Page images

by this marriage the Herries barony passed into that powerful branch of the Maxwell family so prominently mixed up in their day with all the events which have become historically associated with Nithsdale, Annandale, and the southern counties generally. The formidable fortresses of Caerlaverock and Threave indicate but partly the baronial splendour of the Maxwells. In quite recent times at least two other interesting properties have fallen into the Herries branch of the Maxwell family. Through the marriage of William Maxwell, only son of the attainted or fifth Earl of Nithsdale, with Catherine, daughter of Charles, fourth Earl of Traquair, their descendant, Henry Constable-Maxwell of Scarthingwell Park, Yorkshire, uncle of the new Peer, succeeded to the Traquair property in 1875 on the death of the venerable Lady Louisa Stuart, whose name he assumed. By his marriage with Mary Monica, only daughter of Hope-Scott, Q.C., Joseph Constable-Maxwell, younger brother of the present Lord Herries, succeeded to the romantic Tweedside property of Abbotsford, and adopted, like his fatherin-law, the name of Scott. The Galloway property of Terregles has been kept in the family by the succession of Alfred Constable-Maxwell, second surviving son of Peter, another brother of the late Peer, and nephew of Marmaduke Constable-Maxwell, so long distinguished for the refined hospitality with which he kept up the fame of a beautiful property, naturally looked upon in some respects as the cradle of the race from which he sprung. Constable-Maxwell died July, 1872, and is fittingly commemorated by an exquisite memorial chapel within the walls of that Roman Catholic Church in Dumfries which during life he had supported with princely munificence. The recently erected convent crowning the eminence known as Corbelly Hill, on the opposite side of the Nith, and the establishment of the Marian Brothers in a fabric long occupied as the Royal Infirmary, may serve to indicate the zeal with which the Herries Maxwells supported the ancient faith, from which they never swerved.

The earliest Maxwell of Caerlaverock mentioned in history is Sir John, Great Chamberlain of Scotland, 1231, whose son, Aylmer or Emereus, also Great Chamberlain, acquired the barony and castle of Mearns by his marriage

with Mary, only daughter and heiress of Roland, feudal possessor of the barony. A younger son of this marriage acquired from his father the barony of NetherPollock, and founded the family now represented by the young Stirling-Maxwells. The eldest, Sir Herbert de Maxwell, was grandfather of that Sir Eustace who defended Caerlaverock against Edward I., as described in the curious contemporary Norman-French poem, edited during the present century by Sir Harris Nicolas. From this point the Caerlaverock Maxwells divide themselves into two distinct and well-defined branches-the Maxwells, Lords Herries of Terregles, and the Maxwells, Earls of Nithsdale. By the line last mentioned the Herries honours were carried into the Yorkshire family of Constable, Lady Winifred Maxwell, daughter of the attainted Lord Nithsdale, marrying in 1758 Haggerston Constable of Everingham. Their grandson, Marmaduke-William Constable, was father of that William who established his right to the Herries honours, which are now about to receive an augmentation in the person of his son Marmaduke, the present Peer. The latter, as mentioned above, was born in 1837, and educated at Stonyhurst Roman Catholic College. In 1875 he married the Hon. Angela Mary Charlotte Fitzalan Howard, second daughter of Lord Howard of Glossip, and has issue two daughters, Gwendoline and Angela Mary, both born in 1877.

Herbert of the But a still earlier

It is uncertain when the Herries barony was created. name is known to have sat as a Lord of Parliament in 1489. reference to the family, if not to the dignity, occurs in the person of a certain William de Heriz, who witnesses various charters in the reign of William the Lion. The first described as of Terregles (or Church lands of Lincluden) is Sir John "Herice," who obtained a charter of the lands from David II. on the resignation of the same by Thomas, Earl of Mar, in 1359. Nine years later this same Sir John would appear to have received a grant of the lands of Kirkgunzeon, within the Stewartry, which had previously belonged to the Abbey of Holmculteram, in Cumberland. The most prominent of his descendants was John Maxwell (Lord Herries), the friend and adviser of Queen Mary,

who accompanied her in the flight from Langside, entertained her, it is thought, at least one night in his mansion of Terregles, and, much againt his advice, saw her sail across the Solway from Dundrennan for the purpose of submitting her case to her sister Sovereign, Elizabeth of England. The tenure of the barony is not free from doubt during its occupancy by Sir John Maxwell. 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 December, 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 (23rd June, 1858). They thought 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.

William Maxwell, fifth Earl of Nithsdale and Lord Herries, married the Lady Winifred Herbert, youngest daughter of William, first Marquis of Powis, The Earl having taking part for the Stuarts in the rising of 1715 was, 9th February, 1716, found guilty of high treason, and had sentence of death pro

nounced against him. His Lordship, however, through the heroic aid of his devoted and incomparable Countess, escaped from the Tower of London after his conviction, and died at Rome, 20th March, 1744, leaving issue an only son William, who married, as mentioned before, Catherine Stuart of the house of Traquair, with issue Winifred Maxwell, who married, also as mentioned before, William-Haggerston Constable of Everingham, Yorkshire, whose grandson William established his right to the Herries honours. He petitioned in the first instance for a reversal of the attainder and for 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 again claimed the title of Lord Herries, which was decided in his favour, June 23, 1858, by the House of Lords, William Maxwell of Corruchan, the heir-male, having opposed. William Constable may therefore, but for the attainder, be considered the thirteenth Lord Herries. He married Marcia, daughter of Hon. Sir Edward M. Vavasour, Bart., of Hazlewood, Yorkshire, and had issue a large family of sons and daughters, the eldest being the present Lord Harris, Marmaduke Constable Maxwell, fourteenth Baron. On at least three different occasions during the present century the ancient but still stately ruin of Caerlaverock has been the scene of festivities on a great scale, which revived for a time the memory of its former greatness. On the first occasion, in 1827, the tenants of Caerlaverock and other friends dined in the ancient hall, when Wm. C. Maxwell came of age; on the second occasion, in 1858, they met in the same place to hail him as Lord Herries; and in 1859 his Lordship acknowledged the compliment by treating his tenantry to a grand banquet and ball within the walls of the Castle. The local historian (W. M'Dowall) seems to have had pleasure in mentioning that the best of feeling existed in ancient times between the Maxwells and their retainers, and continues down till the present day.


"KELTONHILL, that fechtin Fair," written of by Mayne and drawn by Faed, is likely to come again to the front in connection with the republication of Mactaggart's amusing "Gallovidian Encyclopædia." Born at Plunton, in the parish of Borgue-about 1800-"The Friday night before Keltonhill Fair was the night in which I, 'gommeral Johnnie,' first opened my mouth in this wicked world." The design of his work is to set before the reader the original, antiquated, and natural curiosities of the South of Scotland, with sketches of eccentric characters and curious places, and explanations of singular words and phrases, interspersed with poems, tales, and stories, illustrative of the ways of the peasantry. How and when the notion of such a production arose the author describes himself as at a loss to say: "I am inclined to imagine that it is mostly the work of instinct, that the conception of it was created in my skull when that thick skull itself was created, and afterwards expanded as it expanded; for, from my youngest days, I have been a wanderer amid the wilds of nature, and keenly fond of every curious thing belonging to my native country, while Providence has surely been very kind to me in this respect, for casting my lot in a nation among a rare and singular class of mankind." These few words of personal explanation furnish the key-note to balance in critical scales the humorous yet grave absurdities, the grotesque confusion exhibited in etymology and folk-lore, and the calm contented self-appreciation of the writer. If some books are valuable as warnings on account of their very badness, others again are doubly welcome when they unconsciously reflect all the droll twists and queer fancies characterising the imagination of an enthusiastic but ill-trained son of genius. No Advocate's Library was flung open to him; no Auchinleck MS. aided his researches; the whole is the work of habit and snatches, and a few hints received from others.

memory, of learning seized by Scampering along in this way, as

« PreviousContinue »