John Murray, 11th Duke of Atholl

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John Murray,
11th Duke of Atholl
11th Duke of Atholl Allan Warren.jpg
John Murray, 11th Duke of Atholl.
Photographer: Allan Warren
Born John Murray
(1929-01-19)19 January 1929
Johannesburg, South Africa
Died 15 May 2012(2012-05-15) (aged 83)
South Africa
Title 11th Duke of Atholl
Tenure 1996–2012
Nationality British
Predecessor Iain Murray, 10th Duke of Atholl
Successor Bruce Murray, 12th Duke of Atholl
Spouse(s) Margaret Yvonne nee Leach
Issue Lady Jennifer Murray
Bruce Murray, 12th Duke of Atholl
Lord Craig John Murray

John Murray, 11th Duke of Atholl (19 January 1929 – 15 May 2012) was a South African-born hereditary peer of the Peerage of Scotland, hereditary Clan Chief of Clan Murray, and Colonel-in-Chief of the Atholl Highlanders. As Duke of Atholl, he commanded the only legal private army in Europe.

Early life[edit]

The Duke was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, as the only child of Major George Murray (1884–1940) and Joan (d. 2000), the daughter of William Edward Eastwood, of South Africa. They were married on 17 January 1928. His father was killed on active service in the Second World War.

He was the grandson of Reverend Douglas Stuart Murray, Rector of Blithfield, Staffordshire, who was the grandson of the Right Reverend George Murray, who was the son of the Right Reverend Lord George Murray, the second son of John Murray, 3rd Duke of Atholl.[1]

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand, a leading South African University.[2]


After taking his degree, Murray worked as a land surveyor.[3]

Arms of the Dukes of Atholl.

On 15 December 1956 in Pretoria, he married Margaret "Peggy" Yvonne Leach (born Louis Trichardt, 8 July 1935), the only daughter of Ronald Leonard Leach of Louis Trichardt, Transvaal, South Africa (Pretoria, 31 August 1910 - Louis Trichardt, 18 December 1964) and wife (Lovedale Park, Louis Trichardt) Faith Kleinenberg (Louis Trichardt, 20 July 1913 - Louis Trichardt, 11 June 1968) and paternal granddaughter of Charles Ronald Leach (Whittlesea, 26 March 1887 - Eshowe, 7 December 1953) and first wife Louise Adelaide Zeederberg (? - Whittlesea, 5 June 1922).[4][5][6][7][8] They had three children:

  • Lady Jennifer Murray (born 8 February 1958), who married firstly Iain Purdon in 1979 (divorced 1985) and secondly Martin Glodek. By her first husband she has two children:
    • Grant Clive Purdon (born 1981) and
    • Charlene Purdon (born 1983).
  • Bruce Murray, now 12th Duke of Atholl (born 6 April 1960), who was educated at Saasveld Forestry College and in 1984 married Lynne Elizabeth Andrew, the first daughter of Nicholas Andrew, of Bedfordview, South Africa. They have three children:
  • Lord Craig John Murray (born 1963), who in 1988 married Inge Bakker, the second daughter of Auke Bakker, of Bedfordview, South Africa. They have two children:
    • Carl Murray (born 1993) and
    • Shona Murray (born 1995).

On the death of his kinsman George Murray, 10th Duke of Atholl, Murray succeeded as 11th Duke. However, the day before the death of the 10th Duke, it was announced that he had given his ancestral seat of Blair Castle and most of his estates to a charitable trust, thus effectively disinheriting his heir. He had been unimpressed when his heir had indicated he had no desire to leave South Africa for Scotland. The new Duke thus inherited little but the titles and the right to raise a private army.[1]

Atholl continued to live in South Africa, while making annual visits to Scotland. He died on 15 May 2012 in a South African hospital at the age of 83. He was succeeded in his titles by his elder son, Bruce Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine.[1]

Titles and styles[edit]

Styles of
John Murray
11th Duke of Atholl
Reference style His Grace
Spoken style Your Grace
Alternative style Sir

John Murray, at the age of 67, succeeded his second cousin once removed, Iain Murray, 10th Duke of Atholl, as the 11th Duke of Atholl.

As Duke of Atholl, he commanded the only legal private army in Europe, the Atholl Highlanders. The army is based at Blair Castle, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl. The Duke did not inherit Blair Castle, which passed to a charitable trust.[10] However, every year the Duke visited from South Africa to stay at Blair for the traditional display put on by his Army.[1][9][11]

The Duke was also the hereditary Clan Chief of Clan Murray.[12]



External links[edit]

Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Iain Murray
Duke of Atholl
Succeeded by
Bruce Murray