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The Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society

Past Presidents

The Right Hon. Sir Herbert E. Maxwell


The Right Hon. Sir Herbert E. Maxwell President of the DGNHAS between 1900-1902


Herbert Eustace Maxwell was one of the key figures in the development of Scottish archaeology.  He inherited the estate of Monreith, Mochrum, in 1877.  In the same year the Ayrshire and Wigtonshire Archaeological Association was formed with Maxwell as one of its vice-presidents.  He began to build up a large collection of archaeological objects, many of which had been found on the estate by his tenants.  The vast majority of these were donated to the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh, now part of National Museums Scotland.


He also carried out a number of excavations in Wigtownshire, most notably at St Ninian's Cave and at St Medan's Chapel, Kirkmaiden.


Maxwell was involved in archaeology at a national level.  As MP for Wigtownshire he was a keen supporter of the 1882 Ancient Monuments Act.  To encourage other landowners Maxwell offered a number of archaeological sites on his estate for guardianship by the state under the new act.  These sites included the standing stones at Drumtroddan, the Wren's Nest stones and the Iron Age fort at Barsalloch.


Maxwell was President of the Society of Antiquaries from 1900 to 1913.  He was also the first Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland, a post he held for 26 years.


Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
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