Sir Aymer Maxwell, brother of Sir James, Chamberlain of Scotland, who died in 1241, was the progenitor of this great Border family. Seven generations later, his descendant, Herbert, became Lord Maxwell. In this line, it was the 8th Lord who was created Earl of Nithsdale by Charles I. Loyal to the House of Stewart, the 5th Earl was out in The Fifteen. He was, however, captured and sentenced to death. From his prison in the Tower of London, he was most courageously rescued by his wife, who, dressing him in womans clothes, remained behind while he made his escape. He later died in Rome. Stemming from younger sons of the 13th century Sir Aymer come the Maxwells of Cardoners, of Springkell, of Pollock and the Earls of Farnham.