pool of the river Tweed near Kelso bridge. A grandson of Maccus, John Maxwell, became chamberlain of Scotland before dying in 1241, to be succeeded by his brother Aylmer. From Aylmer sprang many branches of the family throughout the south-west of Scotland. The Maxwell clan supported Robert the Bruce and fought at his side at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, under the clan chief of Eustace Maxwell. Herbert, the succeeding clan chief was knighted by James I for his services to the crown. The Maxwell Lords followed a tradition of diplomacy and political intrigue - the fifth Lord was on friendly terms with Henry VII of England, while the seventh Lord was linked with a number of plots to restore Mary, Queen of Scots to her throne. After her execution he continued to seek support for a catholic revolution in Scotland, corresponding regularly with Philip of Spain. The Maxwell family were created Earls of Nithsdale and the fifth earl, a staunch Jacobite, was captured at the Battle of Preston during the 1715 rising. He was taken to London, tried for treason and sentenced to death. On the eve of his execution he made a daring escape from the Tower of London, disguised as a serving woman. His wife assisted in this escape, and together they fled to the Continent, where they remained in exile. Pollok House,Pollokshields,Glasgow the seat of the Maxwell Baronets of Pollok, is now of international importance, as it houses the world-famous Burrell Collection in its grounds.

Clan Maxwell has no chief, and is an armigerous clan Last Chief: William Maxwell of Carruchan Died: 1863

The Lineage of the last Chiefs of Maxwell

Maxwell Research

The Scots Peerage, History of Maxwell Earls of Nithsdale


Motto: Reviresco ( I grow strong again)
Region: Lowland
District: Dumfries

Ragman Rolls 1296

Maxwell signatories

Makefwell (Makefwelle, Maxwell), dominus de, Dominus Johannes (miles); (Johan de Makefwell, chiualer).
Makefwell (Makefwelle, Maxwell), Dominus Herbertus de (miles); (Herbert de Makefwell, chiualer).
Makefwell (Makefwelle, Maxwell), Sire Herbert de (del counte de Dunfres).
Makefwell (Makefwelle, Maxwell), Johan de (del counte de Perth).
Makefwell (Makefwelle, Maxwell), Johan de (del counte de Lanark).
Makefwell (Makefwelle, Maxwell), Dominus Johannes Herberti de (miles), (Johan de Makefwelle, chiualier, le fiuz Sire Herbert de Makefwelle).

Lords Maxwell (1445)

Herbert Maxwell, 1st Lord Maxwell (died c. 1454)
Robert Maxwell, 2nd Lord Maxwell (died c. 1485)
John Maxwell, 3rd Lord Maxwell (d. 1484 dvp)
John Maxwell, 4th Lord Maxwell (c. 1476 – 1513)
Robert Maxwell, 5th Lord Maxwell (1493–1546)
Robert Maxwell, 6th Lord Maxwell (died c. 1553)
Robert Maxwell, 7th Lord Maxwell (1551–1555), aged four years
John Maxwell, 8th Lord Maxwell (1553–1593), briefly the Earl of Morton, between 1581–1586
John Maxwell, 9th Lord Maxwell (1583–1613)
Robert Maxwell, 10th Lord Maxwell (1586–1646) (created Earl of Nithsdale in 1620)

Earls of Nithsdale (1620)

Robert Maxwell, 1st Earl of Nithsdale (1586–1646)
Robert Maxwell, 2nd Earl of Nithsdale (1620–1667)
John Maxwell, 3rd Earl of Nithsdale (died 1677)
Robert Maxwell, 4th Earl of Nithsdale (1628–1696)
William Maxwell, 5th Earl of Nithsdale (1676–1744) (attainted 1716 and peerages forfeit)

Maxwell Baronets

There have been four baronetcies created for persons with the surname Maxwell, all of them in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia.

Maxwell Baronets, of Calderwood (1627)

Baron Farnham:

Barons Farnham (1756)

John Maxwell, 1st Baron Farnham (d. 1759)
Robert Maxwell, 2nd Baron Farnham (d. 1779) (created Earl of Farnham in 1763)

Earls of Farnham, First Creation (1763)

Robert Maxwell, 1st Earl of Farnham, 2nd Baron Farnham (d. 1779)

Barons Farnham (1756; Reverted)

Barry Maxwell, 3rd Baron Farnham (d. 1800) (created Earl of Farnham in 1785)

Earls of Farnham, Second Creation (1785)

Barry Maxwell, 1st Earl of Farnham (d. 1800)
John James Maxwell, 2nd Earl of Farnham (1760–1823

Barons Farnham (1756; Reverted)

John Maxwell-Barry, 5th Baron Farnham (1767–1838)
Henry Maxwell, 6th Baron Farnham (1774–1838)
Henry Maxwell, 7th Baron Farnham (1799–1868)
Somerset Richard Maxwell, 8th Baron Farnham (1803–1884)
James Pierce Maxwell, 9th Baron Farnham (1813–1896)
Somerset Henry Maxwell, 10th Baron Farnham (1849–1900)
Arthur Kenlis Maxwell, 11th Baron Farnham (1879–1957)
Barry Owen Somerset Maxwell, 12th Baron Farnham (1931–2001)
Simon Kenlis Maxwell, 13th Baron Farnham (b. 1933)

The heir apparent is the present holder's son Hon. Robin Somerset Maxwell (b. 1965). The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son James David Somerset Maxwell (b. 1996).

Maxwell Baronets, of Monreith (1681)

The family seat is Monreith House, near Port William, Dumfries and Galloway.

Sir William Maxwell, 1st Baronet (circa 1635–1709)
Sir Alexander Maxwell, 2nd Baronet (d. 1730)
Sir William Maxwell, 3rd Baronet (c. 1715–1771)
Sir William Maxwell, 4th Baronet (d. 1812)
Sir William Maxwell, 5th Baronet (1779–1838)
Sir William Maxwell, 6th Baronet (1804–1877)
Sir Herbert Maxwell, 7th Baronet (1845–1937)
Sir Aymer Maxwell, 8th Baronet (1911–1987)
Sir Michael Eustace George Maxwell, 9th Baronet (b. 1943)

Maxwell, now Heron-Maxwell baronets, of Springkell Created in 1683, for Patrick Maxwell. In 1803, as a result of a maternal inheritance, the holder changed his name to Heron-Maxwell. While the title is still extant (2016) the current holder has not successfully proven his succession to the baronetcy and is therefore not on the Official Roll of the Baronetage. The title appears on the list of unclaimed Baronetcies. The seat is at Springkell in Dumfriesshire.

Maxwell, later Stirling Maxwell, now Maxwell Macdonald Baronets, of Pollock (1682/1707)

Stirling-Maxwell Baronets

Sir John Maxwell, 1st Baronet (1648–1732)
Sir John Maxwell, 2nd Baronet (1686–1752)
Sir John Maxwell, 3rd Baronet (1720–1758)
Sir Walter Maxwell, 4th Baronet (1732–1762)
Sir John Maxwell, 5th Baronet (1761–1762)
Sir James Maxwell, 6th Baronet (1735–1785)
Sir John Maxwell, 7th Baronet (1768–1844)
Sir John Maxwell, 8th Baronet (1791–1865)
Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, 9th Baronet (1818–1878)
Sir John Maxwell Stirling-Maxwell, 10th Baronet (1866–1956)

Maxwell Macdonald baronets

Dame Anne Maxwell Macdonald, 11th Baronetess (1906–2011)
Sir John Ronald Maxwell Macdonald, 12th Baronet (b. 1936)

The heir apparent is the present holder's son John Ranald Maxwell Macdonald (b. 1965).

Maxwells of Tealing

Maxwell Castles

Caerlaverock Castle was the seat of the chief of Clan Maxwell.
Threave Castle was owned by the Clan Maxwell between 1526 and 1640.
Maxwell Castle was built in 1545 but destroyed by the English in 1570.
Newark Castle, Port Glasgow was built by the Clan Maxwell in the 15th century.,_Port_Glasgow
Haggs Castle was owned by the Maxwells from 1585 to 1972.
Pollok House,Pollokshields, Glasgow, the seat of the Maxwell Baronets of Pollok

Auldhouse Mansion Eastwood Glasgow

AULDHOUSE, now held by the trustees of the late Sir William Stirling Maxwell, Bart., is in the parish of Eastwood, near Glasgow. The present mansion house has been erected at four periods; the latest addition to the house was built by the father of the late Sir John Maxwell, and this with former additions has made it large and commodious. Over the fire-place in the kitchen, which was built in 1631, there is the following - "THE BODIE FOR THE SAVL WAS FRAMD : THIS HOVS THE BODY FOR : IN HEAVNE FOR BOTH MY PLACE IS NAMD IN BLISS MY GOD T'ADOR. - 1631." It is supposed that this inscription was the work of Mr. George Maxwell of Auldhouse, minister of Mearns, or his son, Mr. John Maxwell, younger of Auldhouse, minister of the High Church, Glasgow, The latter, by bond dated 20th May, 1631, narrates that he and his father have founded, and are of intention to build houses, one or more, and to repair houses already built upon at their equal expenses; and Mr. John Maxwell becomes bound to disburse penny about with his father. [ ]

Mearns Castle -

Mearns Castle, built in 1449, still stands today

Allied Clans Clan Pollock

Rival Clans

Clan Johnstone

Lord Maxwell was appointed warden of the Marches, and formed a bond of alliance with the young James, Laird of Johnstone, who married Sarah Maxwell the granddaughter of the celebrated Lord Herries.

A relative. Sir Robert Maxwell of Orchardstane, had married one of Johnstone's sisters. So for some years there was peace between the two families.

Then in the year 1593 the hereditary feud between the Johnstones and the Maxwells was revived, which resulted in a fierce battle at Dryffe Sands, not far from Lockerbie.

The Battle of Dryfe Sands (or Dryffe Sands) was an attempt by the Maxwells to wipe out Clan Johnston, literally. This was the culmination of a 300 years war between the family of the Maxwells and Clan Johnston. It started, as did most, as a power struggle, in this case, for control of the Annan River valley and the surrounding region. Later a religious factor was added. The Maxwells were, with the encouragement and advice (possibly money too), of the RC church trying to overthrow the Scottish crown and give effective control back to an RC monarch and the Vatican. The Johnstons were Church of Scotland which later became the Presbyterian Church.

The most renowned and bravest warriors among the Border families took part in this fight. Lord Maxwell, warden of the West Marches, armed with royal authority, and numbering among his followers all the barons of Nithdale, displayed his banner as the king's lieutenant and invaded Annandale at the head of 2,000 men. Buccleuch, the Elliots, the Armstrongs, and the Graemes, now reunited, came to the assistance of the Johnstones, whose army, although inferior in numbers, gained a decisive victory. Lord Maxwell, a tall man and heavily armed, was struck in the flight from his horse and cruelly slain. The hand which he stretched out for quarter was severed from his arm.

This exploit was afterwards commemorated upon gravestones of Johnstone's descendants by an upraised hand with palm closed and two fingers stretched forward; to the sinister chief a sun, to the dexter base a crescent, which interpreted signifies, ** Mercy, mercy, night and day."

Many of the Johnstones went to Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

The fatal battle was followed by a long feud attended with all the circumstances of horror proper to a barbarous age. John lord Maxwell, son to him who fell at the battle of Dryffe Sands, avowed the deepest revenge for his father's death and afterwards treacherously killed Sir James Johnstone. Having ventured to return from France, whither he had fled, he was apprehended lurking in the wilds of Caithness, brought to trial at Edinburgh, his estates forfeited, and on May 2ist, 1613, was beheaded.

Clan Douglas

Septs: Septs of Clan Maxwell Adair, Blackstock, Dinwiddie, Dinwoddie, Dinwoodie, Dunwoodie, Edgar, Egarr, Halldykes, Herries, Kirk, Kirkdale, Kirkhaugh, Kirkland, Kirko, Latimer, Latimore, Macetterick, Macettrick, Macgetrick, Macgettrich, Macgettrick, Macghittich, Machethrick, Macittrick, Mackethrick, Macketterick, Mackitterick, Mackittrick, Macsata, Macsetree, Maxey, Maxon, Maxton, Monreith, Moss, Nithdale, Paulk, Peacock, Poak, Pogue, Poke, Polk, Pollock, Pollok, Sturgeon, and Wardlaw

Names associated with the clan:

See Also:

Clan Name Crest Badge Arms of the Lords

Maxwell of Caerlaverock


Earl of Nithsdale

Lands Tartan

Dress Modern


Hunting Ancient


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Clan Maxwell Societies

Clan Maxwell Society of the USA
Excellent comprehensive history of Clan Maxwell
Clan Maxwell Society Canada
Clan Maxwell Worldwide Society

Images: 1
Maxwell tartan
Maxwell tartan

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Categories: Clan Maxwell