Thomas Murray (provost of Eton)

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Thomas Murray (1564 – 9 April, 1623) was a Scottish courtier, at the end of his life Provost of Eton.


He was the son of Murray of Woodend, and uncle of William Murray, 1st Earl of Dysart. He was early attached to the court of James VI of Scotland, and soon after James's accession to the English throne was appointed tutor to Prince Charles, then duke of York. On 26 June 1605 he was granted a pension of two hundred marks for life, and in July was presented, through the intervention of the Bishop of Durham, to the mastership of Christ's Hospital, Sherburn, near Durham. From that time he received numerous grants, and was in constant communication with Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, Sir Albertus Morton, Sir Dudley Carleton, and others, many of his letters being preserved.

Andrew Melville, when he sought his liberty in November 1610, placed the management of his case in the hands of Murray, to whom he refers as his special friend. In 1615 George Gladstanes, Archbishop of St. Andrews, made an unsuccessful attempt to get Murray removed from the tutorship of Prince Charles as for his religious views. On 13 March 1617 Murray was appointed a collector of the reimposed duty on 'northern cloth,' and allowed one-third of the profits. In August of the same year the king promised him the provostship of Eton, but his appointment was opposed on suspicion of his puritanism, and he received the post of secretary to Prince Charles instead.

In October 1621 he was confined to his house for opposing the Spanish match. In February 1622 he was elected provost of Eton, but fell seriously ill in February 1622-3, and died on 9 April, aged 59. He left behind him five sons and two daughters. His widow, Jane, and a son received a pension for their lives. Murray was author of some Latin poems, printed in Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum, ed. 1637. He was eulogised by John Leech in his Epigrammata, ed. 1623, and by Arthur Johnston in his Poemata, ed. 1642.