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James Murray


(2nd Duke of Atholl)

1690 - 1764

Noble, soldier and politician. Born in Edinburgh, the son of the 1st Duke (1660 - 1724), Murray was a government supporter, despite three of his brothers becoming Jacobites. He joined the British Army and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel by 1712. He served as Whig Member of Parliament for Perthshire from 1715 until 1724, when he inherited the Dukedom of Atholl. His elder brother, William, was not allowed to inherit because he had supported the Jacobites during the rebellion of 1715, which Murray had helped suppress.

He went on to serve as a Scottish Representative Peer (1733), was appointed a Knight of the Thistle (1733), held the office of Lord Privy Seal (1733-63) and Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland (1763-4). He fled south during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 and his brother briefly rook possession of Blair Castle and estates. However Murray returned to Scotland with the Duke of Cumberland in 1746.

Murray was noted as the patron of Niel Gow (1727 - 1807), the virtuoso fiddler and composer He was also a founding Governor of the Foundling Hospital in London, which was established in 1739 as an institution for the care and education of abandoned children. He was also responsible for a grand scheme of extension and landscaping at Blair Castle, the family seat.

He died in Dunkeld and was buried at Inveresk. Despite two marriages, he had no surviving male heirs and was succeeded by his nephew, John Murray (1729-74).


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