Duke of Atholl

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See also: Earl of Atholl
The Duke of Atholl's coat of arms

Duke of Atholl, alternatively Duke of Athole, named after Atholl in Scotland, is a title in the Peerage of Scotland held by the head of Clan Murray. It was created by Queen Anne in 1703 for John Murray, 2nd Marquess of Atholl, with a special remainder failing his heirs male to those of his father, the 1st Marquess.

As of 2010 there were twelve subsidiary titles attached to the dukedom: Lord Murray of Tullibardine (1604), Lord Murray, Gask and Balquhidder (1628), Lord Murray, Balvany and Gask (1676), Lord Murray, Balvenie and Gask, in the County of Perth (1703), Viscount of Balquhidder (1676), Viscount of Balquhidder, Glenalmond and Glenlyon, in the County of Perth (1703), Earl of Atholl (1629), Earl of Tullibardine (1628), Earl of Tullibardine (1676), Earl of Strathtay and Strathardle, in the County of Perth (1703), Marquess of Atholl (1676) and Marquess of Tullibardine, in the County of Perth (1703). These titles are also in the Peerage of Great Britain. The dukes have also previously held the following titles: Baron Strange (Peerage of England 1628) between 1736 and 1764 and 1805 and 1957; Baron Murray, of Stanley in the County of Gloucester, and Earl Strange (Peerage of Great Britain 1786) between 1786 and 1957, Baron Glenlyon, of Glenlyon in the County of Perth (Peerage of the United Kingdom 1821) between 1846 and 1957 and Baron Percy (Peerage of Great Britain 1722) between 1865 and 1957. From 1786 to 1957 the Dukes of Atholl sat in the House of Lords as Earl Strange.

The Duke's eldest son and heir apparent uses the courtesy title Marquess of Tullibardine. The heir apparent to Lord Tullibardine uses the courtesy title Earl of Strathtay and Strathardle (usually shortened to Earl of Strathtay). Lord Strathtay's heir apparent uses the courtesy title Viscount Balquhidder. The Duke of Atholl is the hereditary chief of Clan Murray.

The Dukes of Atholl, as massive landowners, were initiators of and primary participants in, the Highland Clearances, the eviction and forced removal of families from their homes, to be replaced by sheep.[citation needed]

Family history[edit]

James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl.

The Dukes of Atholl belong to an ancient Scottish family. Sir William Murray of Castleton married Lady Margaret, daughter of John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl (see Earl of Atholl). Sir William was one of the many Scottish noblemen killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. His son Sir William Murray lived at Tullibardine in Perthshire. The latter's grandson, Sir John Murray, was created Lord Murray of Tullibardine in 1604 and Lord Murray, Gask and Balquhidder and Earl of Tullibardine in 1606. All three titles were in the Peerage of Scotland. He was succeeded by his eldest son, William, the second Earl. He married as his second wife Lady Dorothea, daughter of John Stewart, 5th and last Earl of Atholl. Charles I agreed to revive the earldom of Atholl in favour of Lord Tullibardine's children by Lady Dorothea. Tullibardine consequently resigned his titles in favour of his younger brother, Patrick Murray, who was created Lord Murray of Gask and Earl of Tullibardine in 1628, with remainder to his heirs male whatsoever and presumably with the precedence of 1606. John Murray, son of the second Earl of Tullibardine by Lady Dorothea Stewart, was created Earl of Atholl in the Peerage of Scotland in 1629. He was succeeded by his son, the second Earl of Atholl. In 1670 he succeeded his cousin James Murray, 2nd Earl of Tullibardine, as third (or fifth) Earl of Tullibardine. In 1676 he was created Lord Murray, Balveny and Gask, Viscount of Balquhidder, Earl of Tullibardine and Marquess of Atholl, with remainder to the heirs male of his body. All titles were in the Peerage of Scotland. Lord Atholl married Lady Amelia Anne Sophia, daughter of James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby and 1st Baron Strange.

On his death the titles passed to his eldest son, the second Marquess. He had already been created Lord Murray, Viscount Glenalmond and Earl of Tullibardine for life in the peerage of Scotland in 1696. In 1703 he was made Lord Murray, Balvenie and Gask, in the County of Perth, Viscount of Balwhidder, Glenalmond and Glenlyon, in the County of Perth, Earl of Strathtay and Strathardle, in the County of Perth, Marquess of Tullibardine, in the County of Perth, and Duke of Atholl, with remainder failing heirs male of his own to the heirs male of his father. All five titles were in the Peerage of Scotland. His eldest surviving son and heir apparent, William Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine, took part in the Jacobite rising of 1715. He was charged with high treason and attainted by Act of Parliament. An Act of Parliament was also passed to remove him from the succession to his father's titles. Atholl was consequently succeeded by his third son, James, the second Duke. In 1736 he also succeeded his kinsman James Stanley, 10th Earl of Derby as 7th Baron Strange and as Lord of Mann. The Duke's two sons both died in infancy. His eldest daughter Lady Charlotte succeeded him in the barony of Strange and the lordship of Mann. Atholl died in 1764 and was succeeded in the dukedom and remaining titles by his nephew, John, the third Duke. He was the eldest son of Lord George Murray, sixth son of the first Duke (who had been attainted for his participation in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715), the same year he succeeded the House of Lords decided that he should be allowed to succeed in the titles despite his father's attainder. He married his first cousin, the aforementioned Charlotte Murray, Baroness Strange. They sold their sovereignty over the Isle of Mann to the British Crown for £70,000.

John Stewart-Murray, 7th Duke of Atholl.

The Duke and Duchess were both succeeded by their eldest son John, the fourth Duke. In 1786 he was created Baron Murray, of Stanley in the County of Gloucester, and Earl Strange in the Peerage of Great Britain. These titles gave him a seat in the House of Lords. Atholl sold his remaining properties and privileges in the Isle of Man to the British Crown for £409,000. He was succeeded on his death in 1829 by his eldest son, John, the fifth Duke. He had already in 1798 been declared to have been of an "unsound mind". The fifth Duke never married and was succeeded by his nephew, George Murray, 2nd Baron Glenlyon, the eldest son of James Murray, 1st Baron Glenlyon, second son of the fourth Duke, who had been created Baron Glenlyon, of Glenlyon in the County of Perth, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1821. Lord Glenlyon married Lady Emily Frances Percy, daughter of Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland and 3rd Baron Percy.

The sixth Duke was succeeded by his only child, John, the seventh Duke. In 1865 he succeeded as sixth Baron Percy through his grandmother aforesaid. The same year he registered the additional surname of Stewart at the Lyon Court. In 1893 he resumed the original spelling of the title, "Atholl" instead of "Athole". He was succeeded by his second but eldest surviving son, John, the eighth Duke. He died childless in 1942 and was succeeded by his youngest brother, James, the ninth Duke. He never married and on his death in 1957 the baronies of Murray and Glenlyon and earldom of Strange became extinct, the barony of Percy was passed on to his kinsman Hugh Percy, 10th Duke of Northumberland, while the barony of Strange fell into abeyance (see Baron Strange).

The dukedom and remaining titles were passed on to the late Duke's fourth cousin twice removed, George Murray, the tenth Duke of Atholl. He was the grandson of Sir Evelyn Murray, son of Sir George Murray, grandson of George Murray, bishop of Rochester, son of bishop Lord George Murray, second son of the third Duke. As all the English titles had become extinct on the ninth Duke's death, the tenth Duke was not entitled to an automatic seat in the House of Lords, gaining in 1957 the then unfortunate distinction of being the highest ranking peer without a seat in the upper chamber of parliament. However, already in 1958 Atholl was elected a Scottish Representative Peer and was able to take a seat in the House of Lords. Through the Peerage Act 1963 all hereditary Scottish peers gained the right to sit in the House of Lords. The tenth Duke was unmarried and was succeeded in 1996 by his second cousin once removed, John Murray, 11th Duke of Atholl. He is the grandson of Reverend Douglas Stuart Murray, brother of the aforementioned Sir George Murray, great-grandfather of the tenth Duke. On his death in 2012, the eleventh Duke was succeeded by his eldest son, Bruce Murray, 12th Duke of Atholl.[1]

Other family members[edit]

Mungo Murray, second son of the first Earl of Tullibardine of the first creation, succeeded as second Viscount of Stormont according to a special remainder in 1631, but died childless in 1642. Lord Charles Murray, second son of the first Marquess, was created Earl of Dunmore in 1686. Lord James Murray, third son of the first Marquess, was Member of Parliament for Perthshire. Lord William Murray, fourth son of the first Marquess, succeeded his father-in-law as Lord Nairne in 1683 but was attainted for taking part in the Jacobite Rising of 1715. Lord George Murray, fifth son of the first Duke and father of the third Duke, was a prominent Jacobite general. He was also the father of James Murray, a soldier and politician, and George Murray, a naval commander and politician. Lord John Murray, eighth son of the first Duke (and the eldest by his second wife), was a soldier and politician. Lord George Murray, second son of the third Duke, was Bishop of St David's. His eldest son George Murray was Bishop of Rochester. His fourth son Sir Herbert Harley Murray was Governor of Newfoundland. The actor Stephen Murray and diplomat Sir Ralph Murray were the grandsons of Reverend Francis William Murray, son of George Murray, Bishop of Rochester. Comedian Al Murray is the grandson of Sir Ralph Murray.

James Arthur Murray (1790–1860), only son of Lord William Murray, third son of the third Duke, was a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy. Lord Charles Murray-Aynsley, fifth son of the third Duke, was a clergyman. His son John Murray-Aynsley was the father of 1) Charles Murray-Aynsley (1821–1901), a Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy; 2) George Herbert Murray-Aynsley (1826–1887), a Major-General in the Madras Army, and 3) Hugh Murray-Aynsley, a New Zealand politician. Sir George Murray, son of Reverend George Edward Murray, son of George Murray, Bishop of Rochester, was a civil servant. His son Sir Evelyn Murray was Secretary to the General Post Office between 1914 and 1934. Lord James Murray, second son of the fourth Duke, was a soldier and politician and was created Baron Glenlyon in 1821. Anne Murray, Duchess of Atholl, wife of the sixth Duke, was Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria. Katharine Stewart-Murray, Duchess of Atholl, wife of the eighth Duke, was Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education from 1924 to 1929, the first woman to serve in a Conservative government.

Traditional residence and military command[edit]

The Dukes of Atholl's traditional residence is Blair Castle, though the family has owned several other residences and castles in the past, notably Huntingtower Castle, Balvenie Castle, Tullibardine Castle and Dunkeld House (the latter two demolished).

The holder of the title also commands the only legal private army in Europe, the Atholl Highlanders, whose headquarters are at Blair Castle.[2]

Earls of Tullibardine; First creation (1606)[edit]

Earls of Tullibardine; Second creation (1628)[edit]

Earls of Atholl (1629)[edit]

Marquesses of Atholl (1676)[edit]

Dukes of Atholl (1703)[edit]

Other titles: Marquess of Tullibardine, Earl of Strathtay and Strathardle, Viscount of Balwhidder, Glenalmond and Glenlyonz and Lord Murray, Balvenie and Gask (Scotland, 1703); Marquess of Atholl, Earl of Tullibardine, Viscount of Balquhidder and Lord Murray, Balvany and Gask (Scotland, 1676); Earl of Atholl (Scotland, 1629); Earl of Tullibardine and Lord Murray, Gask and Balquhidder (Scotland, 1628); Lord Murray of Tullibardine (Scotland, 1604)
  • John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl (1660–1724) (eldest son of the 1st Marquess)
    • John Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine (1684–1709) (eldest son of the 1st Duke; died unmarried)
    • William Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine (1689–1746) (second son of the 1st Duke; was a Jacobite who was attainted and executed, unmarried, for treason; excluded from the succession)
    • Lord Charles Murray (1691–1720) (fourth son of the 1st Duke; predeceased his third brother without issue)
Other titles (2nd and 4th through 9th Dukes): Baron Strange (England, 1628)
Other titles (6th through 9th Dukes): Earl Strange and Baron Murray (Great Britain, 1786, extinct 1957); Baron Glenlyon (United Kingdom, 1821, extinct 1957)
Other titles (7th through 9th Dukes): Baron Percy (Great Britain, 1722)

The heir apparent is the present holder's elder son, Michael Bruce John Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine (b. 1985).

Barons Glenlyon (1821)[edit]

see above for further succession

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]