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The Murgatroyd Coat of Arms as granted to Michael Murgatroyd at the turn of the 17th Century.[1]

Murgatroyd (with variants including Murgatroid and Margatroid) is an English surname of Yorkshire origin and nobility.[2] Its etymology, according to one source, is as follows: in 1371, a constable was appointed for the district of Warley in Yorkshire. He adopted the name of Johanus de Morgateroyde, or literally: Johanus of Moor Gate Royde or 'the district leading to the moor'.[3] Another source says the place name means Margaret's road.[4] In Norse, the Royd meant "Clearing" (as in a forest).[5] Although Moorgate in London was a gate with the road to the moor passing through, in Yorkshire, Gate (again from Norse) means street, so Moor Gate Royd would be 'a clearing in the forest on the road to the moor'.[6]

Moor-gate-royd or Murgatroyd as of 1432 when a John Murgatroyd of Murgatroyd was first recorded as residing there, is on the Southern slopes of Highroad Well Moor. Murgatroyd, the stately home and seat of the family, was badly damaged during the Battle of the Hollins (named after the forest below the estate) on 23 October 1643 when Colonel Bradshaw, Captain Taylor, two Lancashire Companies, and eleven 'Clubists' marched to the fortified Murgatroyd that had been at the disposal of Sir Francis Mackworth and contained the family-backed Royalists and accompanying munitions.[7][8]

"The Royalist captain would no doubt have made ready for the attack. He was pleasantly engaged in a tete-a-tete with his host James Murgatroyd and his good wife Mary, on the invincibility of their sturdy homestead, when suddenly they were arrested by the ping of Roundhead bullets. It wasn't exactly a Marston Moor, this battle of the Hollins, but quite sufficiently exciting while it lasted. Both sides fought with great valour, not only with guns and swords but also after the manner of the Middle Ages, by hurling great stones at the heads of the enemy".[7]

With much of Murgatroyd damaged in the battle, James Murgatroyd, the Head Greave of Warley, moved the family seat to one of the other estates, East Riddlesden Hall. The National Trust property is most associated with the family to this day.

The name is also used in the favorite catchphrase of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Snagglepuss: "Heavens to Murgatroyd!"


The name may refer to the following:

Fictional characters[edit]


  1. ^ "Coats of Arms of Murgatroyd". Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  2. ^ "Heavens to Murgatroyd Idiom Definition – Grammarist". Retrieved 2020-06-02.
  3. ^ Martin, Gary. "Heavens to Murgatroyd". The Phrase Finder.
  4. ^ Campbell, Mike. "View Surname: Murgatroyd". Behind the Name: The Etymology and History of Surnames. Archived from the original on 2013-01-18.
  5. ^ Holroyd. "The Royds".
  6. ^ "The Constable of Warley". Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  7. ^ a b "Battle of the HOLLINS". Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  8. ^ "Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion : Foldout". Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  9. ^ Wodehouse (2008) [1938], The Code of the Woosters, chapters 5 and 14, pp. 118 and 264.