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THE MURRAYS OF CLAIRDEN AND CASTLEHILL

The estates of Clairden and Castlehill are in the parish of Olrig.

JOHN MURRAY, "IN CLAIRDEN", was the second son of William Ronaldson or Murray, first of Pennyland. In 1568 he got a charter to tenements in Thurso on the resignation of his father. He had a son, William.

I. WILLIAM MURRAY was styled "OF CLAIRDEN". In 1614 he got a charter from Alexander, Bishop of Caithness, as eldest son and heir of John, of tenements in Thurso, to himself and his wife, Agnes Dalmahoy, in liferent, and to Ranald, their son, in fee. He had two sons: -

  1. John
  2. Ranald
II. JOHN MURRAY, IN CLAIRDEN, was served heir to his father, William, in 1655, in "William Ronaldson's tenements" in Thurso. He died about 1656, and had a son, James, who is mentioned in 1658 as eldest son, but of whom there is no further account; the next of the family who appear in connection with Clairden being David Murray.

III. DAVID MURRAY, STYLED OF CLAIRDEN, was third son of John Murray, fifth of Pennyland, and married Janet, daughter of John Cunningham of Brownhill and Giese. He was a person of considerable note in his time, and was holder of wadsets on Dunnet, Swinzie, Greenland, Carsgo, and Aimster, and although he was styled of Clairden, it is supposed that he had only a wadset of these lands. He had three sons and two daughters: -

  1. John, who is mentioned as "eldest son" in a bond to him by his father in 1675, and who appears to have died before his father
  2. James, afterwards of Clairden
  3. Patrick
  1. Elizabeth, who married, first, William Innes of Isauld; and, second, George Sinclair of Barrock
  2. Jean, who married William Innes, Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh. (Contract of Marriage, 12th May 1693). Her father was then dead, and her mother, Janet Cunninghame, and her brother-german, James, are parties to the contract
David Murray died in 1686, and was succeeded by his son, James.

IV. JAMES MURRAY OF CLAIRDEN was married three times - first, to Katharine, only daughter of James Murray of Pennyland, (Contract of Marriage, 6th February 1690) by whom he had no issue; secondly, to Anne Cunningham, by whom he had a daughter, Barbara, who married (it is supposed) James Murray, surveyor of customs, Thurso, one of the Pennyland family; and, thirdly, to Margaret Sinclair, styled "Lady Clairden", (Contract of Marriage, 22d and 23d September 1702) daughter of George Sinclair of Barrock, and his wife, Anne Dunbar of Hempriggs. By this last marriage James Murray had two sons and five daughters: -

  1. George, his successor
  2. David of Castlehill. Between 1750 and 1754 he purchased from James Budge of Toftingall the lands of Garth, which he afterwards excambed with James Sinclair of Durran for Stangergill, now part of the estate of Castlehill. He married Margaret, daughter of Harry Innes of Borlum, and had three sons and a daughter - namely, Alexander, in North Calder; John, who died unmarried; Captain James; and Barbara, who married Dr. Liddell, and had a son Andrew, and two daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth. Margaret Liddell married Major George Innes, brother of James Innes of Thrumster, and had two sons, William, Lieutenant-Colonel in the Honourable East India Company's Service, and Andrew, who both died unmarried. Elizabeth Liddell married Colonel Zulche, and had no issue
  1. Jean, who married the Reverend George Traill of Hobbister, Minister of Dunnet, and had issue
  2. Anne, who married the Reverend James Brodie, Minister of Latheron, and had issue
  3. Elizabeth, who married the Reverend James Oswald, Minister of Dunnet, and had issue
  4. Janet, who married Professor Morton of St. Andrews, and had no issue
  5. Margaret, who married - first, David Sinclair of Southdun; and, secondly, John Gibson, Sheriff-substitute
V. GEORGE MURRAY OF CLAIRDEN married his cousin, Jean, eldest daughter of John Sinclair of Barrock. He died in 1752, and was survived by his wife, who lived to an old age, and had two sons and five daughters: - (Discharge by them, 1766)
  1. James
  2. Alexander, a surgeon, who died unmarried. He was known by the name of "Tarras"
  1. Barbara, who married William Brodie, Sheriff-substitute of Caithness, and son of James Brodie, Minister of Canisbay. She had no issue
  2. Anne, who married Thomas Stedman (or Steedsman, as signed by himself in 1766), and had two sons and two daughters: (1) Dr. William Stedman, who had three sons, George, John Gordon, and William, and three daughters, Lucretia (Mrs. Bushby), Anne, and Catherine; (2) George. Mrs. Stedman's two daughters were Jane and Margaret, who both died at Thurso, unmarried
  3. Margaret, who died unmarried
  4. Elizabeth
  5. Jean

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