The association between the families of Pollock and Maxwell’s go back to the 12th century. Through feudal bonds, military alliances, living in the same area in Renfrewshire and finally through marriage, the Pollock’s and Maxwell’s are linked together. The Pollock tartan originated from the Maxwell tartan and members of the Pollock family can wear either one. The first marriage of a Pollock and a Maxwell was when Robert de Polloc married Agnes, the daughter of Sir John Maxwell of Carlaverock prior to 1372. There is a wonderful story regarding the Maxwell’s of Carlaverock which will have to be told at a later time.
This story is in regards to Sir John Maxwell de Pollock in the mid-1500’s. Sir John was knighted by Mary Queen of Scots and was completely devoted to her. Both Sir John and the Pollock families fought for Mary Queen of Scots in the Battle at Langside in 1568 after her escape from Lochlevin. Sir John was a person in whom she had assurance, both of his fidelity and affection to her interest, ordered him to meet her at Hamiltoun with his friends and servants, " boden in feef of Weir," as the Original Letters bear, and he continued with Her Majesty until the defeat of her troops at Langside.
Below is the contents of the letter:
Letter from Queen Mary to Sir John Maxwell, before the Battle of Langside, 5th May 1568
To o"r Traist Friend,
Ye. Laird of Nether Pollok. }
Traist friend, we greit you weill. We dowt not bot ye knaw that God of his Gudenes has put us at libertie; quhome we thank maist heartlie.— Quhairfore desires you wc all possible diligence faill not to be heir at us in Hamylton w' all yor. folks friends and serwands bodin in fear of wear as ye will do us acceptable service and pleasure Because we know yor. Constance. We neid no*, at this pnt to mak langar Lre bot will byd yow fair weill.
Off Hamylton ye. V. of Maij 1568,
(Signed) MAIRIE R.
The History regarding Mary Queen of Scots and the Battle of Langside.
On 2nd May 1568, Mary Queen of Scots escaped from Lochleven Castle, where she had been imprisoned for ten months after being arrested and deposed from the Crown by members of the Scottish nobility mainly due to her Catholicism and feud with her cousin Queen Elizabeth. With Mary determined to reclaim her crown, her escape was a huge crisis for the Scottish Government headed by Lord James Steward, Earl of Moray as Regent. Both Mary and Moray quickly gathered supporters, (the Maxwells and Pollocks being two of the Scottish nobility siding with Queen Mary) and on 13 May 1568 their opposing forces fought outside Glasgow at Langside, in what was a critical conflict for each of them. Although Mary’s forces were numerically superior, Moray was surrounded by Scotland’s most able generals and his well-organized army overwhelmed her troops.
The battle lasted a little over 45 minutes, Mary was led from the battlefield by Herries, Maxwell, Lord Claud Hamilton, Fleming Livingston and a small group of supporters. She made her way southwest and to the Solway Firth from where she took a fishing boat to England intent on seeking help from Elizabeth. Mary Queen of Scots was later executed.
For the full history on this battle and Mary Queen of Scots, you may visit the MaryQueenofScots.net website, URL: http://www.maryqueenofscots.net/battle-langside/ .
Sir John Maxwell later received the following letter from King James VI who was the son of Mary Queen of Scots, he not only was King of Scotland but became King of England and Ireland. This letter is written in “Old English” and shows the Maxwell’s continuing support of Mary Queen of Scots lineage.
Letter from King James VI. to Sir John Maxwell, to attend at Holyrood House, December 1593.
" To o"r right Traist friend,
The Laird of Nether Pollok, &c. }
Right Traist friend, we greet you hartlie weill. It hes pleasit God, (to pure greit content ment, and we ar assurit na les to ye comoune lyking of all or. weill affected subiecks) to blyss us with appeirance of successioun : oure deirest bed-fellow ye Quene being wr. chyld and neir hir tyme of delyverie, Qlk and u"yr wechtie effairs geving occasioune of a mair necesser de- liberatioun and advyse of of. nobilitie and estaites, nor at any tyme heir afoir, we have maid speciall chose of you amangis uy"ris quhome we will desyr maist earnistlie, all excuses sett a'pte not to faill to address your selff toward ws here at halyrudhous ye XL day of Januar nix to cum, at q'. tyme ye sail be acqueintit with ye p"ticulars motioning your coming, qlk we assuredly luik for as ye will kyth your affectioun in yat erand, furnishing matir of com"oun reioysing we dout nocht to you and all or gude subiectis, and to ye avancement of sic u"yr purposes of greit wecht and importance as ar to be treated and resolved in that conventioun Swa we committ you to Goodis blisset protectioun. From Halyrudhouse XVIII. day of December 1593.
(Signed) JAMES R.
Clan Pollock - Pollock and Maxwell
“A General Description of the Shire of Renfrew, Including an Account of the Noble and Ancient Families ... To which is Added, a Genealogical History of the Royal House of Stewart, and of the Several Noble and Illustrious Families of that Name, from the Year 1034 to the Year 1710” by George Crawfurd; London, 1818
“A History of the County of Renfrew From the Earliest of Times” by William M. Metcalfe, D.D.; Paisley, 1905.
MaryQueenofScots.net; The Battle of Langside – 13 May 1568;
The Tudor Society – 17 June 1567 – Mary Queen of Scots, is imprisoned at Lochleen Castle; URL: https://www.tudorsociety.com/17-june-1567-mary-queen-scots-imprisoned-lochleven-castle/