BADGE: Bealaidh chatti (Ruscus occiliatus) Butcher's broom
PIBROCH: Failte Dbuic Athull
It is highly interesting, at a period when this country has been brought into such close touch with the Belgian people, as indomitable as they are industrious, to recall the fact that more than one of our most illustrious Scottish families derive their descent from the notables of Flanders in earlier times. Among the Flemings who have left a conspicuous mark in Scottish history one of the most distinguished was a certain Freskin. Sir Robert Douglas in his Scottish Peerage calls him "a gentleman of Flemish origin" who came into Scotland during the reign of David I, and obtained from that munificent sovereign the lands of Strathbrock in Linlithgowshire. Soon after the settlement of this individual the famous insurrection of the Moraymen broke out. This was in the year 1130, and Freskin by his skill and bravery is said to have contributed vitally to the reduction of the rebellion. In return, King David conferred upon him a large and fertile district in the lowlands of Moray. Forthwith the new owner built a strong castle at Duffus, where his descendants flourished for many generations. William, a chief of the family, who was Sheriff of Invernairn, and died about 1220, is believed to have been the first to assume the surname "de Moravia" or Moray. From him descended the Morays, Lords of Bothwell, the Morays of Abercairney, and Sir William de Moravia, ancestor of the Dukes of Atholl of the present day.
Of the younger branches the Lords of Bothwell made a great name during the Wars of Succession and Independence. The sixth chief, Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, was the first to join the patriot Wallace when he raised his standard. When the other barons deserted the national cause he alone remained steadfast. Along with Wallace he acted as Governor of Scotland, and after the battle of Stirling Bridge, where he was grievously wounded, he signed along with Wallace the famous letter, still extant, to the free city of Lubeck, which declared the ports of Scotland open to foreign commerce. His son, another Sir Andrew, was not less distinguished for his support to the cause of King Robert the Bruce. He married Christian, a sister of that King, and after the overthrow of the Regent Earl of Mar at Duplin, was appointed Regent by the Scottish Parliament. He was a prisoner in England at the time of the battle of Halidon Hill, but obtained his freedom in time to march to the relief of his wife, who was bravely defending- Kildrummy Castle, one of the four strongholds which alone in Scotland held out for David Bruce against Edward Baliol and Edward III. Curiously enough the besieger on that occasion was David Hastings, Earl of Atholl, a title which, in later days, was to become a distinction of the Morays. In the upshot Hastings was overthrown and slain at the battle of Kilblene on St.Andrew's Day, 1335. It was in the same campaign that Sir Andrew Moray, besieging Lochindorb, was almost surprised by the English, and reassured his men, first by insisting upon completion of the service of Mass which he was hearing, and then by delaying to mend a strap of his armour which had been broken, then led his force out of danger in good time through the wild passes of the Findhorn. On the death of Thomas Moray, of Bothwell, the estates of this branch passed to his daughter Joanna and her husband, Archibald the Grim, Lord of Galloway and third Earl of Douglas, the natural son of the Good Sir James of Douglas.
The Morays of Abercairney still own their ancestral estate in Strathearn. It was saved for them on one occasion by the stratagem of a retainer. Moray of Abercairney was preparing to join the rebellion of Prince Charles Edward, when, as he was drawing on his boots, his butler dashed a kettleful of boiling water about his legs, with the exclamation, "Let them fecht wha will, bide ye at hame and be laird of Abercairney".
The main line of the Morays, however, was represented by Sir John de Moravia, Sheriff of Perth in the time of William the Lion, 1165-1214. The son of this individual is named in a charter of 1284. "Dominus Malcomus de Moravia, Miles, Vicecomes de Perth". The successor of the latter, Sir William de Moravia, married Ada, daughter of Malise, Earl or Seneschal of Strathearn, and got with her the lands of Tullibardine in that district, from which his descendants took their title. In the same way another daughter of the Seneschal of Strathearn married the chief of the Grahams, bringing him the estate of Kincardine, adjoining that of Tullibardine in Strathearn, and becoming the mother of the great Scottish hero, Sir John the Graham, the friend of Sir William Wallace, and ancestor of the great house of Montrose.
The son of Sir William de Moravia and Ada of Strathearn was Andrew Murray of Tullibardine. It was he who in 1332 helped Edward Baliol to win the battle of Duplin by fixing a stake to mark the ford in the Earn, through which Baliol's army passed to surprise and route the Scottish host under the Regent Mar. For this, when he was made prisoner two months later, Murray was put to death. He left a son, however, and his descendant Sir John, the twelfth Murray of Tullibardine, was Master of the Household and a member of the Privy Council of James VI. In 1604 he was made Lord Murray of Tullibardine, and two years later Earl of Tullibardlne. His son, William, the second Earl, had the good fortune, along with his cousin David, Viscount Stormont, when a very young man, to help in the rescue of James VI at Perth, when the Earl of Gowrie is said to have attempted his life. For this he was made hereditary Sheriff of Perthshire. He married the Lady Dorothea Stewart, eldest daughter of John, fifth Earl of Atholl. By this marriage the Murrays became inheritors of a title which had an interesting story. On the overthrow of the Black Douglas in the middle of the fifteenth century, James II had married Margaret, the Fair Maid of Galloway, heiress of that great house, to his own half-brother, John Stewart, son of the Black Knight of Lorne and Queen Joan, widow of James I. This pair the King made Lord and Lady Balvenie, and afterwards Earl and Countess of Atholl, and their direct descendant was the fifth Earl of Atholl, whose eldest daughter carried the title and estates to the house of Tullibardine.
Earl William arranged that the earldoms of Atholl and Tullibardine should go respectively to his son and his brother Patrick, but on the death of Earl Patrick's son the earldom of Tullibardine came back to the main line.
The second Murray Earl of Atholl, to whom the Tullibardine title thus returned, was a strong supporter of the cause of Charles I during the civil wars. The Marquess of Montrose was received by him at Blair. Castle in 1644; and he raised no fewer than eighteen hundred men to fight for the King. It was this addition to his forces which enabled Montrose to win his early victory at Tibberrnuir. Atholl's son also, in 1653, brought no fewer than two thousand men to the royal standard when it was raised by the Earl of Glencairn. These were the Atholl men who swooped down upon the Argyll country and struck an effective blow against the influence of the Covenanting Marquess of Argyll, then at the head of the Scottish Government. By way of return one of Cromwell's officers, Colonel Daniel, penetrated the AtholI fastnesses, took Blair Castle by storm, and blew it up. It was for these services and sufferings that in 1676, after the Restoration, the Earl was made a Knight of the Thistle and raised to the dignity of Marquess of Atholl. Sixteen years later, however, the Revolution took place, and then, possibly owing to his wife's relationship with the House of Nassau, Atholl took the side of William of Orange. An officer belonging to the Jacobite army of Viscount Dundee seized Blair Castle, and refused to deliver it to the owner's son, and it was to attempt the reduction of the stronghold that General MacKay set out on his march with the Government forces through the Grampian passes. Dundee, who had come to the help of the garrison, was ready for him, and as the Government troops emerged from the narrow gorge at Killiecrankie he swooped down upon them, cut them to pieces, and himself fell in the moment of victory.
The first Marquess of Atholl married Lady Amelia Sophia Stanley, only daughter of James, seventh Earl of Derby, by his wife, Charlotte de la Tremouille. This lady was the famous Countess of Derby who defended Latham House against the army of the Parliament in 1644, and for her energetic protection of the Isle of Man in 1651 figures in Sir Walter Scott's Peveril of the Peak. Her mother was a daughter of the Prince of Orange, and she could trace descent from the Greek emperors of Constantinople in the eleventh century. It was in commemoration of the marriage of the Marquess of Atholl with the daughter of the House of Derby that the name of Stanley was given to the well-known village between Perth and Dunkeld.
While the eldest son of this marriage succeeded to the Atholl titles, the second son, Charles, was created Earl of Dunmore, and became ancestor of the distinguished family bearing that title. The fourth son, William, having married Margaret, daughter of the first Lord Nairne, became the second lord of that name. He was out in "the '15", and his son, the Honourable John Nairne, was out in "the '45"; but the title was restored in 1824 to the latter's grandson, whose wife was the famous singer of the lost Jacobite cause, Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne.
The second Marquess was created Duke of Atholl in 1703. Partly no doubt because of his mother's descent from the House of Nassau, he supported the cause of William of Orange; but he was a strong opponent of the union between Scotland and England, and the Jacobite influence was strong in his family, so his sons played striking parts in the story of the Jacobite rebellions of their time. His second son, William, who, on the death of an elder brother, became Marquess of Tullibardine, was one of the first to join the Earl of Mar in 1715. For this he was attainted, but escaped abroad. He returned to Scotland with the Spanish forces, took part in the battle of Glenshiel in 1719, and again escaped. Twenty-six years later he came again to Scotland with Prince Charles Edward. After Culloden he made his way to the shores of Loch Lomond, where, being taken prisoner by Buchanan, Laird of Drumakil, he hurled a curse upon the latter's house which, according to local tradition, took effect for three generations. Eventually he was carried to London, where he died in the Tower in 1746. Charles, the Duke's fourth son, commanded a Jacobite regiment in 1715, was captured at Preston, and sentenced to be shot, but was afterwards reprieved. Most distinguished of all was Lord George Murray, the Duke's fifth son. Wounded at the battle of Glenshiel in 1719, he escaped abroad and served in the Sardinian army, but obtained a pardon and returned home. He joined Prince Charles in 1745, and, as Lieutenant-General of the Jacobite army, was the real commander at the battles of Preston, Falkirk, and Culloden. Notwithstanding various accusations which have been made against him, he was without doubt the ablest leader on the Prince's side, and, had his suggestions been followed, a different turn might have been given to the later history of the House of Stewart. As it was, his eldest son succeeded as third Duke of Atholl.
Meanwhile James, third son of the first Duke, had succeeded to the titles, and on the death of the tenth Earl of Derby without issue had inherited the Stanley barony of Strange as well as the Kingship of the Isle of Man, which had been granted to Sir John de Stanley by King Henry IV in 1406. The lordship of the Isle of Man had formerly been an appanage of the Scottish crown, but was seized during the Wars of Succession by Edward I of England. There was an element of justice, therefore, in its return to the possession of a great Scottish house.
The existance of an independent kingship within the British Isles, however, became an anomaly, and in 1765 it was purchased from John, third Duke of Atholl, by the British Government for £70,000. Further payments were subsequently made for the family's landed and other interests in the island, and the entire sum ultimately amounted to nearly half a million sterling, which may be regarded as the redemption money for the seizure made by Edward I as Hammer of the Scots.
It was in the time of this second Duke that the larch was introduced to Scotland and to the ducal estates from the Tyrol in 1738. Five larch plants were brought to Dunkeld, and a few others to Blair Atholl and Menzie. The species had not previously been looked upon as a suitable forest tree for Scotland, as it was thought to be far too tender for the climate. Of the five trees planted at Dunkeld, two are still to be seen near the eastern end of the cathedral. In 1839 two of the others were felled. One, containing 168 cubic feet of wood, was sold where it lay to Leith shipbuilders for £25 4 shillings; the other, containing 147 cubic feet, was sent to Woolwich, and used as beams in the repair of the store-ship Serapis. These marked the beginning of great tree-planting operations in the Atholl district, and before 1821 some nine thousand acres had been placed under wood, converting a barren district into valuable forest land, and rendering much of the previously waste country between the plantations available for natural pasture.
The son of the second Duke of Atholl died before his father, and John Murray, who succeeded as third Duke, was the eldest son of Lord George Murray, Lieutenant-General of the Jacobite forces in "the '45". He married the only surviving daughter of the second Duke, and with her inherited the barony of Strange and the sovereignty of the Isle of Alan, which latter he disposed of as already mentioned. It was his eldest son, the fourth Duke, who was the famous improver of the Atholl estates, and to him is attributed the saying "aye be putting in a tree, it will be growing while ye're sleeping". It was he who finally disposed of the family property and privileges in the Isle of Man to the Crown for the sum of £409,000. And he also began the building of the new palace at Dunkeld, which was designed to be one of the most magnificent residences in Scotland, but was never completed. The park about it he converted into one of the finest landscape gardens, planning it to include a famous home farm, American gardens, and carriage drives thirty miles in extent. It was he who received the poet Robert Burns at Blair Castle, and of whose hospitality and pleasant family circle the poet has left so charming a picture. His second son was created Lord Glenlyon in 1821. The second Lord Glenlyon succeeded as sixth Duke. His mother was the second daughter of the second Duke of Northumberland, and his only son was the late holder of the dukedom, who succeeded in 1864.
Needless to say, the House of Atholl and the great family of Moray or Murray have always played a striking and strenuous part in the history of the country. Their feuds with their neighbours have not been so numerous as those of many other clans, but one at least was long continued and included one of the most tragic episodes in clan warfare. It was the feud between the Murrays of Auchtertyre and the Drummonds in Strathearn. A mutual jealousy existed for centuries between the two families, and it came to a head in 1490, when Murray of Auchtertyre was induced to poind certain cattle belonging to the Drummonds, for payment of a debt demanded by the Abbot of Inchaffray. In revenge, William, Master of Drummond, son of the first Lord Drummond, led an attack against the Murrays. In the battle at Knockmary near Crieff the Murrays were at first successful, but the Drummonds, being reinforced, finally drove them off the field. The fugitives took refuge in the little kirk of Monzievaird, on the spot where the Mausoleum now stands in the park of Auchtertyre, and for a time the pursuers could not find them. But a too zealous Murray clansman, seeing his chance, shot an arrow from the kirk and killed a Drummond; whereupon the Drummonds heaped combustibles round the little fane, and burned it with all it contained to ashes. Eight score Murrays were included in the holocaust, only one of those within the kirk escaping by the compassion of a Drummond clansman outside, who was his relation, and who, for his kindness, had to flee from the wrath of his own clansmen to Ireland for a time.
Blair Athol1 itself, we have seen, had also its own tale of storm and battle. The oldest part of Blair Castle is known as Comyn's Tower, having been built, it is said, by John Comyn de Strathbogie, who enjoyed the Atholl title in right of his wife. From its builder's time downwards the stronghold stood many a siege. Its last experience of this kind was in March, 1746, when Sir Andrew
Agnew defended it against the Jacobites, then on their way north to their last struggle at Culloden. Some curious details of the siege on this occasion are given in the Scots Magazine for 1808. Many a famous visitor has been entertained within these walls, as well as at Dunkeld lower in the pass, where the Dukes of Athol1 also have a seat. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Dunkeld House in 1842, and in 1844 the Royal Family spent some weeks at Blair Castle. On these occasions the illustrious visitors were received at the boundary of the property by a guard of Atholl Highlanders several hundreds in number, and to the present hour this body remains in existence. It has been called the only private army in the British Isles, and when it turns out on great occasions under the command of the Duke of Atholl it forms indeed a notable sight to see.
The late seventh Duke was Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Perth from 1878. As a young man he was a captain in the Scots Fusilier Guards, and was afterwards Colonel of the 3rd Battalion of the Black Watch. During the South African War he raised 1,200 men for the Scottish Horse, and sent them out to the command of his son, the Marquess of Tullibardine. From material in the family charter room he compiled for private circulation five volumes of Chronicles of the Atholl and Tullibardine Families.
The present Duke is one of the most active men of affairs in the country. While still Marquess of Tullibardine, he won distinction in many fields. Holding a commission in the Royal Horse Guards, he served with the Egyptian Cavalry as Staff Officer to Colonel Broadwood during the Nile expedition of 1898, and took part in the battles of the Atbara and Khartoum, when he was mentioned twice in despatches, and received the D.S.O. He also served in the South African War, first with the Royal Dragoons and afterwards as Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the rst and and Scottish Horse, which regiment he had himself raised. For his share in this campaign he was mentioned three times in despatches, received the Queen's and the King's medal, and was made M.V.O. For service in the great war of 1914 he raised two additional regiments of Scottish Horse for the formation of a Highland Mounted Brigade, and is Commandant of the Scottish Horse and a Brigadier-General. He also had a distinguished career as Member of Parliament for Perthshire, and there is no more popular peer north of the Border: Since the war he has raised £140,000 for a Scottish National War Memorial; he has acted as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly, and has held the post of Lord Chamberlain in the Royal Household.
SEPTS OF CLAN MURRAY