Catherine Murray, Countess of Dunmore

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Catherine Murray, Countess of Dunmore (31 October 1814 – 12 February 1886), was an English peeress and promoter of Harris Tweed.


Born Lady Catherine Herbert at Arlington Street, St James's, London, she was a daughter of George Herbert, 11th Earl of Pembroke and his second wife, the former Countess Catherine Vorontsov, daughter of Semyon Romanovich Vorontsov, the Russian Ambassador to the Court of St. James's.

On 27 May 1836, Lady Catherine married Alexander Murray, Viscount Fincastle at Frankfurt am Main. Fincastle acceded to his father's earldom of Dunmore a few months later. The couple had four children:

Later life[edit]

In 1841, Lady Dunmore was appointed a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria but resigned upon her husband's death four years later. Following his death, she inherited 150,000 acres (610 km2) of the Dunmore estate on the "island" of Harris.

She made several improvements to the estate village, building a school and laying out a new village green.[1]

Harris Tweed[edit]


During the economic difficulties of the Highland Potato Famine of 1846-7, Lady Dunmore was instrumental in the promotion and development of Harris Tweed, a sustainable and local industry. Recognising the sales potential of the fabric, she had the Murray family tartan copied in tweed by the local weavers and suits were later made for the Dunmore estate gamekeepers and gillies. Proving a success, Lady Dunmore sought to widen the market by removing the irregularities, caused by dyeing, spinning and weaving (all done by hand), in the cloth to bring it in line with machine-made cloth. She achieved this by organising and financing training in Alloa for the Harris weavers and by the late 1840s, a London market was established, which led to an increase in sales of tweed.


The Countess died, aged seventy-one, on 12 February 1886 at Carberry Tower, Inveresk, East Lothian, and was buried at Dunmore, Falkirk.


  1. ^ Scott, Ian. "Dunmore near Airth". Falkirk Herald.