Clan Maxwell Society


Celebrating the Scottish Heritage of Maxwells and Their Allied Families: Adair  Blackstock  Dinwiddie/Dinwoodie/Dinswoodie  Edgar  Herries Kirk Kirkland  Latimore/Latimer  MacKittrick  Maxton  Monreith  Moss  Nithsdale  Peacock  Pollock/Pollok  Polk/Paulk  Rawlins  Sturgeon  Wardlaw

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Maxwell Allied and Dependent Families
• Dinwiddie/Dinwoodie/Dinswoodie •


“Of territorial origin from the lands or barony of Dinwoodie in the parish of Dumfriesshire. Sir Alan de Dunwidi was seneschal of Annandale in the first quarter of the 13th Century, and Adam de Dunwidie witnessed a quit claim of the lands of Weremundebi and Anant c. 1194-1214. Bet- ween 1218 and 1245, Adam de Dunwudhi was witness to a quit claim of land in Annan. Aleyn de Dunwythye of Berwickshire rendered homage to Edward I in 1296. John de Dunwothy, dominus ejusdem, appears as charter witness, 1361. In 1504, Thomas Dunwedy of the ilk was slain by the Jardings at the place of Dunwedy, and in 1512, another laird of the name was slain in Edinburgh. In 1504, Robert Dunwedy, son of the laird, was convicted of stouthreif, and Nicolas Dunwedy was hanged for reset of theft. Jean Dinwoodie was examined for the Test in Tinwald, 1685. Robert Dinwiddie, born in Glasgow in 1693, was governor of Virginia from 1751 and 1758. His recommendation of the annexation of the Ohio Valley secured that great territory to the United States. This surname is spelled in more than 100 forms in old Scots records.”     — Black1

The lands of the Dinwiddies and the Jardines abutted one another along the east bank of the Annan. If they were frequently at feud with one another, as the evidence of 1504 suggests, and the Jardines allied themselves with the Johnstons, their most powerful near neighbor, the Kinwiddies probably allied them- selves with “the other side” — the Maxwells. Dinwiddie men were probably with Lord Maxwell at the disastrous Dryfe Sands battle which was fought within five miles of their home territory in 1593.

Notes on the Family Name from One of Our Members . . .

Dunwidi of Dunwidi is the first known spelling, according to an 85 page manuscript written by R.D. Whittenbury-Kaye, a young curate, around 1920. He was apparently researching the an- cestry of Gov. Robert Dinwiddie and, typical in dealing with the origins of the Dinwoodies, found that the governor's own grandfather wrote his name as Dinwoody. Whittenbury-Kaye died at a young age, and a friend, Thomas Somerville, tried without success to have his research pub- lished. The manuscript was left with a printer, Robert Dinwiddie, in Dumfries, Scotland.

The manuscript’s forward states that Dinwoodies are an ancient Scottish family of Annandale whose surname is derived from their old estate, and the Lairds of Dinwoodie wrote themselves "of that ilk" for at least four centuries. They appear on the famous Ragmans Roll, considered the Scottish Equivalent for the Norman Roll of Battle Abbey in all matters of family antiquity.

Dinwiddie Arms

Motto: Where there's liberty
there's my country.

Dunwidi/Dunwidie, whence the lairds derived their surnames, is a prehistoric fortified hill, 871 feet above sea level, in the Parish of Applegarth, Dumfrieshire, Scotland. The old lairdship is in the heart of Annandale, about 5 miles N-NW of Lockerbie and Lochmaban.

The manuscript states that there is no doubt whatever as to the first syllable of Dunwidie/ Dinwiddie. It is the old Keltic word Din (Brythonic) or Dun (Gaelic), a fortified stronghold, originally always meaning a "hill fort.” It is usually found in place names combining both meanings, sig- nifying a stronghold built on a hilltop. This indicates the name originates in Scotland, not France or some other place. Johnston’s Place Names of Scot land comes to the same conclusion.

Dinwoodie/Dunwoodie, one might think, could mean Castle /Fort in the wood; however, this spelling is quite modern therefore appears to be a mere corruption. Dunwedy would mean Castle of the pledge or wager, but this Gaelic term was not the first recorded spelling. Dunwithie/ widie in old Scotland would mean a halter or gallows. Here are some of the different spellings and dates they were first recorded in Scotland: Dunwidie/Dunwidi (1191), Dunwythie (1296), Dinwoodie (1617), and Dinwiddie (1629). It appears the old fortress had a purely Keltic name and origin. As we find Dun is the earlier form, the hillfort may have been occupied by the SELGOVAE, the most ancient known inhabitants of Annandale, probable Gaels, akin to the Picks of Galloway, who like the Selgovae, later mingled with Brythonic Conquerors.     — Robert Dinwoodie, Manchester NH



Dinwoodie Arms

This version of the Dinwoodie Family Arms was found by one of our members, Foster W. Dunwiddie, while visiting Scotland in 1978. It was engraved in a stone which was built into the wall of a farmhouse's front porch and was said to have been the cornerstone of the long-destroyed Dinwoodie Castle.

The farmhouse, Dinwoodie Mains, was built in 1811. The arms, in red sandstone, are located over the window near the entry-way door.

Above the arms are the initials "R.M.," and beneath is the date 1631. The arms two "mullets" (stars) would suggest the initials are for Robert Maxwell II who was Laird of Dynwiddie in 1631 and the ward of Lady Jane Dynwiddie, his aunt. According to tradition, this stone in the farmhouse originated from Dinwoodie Castle, which stood near the farm. However, the stone more likely was taken from a newer tower built on the right bank of the Annan River by Robert Maxwell II. Robert Maxwell II is described in documents of the period as "Maxwell of the Tower" and lived there rather than at old Dynwiddie House (or Castle). The "old" Dynwiddie House or Castle was undoubtedly from an earlier era.

This drawing shows the details:

At the center of the arms is a shield surrounded by strapwork enrichment and bearing in chief two mullets (stars) with a human head inverted and suspended by a "woodie" or rope of "withies" passed through the mouth.

Applegarth Church, Dumfriesshire.

The arms also appear in armorial carvings on a number of the tombstones found in the churchyard of Applegarth in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The present church was built in 1760, standing on the site on an older church, where England's King Edward I stopped on July 7, 1300 to make his oblations enroute to the siege of Caerlaverock Castle.

In the churchyard is the tombstone of James Dinwoodie (1694-1745), of Newbinning, which contains an excellent depiction of the Dinwoodie Family Arms. The sketch shown above was made from this tombstone.

— Pictures and information provided by Foster W. Dunwiddie, Henderson NV

  1. George Fraser Black was born in Stirling, Scotland, in 1866. He was associate director of the Scottish National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh before coming to the United States in 1896. After which he worked diligently for the New York Public Library until his retirement in 1931. Dr Black is remembered as a noted bibliographer, historical scholar, penman and a definitive authority on Scottish surnames and lore.


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