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Maxwell Coat of Arms / Maxwell Family Crest

Maxwell Coat of Arms / Maxwell Family Crest

This surname MAXWELL from the form (Maccusville) in which it appears in records of the 12th and 13th Centuries, is commonly thought to be of Norman origin. The name, however, is Old English, and derived from a salmon pool on the Tweed, near Kelso Bridge, still locally known as 'Maxwheel'. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land. Early records of the name mention Herbert, who granted a charter of Macchuswel to the Abbey of Kelso before 1159, and witnessed several charters by William the Lion. In 1226 Johannes de Makeswell witnessed a charter by Alexander II concerning the levying of tolls at the cross of Schedenestun, now Shettleston. A family of this name, who hold the earldoms of Morton and of Nithsdale, trace their descent from a certain Maccus or Magnus, who in 1170 entered the service of David, Earl of Cumbria, later King of Scotland. The sheriff of Teviotdale in around 1200 was a certain Herbert de Maccuswell, probably a member of this family. In 1581 John Maxwell became Earl of Morton, when his maternal uncle, the 4th Earl was attainted because of his part in the murder of Lord Darnley. The title was granted to the Douglas family in 1585 but, apparently through an administrative oversight, it had not in fact been removed from the Maxwells. Eventually, to avoid the confusion of two simultaneous holders of the same title, Robert Maxwell (1586-1646) exchanged it for the earldom of Nithsdale in 1620. Alba, the country which became Scotland, was once shared by four races; the Picts who controlled most of the land north of the Central Belt; the Britons, who had their capital at Dumbarton and held sway over the south west, including modern Cumbria; the Angles, who were Germanic in origin and annexed much of the Eastern Borders in the seventh century, and the Scots. The latter came to Alba from the north of Ireland late in the 5th century to establish a colony in present day Argyll, which they named Dalriada, after their homeland. The Latin name SCOTTI simply means a Gaelic speaker. An Irish family of this name descended from Sir Robert Maxwell of Lanarkshire, were granted the earldom of Farnham in 1763. A notable member of the name in America was Arthur Stanley MAXWELL, born 14th January 1896. He was an author, and Editor of 'Sign of the Times' (1936) 'Courage for the Crisis' (1961) and numerous children's books. He resided at Los Sltos Hills, California.


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last updated on: April 3rd, 2017

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