This impressive service was almost certainly created for William Maxwell, sixth Earl of Nithsdale (but under attainder), whose parents William, the fifth Earl (1676-1744) and Winifred, Countess of Nithsdale (1672-1749) were renowned for their dramatic escape from the Tower of London. The fifth earl had been imprisoned in the Tower and sentenced to death following his involvement in the Jacobean rising of 1715. Dismayed at her husband's fate, the Countess traveled to London from the family seat in Terregles, Scotland where she pleaded for clemency at the feet of George I. Though her appeals to the monarch were unsuccessful, Winifred managed to infiltrate the Tower with her retinue, and, on the on the eve of his execution in February 1716, orchestrated his escape by disguising him as one of her female companions. She then arranged for his flight to France where the couple was re-united and served in the exiled Jacobite court. The patron for the present service was one of only two surviving children of William and Winifred's union. He presided over his family's lands until his death in 1776.