« PreviousContinue »
him as "Johannes de Maxwell, dominus de Polloc inferiori,” while in the other John Maxwell is simply described as the brother of Herbert. (Cart., pp. 104-380.) The name has generally been accepted as coming from that Macus who, about the year 1116, witnessed the inquisition made by David, Prince of Cumberland, afterwards King David I., into the possessions of the Church of Glasgow. Thus there would be first “Macus" only; then “Macus' vil,” or town of Macus; until mere superfluity appears in the now familiar “Maxwelltown" of the Herries barony. Other derivations, however, have not been wanting, and are yet maintained by scholars of high reputation, as the Gaelic “Pollag," a little pool, and “weil,” or circling eddy in a stream, as also “well” itself. In any case, such names as Undwyn, father of Macus, and of Liolf, his son, may be accepted as indicating a Saxon origin for the family.
Pollok proper, or Upper Pollok, as it was frequently called, was held possession of by a family of that name for over six hundred years, or from 1163 till 1794, when, on the death of Sir Hew Crawford of Jordanhill, the baronetcy was taken up by his eldest son, Robert, in whose person the families of Pollok, Kilbirnie, and Jordanhill became united. Dying without issue in August, 1845, Sir Robert was succeeded by his nephew, Hew, in the properties of Pollok and Kilbirnie, and also in the baronetcy of Kilbirnie, which last dates from 1638. By his wife, Elizabeth Oswald, daughter of Matthew Dunlop, Sir Hew Crawford had, besides one daughter, Jane, a son, Hew Crawford-Pollok, born 1843, the fifth and present baronet of Kilbirnie, who succeeded to the family honours on the death of his father, 5th March, 1867. Tracing a common ancestor in the very earliest of the Maxwells of Nether Pollok, the house of Calderwood springs more immediately from Sir John Maxwell, who, under a deed, dated at Dumbarton, 18th December, 1400, settled the family lands on his eldest son John, by Isobel, daughter of Sir James Lindsay, and the barony of Calderwood, with other lands, on his younger son Robert, who in 1402 married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Sir Robert Dennistoun of Dennistoun, by whom he had two sons-one, John, his heir; and George, ancestor of the Maxwells of Newark. The present Sir William Maxwell of Calderwood, born 11th August, 1828, is the tenth in descent of the Nova Scotia baronets, an honour first conferred on Sir James of Calderwood, March, 1627–Sir James being at the time heir presumptive of Sir John of Pollok, but afterwards passed over in favour of George Maxwell of Auldhouse. The present Sir William of Calderwood succeeded on the death of his father, Sir Hugh Bates, ninth baronet, February, 1870.
Third in descent from that Aymer de Maxwell of Caerlaverock, mentioned above, was Sir John, son of Sir Robert of Pollok, who, by his marriage with Isobel Lindsay of Crawford, daughter of Walter the High Steward, had, with other sons and daughters (1) John, his successor, who greatly distinguished himself at Otterburn (1388) by capturing Sir Ralph Percy, brother of the noted Hotspur; and (2) Robert, ancestor of the Maxwells of Calderwood. Another John Maxwell is found afterwards succeeding to Pollok, and leaving by his wife, Elizabeth, a daughter of Sir Patrick Houstoun of Houstoun, an only child, Elizabeth, sole heiress of Pollok, who brought the estate to her husband, Sir John, son of George Maxwell of Cowglen. This Sir John was knighted by Queen Mary, summoned to repair in her support to the muster-ground at Hamilton after the escape from Lochleven, with all his servants "bodin in feir of war," and fought in her army at Langside, on the borders of his own estate, May, 1568.
The Sir John Maxwell, last mentioned, fell at Dryfe Sands while aiding his chief, Lord Nithsdale, Warden of the West Marches, in an attack on the Johnstons, Scotts, Elliots, and other Border clans, 7th December, 1593. Sir John had some eight years previously finished building the now ruined castle of Haggs, as appears from an inscription all but illegible on a triangular stone over the main doorway
RIT FRUSTRA STRVIS,
AND D. MARGARET CONYNGHAM,
The Dame Margaret Cunningham here mentioned was Sir John's first wife, a daughter of the Laird of Caprington, and mother of one daughter, Agnes, who married John Boyle, of Kelburne, ancestor of the Earls of Glasgow, and one son, Sir John of Pollok, at whose death, in 1647, without male issue, the estate, heritable and moveable, went to his cousin George of Auldhouse, although not without several attempts on the part of the Calderwood branch to disturb the succession. The Springkell Maxwells, who acquired the barony of Kirkconnel and Springkell, Annandale, 1609, and were created Baronets of Nova Scotia, 1683, claim to represent the male line of the Pollok family through an earlier George of Auldhouse. The second wife of Sir John, founder of Haggs Castle, so long a jointure-house in the family, was Marjory, daughter of Sir William Edmonstone of Duntreath, descended from Robert III. through the Princess Mary. This Royal connection was again renewed in the family by the above George of Auldhouse marrying (1646) Annabella, daughter of Sir Archibald Stewart of Blackhall and Ardgowan.
The name of Sir George Maxwell is associated with a case famous in the superstitious annals of Renfrewshire in connection with the reputed crime of witchcraft. Nearly twenty years before the local Presbytery had its attention directed with such fatal results to the deplorable case of Christian Shaw, of Bargarran. Sir George was taken suddenly ill while in Glasgow on the night of October 14, 1677, and afterwards confined to his mansion at Pollok, suffering severe bodily pain. A vagrant girl named Janet Douglas, who pretended to be dumb, was considered a clever witch-finder, and owing some of his tenants a grudge, accused several of them of bewitching Sir George. To confirm her assertions, she contrived, in one or two instances, to secrete small wax figures of the suffering knight, stuck with pins, in the dwellings of the accused persons. A special commission was issued for the trial of the case on the spot, and after a long investigation, at which were present, besides some of the Lords of Justiciary, most of the leading men of Renfrewshire, the following unfortunate creatures, namely, Janet Mathie, widow of John Stewart, under_miller in Shaw Mill; John Stewart, her son; and three old women, the parties accused, were condemned to be strangled and burned; and Annabil Stewart, a girl fourteen years old, the daughter of Mathie, ordered to be imprisoned. A local ballad on the tragedy
, . makes mention of the story as
“ Told by legends old,
All around the evening fire.
“ How the faggots blazed on the Gallow-green,
Where they hung the witches high,
Till darkened the lowering sky."
Besides three daughters who married into the families of Dreghorn, Upper Pollok, and Calderwood, Sir George left at his death in 1677 one son, Sir John Maxwell of Pollok, created a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles II., April 12, 1682, with extension of the title, in virtue of another patent, March 27, 1707, to his heirs-male whatsoever. In July, 1683, Sir John Maxwell was imprisoned for refusing to take the test, and December 2, 1684, he was fined £8000 by the Privy Council for allowing recusants to live on his lands, and refusing the Bond and Test. The Council, however, declared that if paid before the end of the month the fine would be reduced to £2000. In 1689 Sir John was sworn a Privy Councillor to King William. The same year he represented the county of Renfrew in the Convention of Estates. He was afterwards Commissioner for the same county in the Scots Parliament. In 1696 he was appointed one of the Lords of the Treasury and Exchequer. On the 6th February, 1699, he was admitted an Ordinary Lord of Session, and on the 14th of the same month nominated Lord Justice-Clerk. In the latter office he was superseded in 1702. He died July 4, 1732, in his ninetieth year, without issue.
His cousin, Sir John Maxwell, previously styled of Blawerthill, succeeded as second Baronet of Pollok. He was the son of Zecharias Maxwell of Blawerthill, younger brother of Sir George Maxwell of Auldhouse and Pollok. He married, first, Lady Ann Carmichael, daughter of John, Earl of Hyndford, and had a son, John, and two daughters; secondly, Barbara, daughter of Walter Stewart of Blairhall; issue, three sons-(1) George, of Blawerthill, who died unmarried; (2) Walter ; (3) James; and two daughters; thirdly, Margaret, of the family of Caldwell of Caldwell, without issue. He died in 1753.
His eldest son, Sir John Maxwell, became third Baronet. On his death, his half brother, Sir Walter, succeeded as fourth Baronet, and died in 1761.
Sir Walter's only son, Sir John, became fifth Baronet, but died nine weeks after his father.
The title and estates reverted to his father's youngest brother, Sir James, sixth Baronet. This gentleman married Frances, second daughter of Robert Colquhoun of St. Christopher's, of the family of Kenmure; issue, two sons(1) John, his successor; (2) Robert, a Captain in the army, died without issue; and two daughters—(1) Frances, wife of John Cunningham of Craigends; (2) Barbara, married Rev. Greville Ewing. Sir James died in 1785.
Sir John, seventh Baronet, was the first M.P. for Paisley under the Reform Act of 1832, as many as 777 votes being tendered for him in opposition to 180 given in favour of Mr. M‘Kerrell of Hillhouse. He held the seat, however, for only two years, when he accepted the Chiltern Hundreds, and was succeeded by Professor Sir D. K. Sandford, after a contest with John Crawford, another Liberal, and Lieutenant J. E. Gordon, Conservative. He married (1788) Hannah-Anne, daughter of Mr. Richard Gardiner of Aldborough, Suffolk, by whom (who died 21st July, 1841) he had issue-John, eighth Baronet; Harriet-Anne, died unmarried 1841; Elizabeth, marrried ist June, 1815, Mr. Archibald Stirling of Keir, and died 5th September, 1822, leaving (with two daughters, who both died unmarried) a son, Mr. William Stirling of Keir, M.P., the late Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, ninth Baronet of Pollok.