This surname of MAXTON was of territorial origin from the barony of the same name in Roxburghshire. The place may have derived its name from MACCUS, the son of Undewyn, who in the reign of David I obtained lands in the neighbourhood. The barony passed out of possession of the family by the end of the 12th century, being acquired by Robert de Berkeley and later by the de Normanvilles. About the year 1250, Adam de MAKUSTON witnessed a charter, and Adam de MAXTON was elected abbot of Melrose in 1261. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. The Hungarian family of MAXON is descended from an individual of this name who emigrated to that country several generations ago. A family of MAXTONS have been settled for six centuries at Cultoquey in Perthshire, and the celebrated 'litany' was the composition of one of its members about the year 1725. The satire was aimed at certain powerful neighbours of his and embodied the popular characteristics of certain Scottish families:
'From the greed of the Cambells,
From the ire of the Drummonds,
From the pride of the Grahams
From the wind of the Murrays.
Good Lord, deliver us'.
In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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