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The Maxwells are a Border clan and were active during the turbulent Border wars. The first leader was Maccus, son of Undweyn who lived in the 12th Century who appears to have given his name to Maccuswell, a pool of the Tweed near Kelso Bridge; Wael is old English for pool. His descendant Sir John Maxwell was appointed Chamberlain of Scotland but died without issue in 1241. He was the first to occupy the Maxwell's great castle of Caerlaverock. He was succeeded by his brother Sir Aymer who had two sons, Herbert and John. From these two brothers descend many branches of the Maxwell clan. Sir Herbert of Maxwell was one of the nobles who recognized Margaret of Norway as Queen of Scots and John Balliol as King. His grandson, Sir Eustace held Caerlaverock for Edward I in 1312 but later signed The Decalaration of Arbroath in 1320. He returned to Balliol's camp briefly but then followed the Bruces, his brother and son also followed David II to the field in 1346. Herbert his successor was knighted Lord Maxwell after James I return in 1424 and he became increasingly more powerful during the 15th century after the decline of the Black Douglases and became Warden of the Marches. John, Lord Maxwell in the reign of King James IV was imprisoned for lawlessness but later died with his King at Flodden in 1513. He had two sons, Robert, 5th Lord and John who became Lord Herries of Terregles by marrying Lady Anne Herries. His brother served briefly as Regent during King James V's reign and escorted Queen Mary of Lorraine to Scotland in 1538. In 1581, John, Lord Maxwell was created Earl of Morton after the execution of the Douglas holder, he was killed in an engagement with the Johnstons in 1593. His son also John, in revenge killed Sir James Johnston of that Ilk in 1608 and fled to the continent, only to be executed on his return in 1613. He was succeeded by his brother Robert who was created Earl of Nithsdale (the title of Earl of Morton was restored to the Douglases). The title reverted to Lord Herries when the direct line ended. The 5th Earl joined the Jacobite Rising of 1715 and was captured and sentenced to death, he escaped from the Tower of London dressed in female attire and then he escaped to Rome where he was forced to live in poverty until his death. Other Maxwell families include those of Pollock, Monreith, Cardoness and Corruchan. William Maxwell of Corruchan established in Lyon Court his claim as heir male of the Maxwells.



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