Adam Johnston was laird of Johnston in the year of 1413, and fought at the Battle of Sark in the year 1448. Adams son took part on the royals side in the desperate struggle to suppress the Douglas clan in their plans for rebellion against James the second.
The clan of the Johnston 's proliferated as one of the most turbulent clans on the western borders, but this clan can not be connected to the Johnston clan of Strathspey in the Highlands of Scotland.
The clan Johnston had a hereditary enemy in the shape of the clan Maxwell. Lord Maxwell, the head of the clan was an extremely powerful man in the south western border country at that time in the sixteenth century. He was slain with many of his men at a fight near Dryfe sands near Lockerbie in the year of 1593.
In turn at a meeting held in the year 1608 to reconcile their differences, Johnston was treacherously murdered by the ninth Lord Maxwell who would eventually pay for his crime in 1608 by being executed from a scaffold for common murder.
In the year of 1633, Charles the first created James Johnston to Lord Johnston of Lochwood, ten years later he was made earl of Hartfell, which was a title designated to his male heirs only. After the battle of Kilsyth the new earl joined Montrose. He was captured at Philiphaugh later that year but was spared by the intervention of Argyll.
Charles the second eased any suffering he had endured by giving to him a charter for a territorial earldom, and creating him Earl of Annandale and Hartfell.
In the year of 1701, William the third earl of Hartfell and second Earl of Annandale and Hartfell was raised to the rank of marques of Annandale . In the year 1747 George the third and last marques was declared incapable of managing his affairs. In 1792 the titles became dormant. In the year 1982 the Lord Lyon recognised Percy Johnston of Annandale and of that Ilk as baron of the lands of Annandale and Hartfell and of the lordship of the Johnston 's.