Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

26/10/2005

The Murray Family

Flemish adventurer named Freskin was the founder of the family of Murray. Initially a landholder in West Lothian, Freskin was invited by David Ito settle in Moray after the rebellion of the Celtic province in 1130. As the dominant family in the coastal districts on either side of the Moray Firth, his descendants had taken the name of Moray or Murray by tile outset of the 13th century.
The principal line of Moray secured the honorary office of pantryman in the royal household and served as key administrators for both Alexander II and Alexander Ill. Sir Walter of Moray’s acquisition of the lord— ship of Bothwell by marriage to the heiress
was complemented by other opportune marriages that enabled the family to expand into the Strathearn district of Perthshire as well as into Lanarkshire and the Borders.
The Morays of Bothwell prominently resisted English overlordship during the Wars of Independence. Andrew of Moray instigated the northern rebellion of 1297, before linking up with William Wallace, with whom he shared leadership of the Scottish army at Stirling Bridge on 11 September. Andrew died from wounds received in that victory.
Despite the one notable blemish in the patriotic record of the Murrays —. the betrayal of the Scots forces at Dupplin in 1332, which led to the execution of Andrew Murray of Tullibardine — the Perthshire branch emerged into a position of prominence, plague having terminated the principal line in 1361.
The Murrays’ re—establishment on the national stage can be attributed primarily to Sir William Murray of Tullibardine, a key treasury official and the great survivor in the vicious round of regency politics during the minority of James VI. Sir William’s son John, whose primacy was recognised in bands of association among the Murrays in 1586 and 1598, was created carl of Tullibardine in 1606. James VI went on to reward other Murrays prominent at Court and within his Scottish administration. Sir David Murray of Gospertie was created Viscount Stormont in 1621, three years before John Murray of Reidkirk — the Borderer — became earl of Annandale.
The Tullibardine family’s acquisition of the earldom of Atholl by marriage was confirmed in 1629. Nevertheless. John, the first Murray earl, was a faint—hearted royalist who succumbed to Covenanting pressures in 1640. Charles I was better served by Sir Patrick Murray of Elibank, whom he ennobled as Lord Elibank in 1643. at the same time that another royalist stalwart, David Murray of the Woodend family, was created earl of Dysart. Dysart’s daughter and successor Countess Elizabeth, the reputed mistress of Oliver Cromwell, won deserved notoriety for the political influence she exercised over John Maitland, duke of Lauderdale. first as his mistress and then as his wife. The more acceptable face of Lauderdale’s dominance of Scottish affairs after the Restoration was afforded by his leading judge, Sir Robert Murray of the Abercairny family, a founder of the Royal Society of London in 1660.
John, the second earl, created marquess of Atholl in 1676, mobilised the clans to crush the Argyll rebellion against James VII in 1685. His eldest son John, created duke of Atholl in 1703, led the Jacobite opposition to the Treaty of Union but accepted the Hanoverian succession in 1715.
The duke’s family exemplified the association of Jacobitism with civil war. His eldest son William, marquess of Tullibardine, commanded the Atholl Brigade for the Jacobites. Exiled, attainted and debarred from the succession, he was joint commander of the abortive rebellion of 1719, and was present in the entourage of the Young Pretender in the ‘45. His brother James, who succeeded him as second duke, was among the followers of William, duke of Cumberland, prior to Culloden, where the leading Jacobite general was another brother, Lord George Murray. A brilliant commander, Lord George was directly opposed by his half-brother Lord John Murray, and his own son John. Distinguished imperial service as soldiers and diplomats later served to eradicate the taint of Jacobinism from the Murray nobility.
John, fourth duke of Atholl, who raised the Atholl Brigade in 1777, cleared his lands in Glen Tilt to instigate a shooting estate. In the 1840’s his grandson George, the sixth duke, discouraged unwelcome hill—walkers by charging admission to the area.
© The Story of Scotland
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