Born c.1512 Died 1583
John Maxwell was the second son of Robert Maxwell, 4th Lord Maxwell (d. 1546). In 1547 he married Agnes (d. 1594), daughter of William Herries, 3rd Lord Herries (d. 1543), a grandson of Herbert Herries (d. c.1500) of Terregles, Kirkcudbrightshire, who was created a lord of the Scottish parliament about 1490, and in 1567 he obtained the title of Lord Herries. But before this event Maxwell had become prominent among the men who rallied round Mary, Queen of Scots, although during the earlier part of his public life he had been associated with the religious reformers and had been imprisoned by the regent, Mary of Lorraine. He was, moreover — at least until 1563 — very friendly with John Knox, who calls him "a man zealous and stout in God's cause". But the transition from one party to the other was gradually accomplished, and from March 1566, when Maxwell joined Mary at Dunbar after the murder of David Rizzio and her escape from Holyrood, he remained one of her staunchest friends, although he disliked her marriage with Bothwell. He led her cavalry at Langside, and after this battle she committed herself to his care. Herries rode with the queen into England in May 1568, and he and John Lesley, bishop of Ross, were her chief commissioners at the conferences at York. He continued to labour in Mary's cause after returning to Scotland, and was imprisoned by the regent Murray; he also incurred Elizabeth's displeasure by harbouring the rebel Leonard Dacre, but he soon made his peace with the English queen. He showed himself in general hostile to the regent Morton, but he was among the supporters of the regent Lennox until his death on the 10th of January 1583.
His son William, 5th Lord Herries (d. 1604), was, like his father, warden of the west marches. William's grandson John, 7th Lord Herries (d. 1677), became 3rd Earl of Nithsdale in succession to his cousin Robert Maxwell, the 2nd earl, in 1667. John's grandson was William, 5th Earl of Nithsdale, the Jacobite (see Nithsdale). William was deprived of his honours in 1716, but in 1858 the House of Lords decided that his descendant William Constable-Maxwell (1804–1876) was rightly Lord Herries of Terregles. In 1876 William's son Marmaduke Constable-Maxwell (b. 1837) became 12th Lord Herries, and in 1884 he was created a baron of the United Kingdom.
(* Editor's note: or Robert Maxwell, 5th Lord Maxwell as some sources would argue.)
Being the entry for HERRIES, JOHN MAXWELL, 4TH LORD in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.