John Murray

(3rd Duke of Atholl)

1729 - 1774

Politician and soldier. Murray rose to the rank of Captain in the 54th (Highland) Regiment of Foot and went on to become Member of Parliament for Perth (1761-64). In 1753, he married his cousin Charlotte, Baroness Strange, and the couple went on to have eight children. Curiously the couple succeeded as the sovereigns of the Isle of Man, although they sold these rights for £70,000 to the British government in 1765. Inheriting the Dukedom of Atholl proved rather more difficult. The 2nd Duke, who was both Murray's Uncle and his wife's father, died without a male heir. Because Murray's father, Lord George Murray (1694 - 1760), had been Bonnie Prince Charlie's General, leading the Jacobite army, and therefore been disqualified from any titles on the basis of treason, Murray had to petition the Crown to gain the title. On the 7th February, 1764, the House of Lords found in Murray's favour and resolved that he had the right to some ten titles; namely the Duke of Atholl, Marquess of Tullibardine, Earl of Strathtay and Strathardle, Viscount Balquhidder, Glenalmond and Glenlyon, Lord Murray, Balvenie and Gask. Murray was created a Knight of The Thistle (1767) and was made Grand Master of Freemasons (1773).

He died in a fit of madness. Having drunk a cup of poison, which made him bleed profusely and, complaining of being hot, he was determined to cool himself in the River Tay. Eluding his staff, he managed to satisfy this desire, but also drowned in the process. His body was found 8 miles (12 km) downstream the next day.

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