John Murray, 1st Marquess of Atholl

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Arms of John Murray, 1st Marquess of Atholl

John Murray, 1st Marquess of Atholl, KT (2 May 1631 – 6 May 1703) was a leading Scottish royalist and defender of the Stuarts during the English Civil War of the 1640s, until after the rise to power of William and Mary in 1689. He succeeded as 2nd Earl of Atholl on his father's demise in June 1642 and as 3rd Earl of Tullibardine after the death of his first cousin the 2nd Earl in 1670.

Early life[edit]

The son of John Murray, 1st Earl of Atholl (cr.1629) by his wife Jane, daughter of Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy, he was, in 1653, a chief supporter of the 8th Earl of Glencairn's rising to power in opposition to English plans to incorporate Scotland into the Commonwealth and devoted 2000 men to the battle. He was eventually obliged to surrender the following year to George Monck, the victorious Commonwealth commander.


Heraldic monument to John Murray, 1st Marquess of Atholl, Dunkeld Cathedral, Scotland

In 1660, Murray became a privy councillor, obtained a charter of the hereditary office of sheriff of Fife and in 1663 was appointed Lord President of the Court of Session. Murray became the first captain-general of the Royal Company of Archers in 1670. In 1672 he became Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland and on 14 January 1673 became an Extraordinary Lord of Session.

In 1670 he succeeded to the earldom of Tullibardine on the death of his cousin, the 4th Earl and was created Marquess of Atholl and Viscount Glenalmond on 7 February 1676.

Glorious Revolution[edit]

In 1678, Murray temporarily lost royal favour by counselling moderation concerning the measures taken against the Covenanters, but fought vigorously against the 9th Earl of Argyll in Argyll's Rising of 1685 and was instrumental in defeating him. Murray showed to be lukewarm to the accession of William III, though allowed his troops to be used at the Battle of Killiecrankie against the supporters of the new king and was knighted in 1687. Ironically, given Murray's rumoured Jacobite leanings but public opposition to the group, his grandson, Lord George Murray became a famed general of the Jacobites and was responsible for their success throughout the greater part of the 1745 uprising.

Murray was described by Lord Macaulay as "the falsest, the most fickle, the most pusillanimous of mankind", regarding Murray's indecisive position surrounding the succession of William of Orange and the deposition of King James." [1]


On 5 May 1659, Lord Atholl married Lady Amelia Ann Sophia Stanley (1633-22 February 1702/1703), daughter of James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby and Charlotte de La Tremoille. They had twelve children, but four died young:

John Murray 1st Duke of Atholl 1660-1724
Lord Mungo Murray: died 1700 in Panama whilst establishing a Scottish plantation settlement there during the Darian expedition.
  • John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl (24 February 1660 – 14 November 1724), eldest son and heir, married (1) Lady Katherine Douglas-Hamilton, (2) Lady Mary Ross.
  • Charles Murray, 1st Earl of Dunmore (24 February 1661 – 19 April 1710), married Catherine Watts.
  • Lord James Murray (8 May 1663 – 30 December 1719), married Anne Murray of Glenmuir.
  • William Murray, 2nd Lord Nairne (1664-3 February 1726), married Margaret Nairne. Their daughter Margaret Murray (d. 28 May 1773) married in 1712 William Drummond, 4th Viscount Strathallan.
  • Lady Charlotte Murray (1663–1735), married Thomas Cooper. No issue.
  • Lady Amelia Murray (1666–1743), married 1. Hugh Fraser, 9th Lord Lovat; 2. Simon Fraser of Beaufort.[2]
  • Lady Jane Murray (1666–1670), died young.
  • Sir Mungo Murray, Bt. (1668–1700), Scotland; Killed in Panama 1700, fighting the Spanish. Died unmarried; no issue.[3] Scotland, Select Marriages, 1561-1910, FHL Film # 1040174 22 Feb 1695, St. Andrews And St. Leonards,Fife,Scotland shows marriage to Rachell Beavrich. Possibility of 2 children, 1 male, David, and 1 female, Catherine.
  • Lord Edward Murray (1669–1743), married Katherine Skene.
  • Lord Henry Murray (b.1670), died young.
  • Lady Katherine Murray (1672–1689), died young.
  • Lord George Murray (1673–1691), died young.
1st Earl of Dunmore: Charles Murray 1661-1710 portrait 1701 circa.

Prior to his marriage with Amelia Sophia Stanley one 'natural son' was born 1658 circa to Janett Mannachie from Dunkeld Perthshire. This son's name is unknown however he is stated to have been apprenticed to an Edinburgh Lawyer (Writer) by the name of Louefoote (Lightfoot?). According to correspondence from the above-mentioned Lord Edward Murray b.1669 and reproduced in the Atholl Chronicles-dated March 25, 1735 addressed to his nephew John 1st Duke of Athol, this son died of smallpox 1680-90 circa.

Also same source records:*Jane Murray b.1676c- twin, & Male Murray- b.1676c -twin born Castle Tullibardine Perthshire and lived in France.(Mother was: Ms Richards a 'companion' of Amelia Sophia Stanley) m. 1. Captain Anderson (Navy); m.2. Mr Ongolling; m3. James Mazel.

Also possibly:

  • William Murray b. 1658 circa, m. Mary Vans -Son William Vans Murray d. 1763 Maryland.

It is also believed he may have had children with his mistress, Jean MacLean of Lochbuie:

  • James Murray, 1665-1704
  • William Murray 1666-1725
  • John Murray b. 1668, immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1732, passing away soon after his arrival.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Macaulay, T.B.; The History of England, From the Accession of James II (Volume 3 of 5) p.162
  2. ^ Simon Fraser kidnapped; raped and forcibly married the unwilling Amelia Murray, whose family pursued him to the point of Fraser's forced exile.
  3. ^ Atholl Chronicles; Col.George Murray letter dated March 1699 concerning marriage negotiations between the Murray of Atholl family , and the father of Margaret Campbell, daughter of Lord Cessnock. Also see Christies Art Auction: Portrait of Lord Mungo Murray,viewed at -portrait by John M. Wright:
  • Brown, Peter, publisher, The Peerage of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1834, pps:62-64.
  • - Details on genealogy of Murray and connected figures.
  • - Article on Clan Murray history.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Dunfermline
Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland
Succeeded by
The Earl of Forfar
Military offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Newburgh
Captain and Colonel of the
Scots Troop of Horse Guards

Succeeded by
The Marquess of Montrose
Peerage of Scotland
New creation Marquess of Atholl
Succeeded by
John Murray
Preceded by
John Murray
Earl of Atholl
Preceded by
James Murray
Earl of Tullibardine