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John Murray, 1st Marquess of Atholl

John Murray, 1st Marquess and 2nd Earl of Atholl, Viscount Glenalmond, 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 Earl of Atholl on his father's demise in June 1642.


Early life

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.


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

In 1678, Murray temporarily lost royal favour by counselling moderation concerning the measures taken against the Covenanters, but fought vigorously against the 8th Earl of Argyll in the Monmouth Rebellion 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."


On 5 May 1659, Lord Atholl married Lady Amelia Stanley, daughter of the James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby and Charlotte Stanley, Countess of Derby. They had twelve children, but the youngest four died young:

  • John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl (24 February 1660–14 November 1724), eldest son and heir, married (1) Lady Catherine Douglas-Hamilton, (2) Lady Mary Ross.
  • Charles Murray, 1st Earl of Dunmore (24 February 1661–19 April 1710), married Catherine Watts.
  • James Murray (1663-1719), married Anne Murray of Glenmuir.
  • William Murray, 2nd Lord Nairne (1664-February 3, 1726), married Margaret Nairne.
  • 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
  • Sir Mungo Murray (1668-1700). He was murdered; died unmarried with no issue.
  • Lord Edward Murray (1669-1743), married Katherine Skene.
  • Lord Henry Murray (b. 1670), died young.
  • Lady Jane Murray, died young.
  • Lady Katherine Murray (1672-1689), died young.
  • Lord George Murray (1673-1691), died young.


  • 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


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