William Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine

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William Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine
Jacobite broadside - possibly William Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine.jpg
Possible miniature portrait of William Murray of Tullibardine
Born(1689-04-14)14 April 1689
Died9 July 1746(1746-07-09) (aged 57)

William Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine (14 April 1689 – 9 July 1746) was a Scottish army officer and Jacobite leader.


Tullibardine was the second and eldest surviving son of John, second marquis and first duke of Atholl, by Lady Catherine Hamilton. In late 1707 he entered the navy; in a letter dated at Spithead, 29 August 1708, he gives his father an account of an unsuccessful attempt at landing on the coast of France in which his ship took part.[1] At first he was known as Lord William Murray, but became Marquis of Tullibardine on the death of his elder brother John at Malplaquet 31 August 1709.

Tullibardine was one of the first to join the cause of James Francis Edward Stuart when the Earl of Mar raised his standard in 1715, and although his father remained faithful to the government the bulk of the Atholl men accompanied him.[2] The duke intimated to the government on 13 September that he had hopes of his returning "to his duty" providing he were assured of pardon; but although this was practically offered to him, the offer was unavailing.[3] At the battle of Sheriffmuir his forces formed part of the left wing, which was routed and fled northwards, the marquis reaching Perth the same night with only a few horse.[4] It was the intention of the prince, when after the retreat from Perth he embarked at Montrose for France, to have taken Tullibardine with him, but he was then at Brechin with a part of the foot.[5] He, however, managed to shift from place to place till he found an opportunity to escape.[6] On account of his share in the rebellion he was attainted, and the titles and estates of the family conferred on a younger brother, Lord James Murray.

Tullibardine was joint commander with the Earl Marischal of the expedition to the north-west highlands in 1719; and through negotiations with his brother Lord George succeeded in inducing a large number of Atholl men, as well as the Macgregors under Rob Roy, to co-operate with the Spanish forces. Lockhart, however, asserts that Tullibardine and Marischal were soon at variance about the command,[7] and to their divided counsels is generally attributed the defeat at Glenshiels on 10 June. Tullibardine was severely wounded in the battle, but although a reward of £2,000 (equivalent to £314,454 in 2018) was offered for his capture he succeeded in again making his escape to the continent. In October 1736 he had for some time been a prisoner for debt in Paris, but on appeal to the Parlement of Paris he was set at liberty, on the ground that one of his rank was not liable to confinement for debt.[8] It would appear that after his return to the continent he had been created by the exiled prince Duke of Rannoch, Marquis of Blair, Earl of Glen Tilt, Viscount of Glenshie, and Lord Strathbran,[9][10] but after the death of his father in 1724 he was recognised by the Jacobites as Duke of Atholl.

Tullibardine was one of the seven followers of Prince Charles who on 22 June 1745 embarked with him at St. Nazaire on the Loire for Scotland, and on 23 July landed with him at Borrodale. On account of his strong and consistent Jacobitism, and as representative of the powerful house of Atholl, he was chosen to unfurl the standard at Glenfinnan on 16 August, when he also read a manifesto in the name of James VIII, dated Rome, December 1743, proclaiming a regency in favour of his son, Prince Charles. As Tullibardine hoped to gain the Atholl men before his brother the duke should have time to bring his influence to bear on them, the insurgents, instead of making any attempt to pursue General Cope, who evaded them at Corrigarrick, marched southwards into Atholl. On their approach the duke fled from his castle of Blair, which was immediately taken possession of by Tullibardine, who as the rightful possessor here entertained the prince. The prince then proceeded to Perth, and the day after he reached it Tullibardine joined him with a large number of Atholl men under his brother Lord George Murray, who was made lieutenant-general. Tullibardine was not present at the battle of Prestonpans, having remained at Blair to collect men and arms and to rally the highland clans to the standard of the prince.[11] On 22 September he was named commander-in-chief of the forces north of the Forth.[12] After bringing large reinforcements to the prince he accompanied the expedition into England. On the defeat of the insurgents at Culloden on 16 April 1746, Tullibardine, accompanied by an Italian, fled northwestwards through Ross-shire, with the intention of gaining the seacoast, where he hoped to obtain a passage to the Isle of Mull; but their horses tiring and Tullibardine, on account of bad health, being unable to proceed on foot, they went on 27 April to The Ross, the house of William Buchanan, a justice of the peace. James Leith-Buchanan, 5th of Ross, betrayed Tullibardine and gave him over to King George's men. Tullibardine cursed them with the utterance: "There will be Murrays on the Braes of Atholl land when there’s ne’er a Buchanan at the Ross.”

(The Marquess's curse came to pass when, in 1925, the Leith-Buchanan's male line finally died out and the house was leased to Major George J.H. Christie, a veteran of World War I, remaining in the family's possession until shortly after the Major's death.) The captives were brought south and committed to Dumbarton Castle, whence the marquis was sent to the Tower of London, where he died on the 9th of the following July, in his 58th year, and without issue.


  1. ^ Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. pt, viii. p. 64
  2. ^ Patten, Rebellion, pt. ii. p. 91
  3. ^ Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. pt. viii. p. 68
  4. ^ ib. p. 70
  5. ^ Mar's Journal in Patten, pt. ii. p. 109
  6. ^ Patten, p. 89
  7. ^ Papers, ii. 19
  8. ^ Notes and Queries, 4th ser. x. 161
  9. ^ Jacobite Correspondence of the Atholl Family, p. 227
  10. ^ Melville de Massue de Ruvigny, The Jacobite Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage & Grants of Honour (Edinburgh: T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1904), 152-155
  11. ^ see Correspondence of the Atholl Family, passim
  12. ^ ib. p. 227


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHenderson, Thomas Finlayson (1894). "Murray, William (d.1746)" . In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 39. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 408–9. which cites:

  • Histories of the Rebellions of 1715 and 1745
  • Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. pt. viii.
  • Jacobite Correspondence of the Atholl Family (Bannatyne Club)
  • Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 152.