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Herries


HERRIES, BARON, a title in the peerage of Scotland, attainted in 1716, in the person of William earl of Nithsdale and Lord Herries, but the attainder reversed as to his descendants by act of parliament in 1848, and the title restored to William Constable Maxwell of Nithsdale, the direct descendant, by decision of the house of lords in 1858. The title was first conferred on Sir Herbert Herries of Terregles in 1489, and was subsequently held by the Maxwells of Nithsdale, through the marriage of Lady Agnes Herries, eldest of three daughters of William Lord Herries, with Sir John Maxwell, 2d son of Robert Lord Maxwell, before 1st Feb. 1549-50.

      The original bearers of this name and title are said to derive their descent from a son of the count of Vendome in France, whose arms, three hedgehogs (in French herissons), were carried by them. Chalmers (Caledonia, vol. i. p. 135) states that a branch of the Anglo-Norman family of Heriz, who had their chief residence at Wyverton (Worton) in Nottinghamshire, came into Scotland during the reign of David the First (1124-1153). William de Heriz witnessed two charters by Earl Henry, son of David I., before 1152; one to the monks of Wederdale, and the other to the abbey and monks of Holmcolteram [Dugdale’s Mon. Angl., vol i. pp. 399 and 886]. William de Heriz witnessed a charter by William the Lion to the monks of Melrose in the period from 1175 to 1199; also in the same reign he witnessed two characters to the monks of Melrose by Walter the son of Alan the Steward and William the son of John de Rasawe [Liber de Melros, tom. i. pp. 38, 52, and 123]; also one of Robert de Brus, the competitor, between 1183 and 1190. Many other persons of the name existed in Scotland and in England in the 12th century [Dugdale’s Mon. Chart. Of Melrose, &c.].

      Nigel de Heriz witnessed two charters granted to the monastery of Melrose by Walter the son of Alan the Steward (dominini regis dapifer), in the reign of William the Lion. He is also witness to two charters of lands in the territory of Molle about 1190. He was forester in the southern districts to Alexander II., who directed a precept to him and to the sheriffs of Edinburgh and Traquair, to ascertain the extent and value of the pasture of Lethanhope in Tweeddale. He seems to have had lands on the Ettrick; for in a charter by Alexander II. To the monks of Melrose, the lands granted are described as going up “from the river Etreyich by the rivulet of timeye, as far as the marches of Nigel de Heriz”.

      Henry de Heris, forestarius regis, is witness to a donation to the monastery of Newbottle by Alexander II. William and Gilbert, said to be his sons, are witnesses to a charter to monastery of Newbottle in 1266 [Cart. Of Newbottle, p. 300].

      William de Harris swore fealty to Edward I. For his lands in Dumfries-shire in 1296 as per Ragman Roll.

      Robert de Herris, in an original charter of Robert the Bruce, is designated dominus de Nithsdale in 1323.

      Sir John Herice had a charter of the lands of Travereglis (Terregles) from David II. On the resignation of the same by Thomas earl of Mar in 1359. The name is given as Travereglis in 1215, in an agreement to which the abbot and convent of Kelso were parties [Reg. Cart. De Kelso, p. 266]. The word traver appears in early topography as Traverflat (Trailflat), Travernent (Tranent), Travequer (Traquair), &c. It is not unlikely a short form of ter, land, and aber, beyond (the Latin being mixed with and corrupted by the native tongues), and in the case of Travereglis may imply the land beyond the church. The word Treabber Eglais is Gaelic, and implies the same as Kirkton, ans is by some preferred. Sir John Herice also in 1368, received a grant of the lands of Kirkgunzane (anciently Kirkwinny), which had belonged to the abbey of Holmcolteram in Cumberland. He was one of the commissioners to negotiate affairs of importance with England in 1361 and 1369.

      Sir John Herries of Terregles, his son, witnessed a charter of King Robert III. In 1393. In 1405 he had a safe conduct to go to England to negotiate some affairs with that court.

      Sir Herbert Herries of Terregles was one of the barons arrested with Murdoch, duke of Albany, and afterwards sat as one of his jury. He accompanied the princess Margaret of Scotland to France in 1436, on her marriage to the dauphin, and is said to have died in 1440. One of his brothers, Sir John Herries, who possessed lands in Annandale, was hanged by the earl of Douglas.

      Sir John Herries of Terregles, his son, succeeded. He had safe conduct going into England in 1451 – got charters of lands in Kirkcudbright and Dumfries-shire from 1465 to 1469. He became non compos mentis, and his son, Sir David Herries, afterwards of Terregles, was appointed his curator, but becoming unfit for the duty, his son, Sir Herbert Herries, and John, Lord Carlyle, were, in 1478, appointed in his place.

      Sir David Herries of Terregles, as son and heir of sir John Herries, his father, had sasine in the baronies of Terregles, Kirkgunzeon, &c., on 7th December 1484.

      Sir Herbert Herries of Terregles, his son, succeeded before 1489, in which year he was created a lord, and sat in parliament accordingly. He died before 28th June 1505.

Andrew, the second Lord Herries, his son, succeeded, and was slain at Flodden, with four of his brethren, on 9th Sept. 1513. He had a brother, Roger Herries of Maidenpaup, who survived him, and as nearest cognate was tutor to his children.

      William, the third Lord Herries, his only son, succeeded when a minor. He died 26th Sept. 1543, leaving three daughters, co-heiresses. The eldest, Agnes Lady Herries, married in 1549 Sir John Maxwell, second son of Robert Lord Maxwell; the second daughter, Katherine Herries, married Sir Alexander Stewart of Garlies; the youngest daughter, Janet Herries, married Sir James Cockburn of Skirling.

      Sir John Maxwell, called of Terregles after his marriage with Lady Agnes, also the master of Maxwell as heir presumptive of his nephew, John Lord Maxwell, was, on 20th March 1551, appointed warden of the west marches, and was one of the commissioners to treat of peace with the English on 9th Dec. 1552. On 29th Aug. 1553, he temporarily resigned the wardenship, on the ground that he was “becum under deidlie feid wt divvis clanis of ye samyn *west marches), or at the leist ye maaist part of yame, quhairthrow he was not sa habill to serve as of befoir,” into the hands of his uncle, James Douglas of Drumlanrig, until matters were put right. In Feb. 1560 he was one of the ambassadors sent from the lords of the congregation to arrange a treaty with the duke of Norfolk on the part of Queen Elizabeth, and on 23d Sept. 1563 he concluded another treaty with the English. In right of his marriage with Agnes Lady Herries, he became possessed of one-third of the baronies of Terregles and Kirkgunzeon, and subsequently acquired the two-thirds which had belonged to her sisters. On 8th May 1566, King Henry and Queen Mary granted a charter to Sir John Maxwell of Terregles, and Agnes Herries his wife, and their heirs male, whom failing, to the heirs male of the said Sir John Maxwell. This charter was ratified in parliament on 19th April 1567, when as a favour the holding of the lands was changed from ward and relief to blench. Previous to this, and at least as early as 12th March 1566-7, he had taken the title of Lord Herries. Sir James Balfour, Lord Lyon, writing however long after the time, states that he was created Lord Herries at the baptism of Prince James, on 17th Dec. 1566. It was inferred from this statement, and other circumstances, that a new peerage was created in the person of Sir John Maxwell, and limited to heirs male. This, however, after a lengthened investigation, the house of lords found not to have been the case (23d June 1858). They found the original peerage created in the person of Sir Herbert Herries in 1489 was to heirs general, and that Agnes Lady Herries, the eldest daughter of William Lord Herries, was a peeress in her own right. She was found to have been often called by herself and others Agnes Lady Herries. There is no instance of her being called Lady Terregles from her husband’s title, although her sisters are found to have been called Lady Garlies and Lady Skirling. Archibald Herries of Maidenpaup, the heir male, the son of Roger Herries before-mentioned, and grandson of Herbert the first Lord Herries, claimed no right to the title, nor did any of his descendants, although they possessed the paternal property down to 1629; and the Lords Herries, descended from Agnes, Lady Herries, sat in parliament ranking from the original creation of Herbert Lord Herries in 1489, claiming that place, which was awarded to them under the decreet of ranking of 1606, and shown to have retained by a testificate from the clerk-register in the parliament of Jan. 1661. John Maxwell, Lord Herries, had therefore been as a favour called to the dignity of Lord Herries in right of his wife, a custom not uncommon at the time; and as representing his wife, was the fourth Lord Herries.

      After her marriage with Darnley, Queen Mary was led to suppose that Sir John Maxwell, then warden of the west marches, but not yet styled Lord Herries, had joined the earl of Moray and the other lords against her. When, however, she came to Dumfries, causing them to fly before her, she was met by sir John Maxwell, who made his submission, and convinced her of his fidelity; and there is no reason to think she ever afterwards distrusted him. In order publicly to proclaim her confidence, Queen Mary and her husband, on 1st Jan. 1565-6, after an examination by the lords of the secret council into all that was alleged against him, granted hm a full pardon and exoneration, declaring that they understood the charges against him, “to be perfectly untrue and grounded upon particular malice,” and as to some of the charges, “they under stood right perfectly the plain contrary; he has been and is our true servant and our good justiciar, and in execution of our service has taken great travails and pains, bearing a weighty charge in the common service of this our realm many years bypast, and execute the laws upon the many and notable offenders, defending our good subjects from such enormities and oppressions as is laid to his charge, nor has received no augmentation of any reversion as is unjustly alleged, nor no gold from England, neither has nor will discover our secrets to them nor others to the hurt of us his sovereign, this our realm nor subjects” [Eviden Herries Peerage, p. 215].

      Lord Herries is said to have strongly dissuaded Queen Mary from marrying Bothwell. This however is scarcely reconcilable with the facts that he was on the assize which acquitted Bothwell, that he subscribed the paper recommending him to Mary for a husband, and was one of the witnesses to the marriage contract subscribed by them on 14th May 1567, the day before the marriage took place.

      At the battle of Langside, 13th May 1568, Lord Herries and his followers were on the side of Queen Mary, and with their assistance she escaped, and came by Sanquhar to Terregles, whence she went to the abbey of Dundrennan, and embarked for England on 16th May 1568. Previous to her embarkation Lord Herries earnestly implored her not to confide in Elizabeth’s generosity. Lord Herries was forfeited in the Estates of Scotland, 19th August 1568, but sentence was deferred. In the following month he was one of the commissioners on the part of the unfortunate Mary, to go to England, when he discharged his duty with zeal and ability. A speech which he made on her behalf before the English commissioners at York on the 1st December will be found printed in Sadler’s State Papers.

      In February 1569, the earl of Arran, duke of Chatelherault, who claimed the regency as his right by blood, arrived in Scotland from France, accompanied by Lord Herries and the abbot of Kilwinning, and in virtue of a commission from Queen Mary, constitution him lieutenant-general of the kingdom, began to assemble an army in opposition to the regent Moray. A meeting took place at Glasgow between the duke and the regent, when the former agreed to resign his pretensions as lieutenant-general for the queen, and acknowledge King James’ authority, the regent, on his part, binding himself to get the forfeiture taken off all those who had supported the queen’s interest, their estates to be restored, and to call a convention, to be held at Edinburgh on the 10th April, to settle all differences. For the faithful performance of this treaty, hostages were given, and, in the meantime, the duke, the earl of Cassillis, and Lord Herries, set out for Stirling, on a visit to the young king, and were splendidly entertained by the regent and his friends. On going to Edinburgh, to attend the convention in April, he ordered Lord Herries and the duke of Chatelherault to be arrested, and committed them prisoners to the castle of Edinburgh; but on the assassination of the regent soon after, Kirkcaldy of Grange, the governor of the castle, considering himself no longer justified in detaining them, set them at liberty. On their release, Lord Herries and the duke had a meeting with the other chiefs of the queen’s party at Niddry-Seton, the result of which was, that they all assembled, with their friends and followers, at Linlithgow, about the middle of April, and marched to Edinburgh, the governor of the castle espousing their cause. But the advance of an English army from the borders having alarmed the inhabitants of the capital, the duke and his friends retired, first to Linlithgow and afterwards to Glasgow, where they dispersed different ways.

      In 1571 Lord Herries was again actively engaged in the queen’s service, being one of those who attended the parliament held in her name by the lords in her interest, on 12th June of that year, but seeing no prospect of an agreement betwixt the opposing parties, he laboured earnestly at Edinburgh with the regent Mar, Randolph and English ambassador, Sir William Drury, the marshal of Berwick, and others, bo bring about a pacification, which was at last effected in February 1572.

      On the 15th of March 1578, having now entered into the service and confidence of the king, Lord Herries was sent with Lord Glammis, the chancellor, to the earl of Morton, by King James, then in his twelfth year, to require his resignation of the regency, with the castle of Edinburgh, the palace of Holyroodhouse, and the coin house and jewels therein. Two days thereafter, Lord Glammis was slain at Stirling, and Lord Herries was one of the new members of the council chosen consequent on that event. Soon after he was one of the commissioners from the council to the General Assembly. After the raid of Ruthven in 1582, he was one of the lords, favouring the duke of Lennox (against whom and Arran, it was directed), who repaired to that nobleman at Edinburgh, and with the lairds of Kilsyth and Corstorphine, he was sent by him to the king, but all private conference was denied to them. They, however, returned with answer from the king that the duke must depart out of Scotland within fourteen days. Upon the Lord’s day, the 20th January 1582, according to a notice in Calderwood’s History, the Lord Herries died suddenly, in time of the afternoon’s preaching, going to an upper chamber in William Fowler’s lodging, “to see the boys bicker.” He said before dinner, he durst not trust himself to go to the afternoon’s preaching, because he found himself weak. Leaning to a wall, he fell down by little and little, saying to the woman that followed, “Hold me, for I am not weale.” He had five sons: William Lord Herries, his successor; Sir Robert Maxwell of Spottes; Edward Maxwell, commendator of Dundrennan and laird of Lamington; James Maxwell and John Maxwell of Newlaw (the last was probably illegitimate); and seven daughters.

      The elder son, William, fifth Lord Herries, and second of the Maxwell name, by favour of the crown, succeeded to the title of Lord Herries immediately on the death of his father. On 26th January 1582, William Lord Herries was made a privy councillor in place of his father. In 1587, he was one of the noblemen complained of in parliament by the commissioners of the General Assembly for maintaining papists and idolaters. On the 6th February 1588 a proclamation was made at the market cross of Edinburgh to the effect that Lord Herries, warden of the west marches, had not only been negligent in discharging the duties of that office, but had also erected mass, taken up the houses of sundry of the king’s councillors, and driven the ministers from Dumfries; he had been charged to answer to these offences, but had disobeyed. The lieges were therefore commanded to repair to Edinburgh on the 5th of March, to accompany his majesty in person to the west borders. On the 16th February the Lords Hamilton, Herries, Huntley, and other nobles of that party, assembled with their forces at Linlithgow, but that same night first Huntley, and then Lord Herries, came to Holyroodhouse and had a conference with the king. In the following year, when James departed for Norway, and governors were appointed to rule the kingdom in his absence, Hamilton was named for the west, to remain at Dumfries, and to take the advice of Herries and other lords of that district. In the end of October 1595, he and several of the surname of Maxwell, and their retainers, to the number of about 400 men, came out of dumfries to seek some of the Johnstones, with whom they were at deadly feud., at Lockerbie. In the conflict that ensued about twenty of the Maxwells were slain, the laird of Newark deadly hurt, and several other gentlemen wounded, besides many taken prisoners by the Johnstones. On 26th Nov. 1601, William Lord Herries, John, master of Herries, and others, were denounced for contravening the acts of parliament “against saying and hearing mass and entertaining priests,” and appeared before the privy council on 24th December following. In 1602, among the ministers appointed by the General Assembly to wait upon the Popish lords, we find “for the Lord Herries, Mr. Robert Wallace,” and in 1606, among the noblemen suspected of popery ordained by the assembly to be confined in certain towns, the earl of Home and Lord Herries are mentioned for Edinburgh. He died in 1603. He had five sons and four daughters.

      The eldest son, John, sixth Lord Herries, died in 1631. By his wife, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John, 7th Lord Maxwell, he had eight sons, John, seventh Lord Herries, James Maxwell of Brakenside, William, Alexander, Robert, Frederick, Edward, and Michael, and a daughter.

      John, seventh Lord Herries, joined the marquis of Montrose when he took up arms for Charles the First, for which he was excommunicated by the General Assembly, 26th April 1644. He was one of those proposed to be excepted from pardon by the articles of Westminster in July 1646, which Charles refused to ratify. In 1667 he succeeded to the titles of earl of Nithsdale and Lord Maxwell (See NITHSDALE, earl of). Died in 1677. He had Robert, his successor, and John and William.

      Robert, 4th earl of Nithsdale, and 8th Lord Herries, died in 1696. He had an only son, William, his successor, and a daughter, Mary, married to Charles, earl of Traquair.

      William, fifth earl of Nithsdale, and ninth Lord Herries, took part in the insurrection of 1715. Tried by the house of peers on 19th January 1716, and found guilty of high treason, he had sentence of death pronounced against him, but escaped from the Tower by the contrivance of his countess, and died 20th March 1744. His only son, William Maxwell of Nithsdale, usually called earl of Nithsdale, succeeded on his father’s decease to the fee of the estates of Nithsdale and Terregles, which had been disponed to him in 1712. He married Catherine, daughter of Charles, earl of Traquair, and died in Aug. 1776. He had only two daughters; 1. Mary, who died in infancy, and 2. Winifred Maxwell, who succeeded.

      Lady Winifred Maxwell, as she was always called, married William Haggerton Constable of Everingham, Yorkshire, 2d son of Sir Carnaby Haggerston, of Haggerston, Northumberland, and had Marmaduke constable Maxwell, two other sons, and two daughters. She died July 1801.

      Marmaduke Constable Maxwell of Nithsdale and Everingham married Teresa Apolonia Wakeman of Beckford, Gloucestershire, and had; 1. William Constable Maxwell; 2. Marmaduke C. Maxwell; 3. Peter C. Maxwell; 4. Henry C. Maxwell; 5. Joseph C. Maxwell; and two daughters. On 16th May 1844, he executed a deed of entail by which he disponed the Nithsdale estates, or those which had belonged to the family of Maxwell, to his eldest son, William Constable Maxwell, now Lord Herries, and the Terregles estate, which had belonged to the Herries family, to his second son, now the Hon. Marmaduke Constable Maxwell. He died in 1819.

      William Constable Maxwell, now Lord Herries, succeeded to the estates of Nithsdale and Everingham on his father’s death in 1819. He petitioned for a reversal of the attainder, and the title of Lord Herries, as the lineal descendant and heir of Herbert, first Lord Herries. An act of parliament being passed in 1848, reversing the attainder as regards the descendants of William, earl of Nithsdale, forfeited in 1716, he claimed the title of Lord Herries, which was decided in his favour, June 23, 1858, by the house of lords, William Maxwell of Carruchan, the heir male, having opposed. He may, therefore, but for the attainder, be considered the 13th Lord Herries. He married Marcia, daughter of Hon. Sir Edward M. Vavasour, Bart., of Hazlewood, Yorkshire, with issue; Hon. Marmaduke, master of Herries, 6 other sons, and 8 daughters.


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