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The Scottish Nation
Athol, Atholl or Athole

ATHOL, ATHOLL, or ATHOLE, earls of, an ancient title, formerly possessed by the royal family of Scotland, subsequently in right of marriage by Thomas de Galloway and his son, and after him by David de Hastings, afterwards by the Strathbogie family, then after being held by a Campbell and a Douglas, it was conferred on a scion of the royal house of Stewart, and through a second creation in the house of Stewart, it came latterly to be possessed by a branch of the noble family of Murray. It is the name of a mountainous and romantic district in the north of Perthshire, which, from a remote period, has preserved its boundaries unaltered. It was the original patrimony of the family which gave kings to Scotland from Duncan to Alexander the Third; and it is the earliest district in Scotland mentioned in history. The name signifies ‘pleasant land,’ and Blair of Athol, its principal valley, ‘the field or vale of Athol.’ "Its chief interest, says Skene, "arises from the strong presumption which exists that the family which gave a long line of kings to Scotland, from the eleventh to the fourteenth century, took their origin from this district, to which they can be traced before the marriage of their ancestor with the daughter of Malcolm the Second raised them to the throne." (History of the Highlanders, vol. II. p. 127.) When Thorfinn, the Norwegian earl of Orkney, conquered the north of Scotland, in the early part of the eleventh century, the only portion of the territory of the Northern Picts which remained unsubdued was the district of Athol and part of Argyle. The lord of the Isles had been slain in an unsuccessful attempt to preserve his insular dominions, and the king of the Scots, with the whole of his nobility, had also fallen in the short but bloody campaign which preceded the Norwegian conquest. In their disastrous condition the Scots had recourse to Duncan, the son of Crinan,  abbot of Dunkeld, by Beatrice, the daughter of Malcolm the Second, the last Scottish king. Duncan came to the vacant throne in 1034, but after a reign of six years, he was slain in an attempt to recover the northern districts from the Norwegians, and his sons were driven out by Macbeth, who for a time ruled over the south, whilst the Norwegians possessed the north of Scotland. After the overthrow of Macbeth, 6th December, 1056, and the establishment of Malcolm Canmore on the throne, the Lowlands of Scotland were, according to the Saxon polity, divided into earldoms, all of which were granted to the different members of the royal family. These earldoms consisted of the country inhabited by the Scots, with the addition of the district of Athol; and from this circumstance it has, not unreasonably, been presumed that Athol was the original possession of this royal race. This is further confirmed by the designation which early Scottish historians apply to Crinan, the father of l)uncan. Besides being abbot of Dunkeld, he is styled by Fordun, "Abthanus de Dull ac Seneschallus Insularum” (Abthane of Dull and steward of the Isles). Pinkerton has denied that such a title as Abthane was ever known or heard of; but Mr. Skene has most conclusively shown, not only that there was such a title as Abthane in Scotland, but that the very title of Abthane of Dull, which is the name of a district in Athol, existed until comparatively a late period. (Skene’s History of the Highlanders, vol. ii. part 2, chap. 5.)

      By King Edgar, the whole of Athol, except Breadalbane, was erected into an earldom, and conferred upon his cousin Madach, the son of King Donald Bane. Madach married a daughter of Haco, earl of Orkney. He was a witness to the foundation charter of Alexander the First, of the monastery of Scone, in 1114, and he was himself afterwards a benefactor to the abbey. On the death of Madach towards the end of the reign of David the First, the earldom of Athol was obtained by Malcolm the son of Duncan, the eldest son of Malcolm Canmore, by Ingioborge, the widow of Thorflnn, earl of Orkney, whose descendants were excluded from the throne by that king’s younger sons. The earldom was thus bestowed on Malcolm, “either,” Skene says, “because the exclusion of that family from the throne could not deprive them of the original property of the family, to which they were entitled to succeed, or as a compensation for the loss of the crown.” (Hist. of Highlanders, vol. ii. p. 139.) His son Malcolm, the third earl of Athol, gave in pure alms to the monks of Scone the church of Logen Mabed, with four chapels there-unto belonging, and to the abbey of Dunfermline the tithes of the church of Moulin. He also made a donation to the priory of St. Andrews of the patronage of the church of Dull. His son Henry succeeded to the earldom, and on his death, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, his granddaughters, by his eldest son who predeceased him, carried it into the families of Galloway and Hastings.

      The eldest of these granddaughters (erroneously stated by Douglas in his Peerage to have been the daughters of Earl Henry) married Alan de Lundin, Ostiarius Regis, who in her right became fifth earl of Athol, and who died without issue. Her next sister, Isabel, married Thomas de Gallovidia, the brother of Alan lord of Galloway, and in her right became sixth earl of Athol. He died in 1231. His son Pa­trick, seventh earl of Athol, was the youth who overthrew W. Bisset at a tournament oh the English borders, and was mur­dered at Haddington in 1242 (see ante, life of Alexander II., p. 75). Fernelith, the youngest of Earl Henry’s granddaughters, succeeded her nephew, Earl Patrick, as countess of Athol. She married David de Hastings, an Anglo-Norman, descended from the steward of William the Conqueror, and he, in her right, became the eighth earl. He was one of the guarantees of the treaty of peace between Alexander the Second and Henry the Third in 1244. ee ante, p. 77.] In 1268 he accompanied other Scottish barons in an expedition to the Holy Land, and died at Tunis the following year. His daughter Adda married John de Strathbogie, who in her right became ninth earl of Athol. The grandfather of this John of Strathbogie, Duncan earl of Fife, had obtained the lands of Strathbogie, in Aberdeenshire, from King William the Lion. He settled them on his third. son, David, who assumed his name from these lands, and was the father of the eighth earl of Athol. The son of the latter, David de Strathbogie, became the tenth earl of Athol, and was the father of John, eleventh earl, who was one of the chief associates of Robert the Bruce, and assisted at his coronation at Scone, 27th March, 1306. He fought on Bruce’s side at Methven, and on his discomfiture accompanied him during his disastrous flight. After the surrender of the castle of Kildrummy the same year, he was seized by the forces of Edward in at­tempting to escape by sea, and conducted to London. Being condemned to death in Westminster Hall, 7th November 1306, he was executed the same day, on a gallows thirty feet higher than ordinary, in consequence of his royal descent.

      The earldom of Athol was then forfeited and bestowed on Ralph de Monthermer, styled earl of Gloucester, who, however, relinquished his title to it for 5,000 merks, in favour of David de Strathbogie, son of the deceased earl. This David, the twelfth earl, had from King Robert the Bruce, the office of high constable of Scotland, as appears from a charter of that monarch 26th February 1312, where he is so designated. Two years after, however, he revolted against Bruce, whereupon his office of high constable was given to Gilbert de Ia Haye, and Athol’s estates in Scotland were forfeited. He married Joan, daughter of John Cumyn of Badenoch, killed by Bruce at Dumfries in 1306, with whom he got great estates in England. He died in 1327, leaving a son, David, who was styled thirteenth earl of Athol.

      Along with other forfeited Scottish barons this David accompanied Edward Baliol into Scotland in 1332, and had a considerable share in achieving the victory over the Scots at Dupplin, 12th August of that year. He was now restored to his paternal inheritance and title. In 1334 Edward Baliol bestowed on him the whole estates of the steward of Scotland; but the same year, the earl of Moray, regent of Scotland, compelled him to surrender, when he swore allegiance to David the Second, the lawful king. Being in consequence denounced as a rebel by Edward the Third, he was fain, on the invasion of Scotland by that monarch in July 1335, to agree to a treaty of peace, and make his submission to Edward, on which he was again received into favour with the English king, and had the office of governor of Scotland conferred upon him under Baliol, when he acted very insolently and tyrannically towards all the adherents of the family of Bruce. Having been appointed commander of the English forces in the north, with three thousand men he proceeded to lay siege to the castle of Kildrummy, the asylum of the royalists; but was surprised in the forest of Kilblane by the earl of March, Sir William Douglas of Liddesdale, and Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, at the head of eleven hundred men. Athol’s troops, panic-struck, fled and dispersed; the earl, finding himself abandoned, disdained quarter, and was slain 30th November, 1335, in the 28th year of his age. He left a son, David, styled fourteenth earl of Athol, who was only three years of age at the time of his father’s death. He accompanied Edward the Black Prince into France in 1356, and was in the subsequent expeditions into Gascony. He died 10th October 1375, leaving two daughters.

      When the Celtic earls of Athol became extinct, says Skene, and, in consequence, the subordinate clans in the district of Athol assumed independence, the principal part of that district was in the possession of the clan Donnachie or  the Robertsons. (History of the Highlanders, vol. ii. pp 139, 140.) Skene states in a note that the peerage writers have been more than usually inaccurate in their account of the earldom of Athol. From its origin down to the fourteenth century, “there is,” he says, “scarcely a single step in the genealogy correctly given.”       

      On the forfeiture of David, the twelfth earl, his estates were granted to Sir Niel Campbell of Locbow, and Mary his spouse, sister to King Robert the Bruce, and Sir John Campbell of Moulin, their second son; and the latter was created earl of Athol. This appears from a charter of King David the Second to Robert Lord Erskine, of the customs of Dundee and third part of Pettarache in Forfarshire, which some time pertained to John Campbell, earl of Athol, as well as from a charter granted by the latter to Roger de Mortimer of the lands of Billandre. He was killed in the battle of Halidon-hill, 19th July 1333, without issue, whereby the title reverted to the crown.

      The next possessor of the title of earl of Athol was William Douglas, eldest son of Sir James Douglas of Laudon, ancestor of the earls of Morton. Not long after the death of the above-mentioned John Campbell he had the earldom confer­red upon him, but the precise date is unknown. On the 16th February 1341 he resigned his title by charter in favour of Robert, great steward of Scotland, and on the latter’s accession, to the throne in February 1371, under the name of Robert the Second, it became vested in the royal family. Walter Stewart, the second son of that monarch by his second wife, Euphemia Ross, was the next earl, lie was at first earl of Caithness, but afterwards had the earldom of Athol, being so designed, 5th June, 1403, in letters of safe-conduct by King Henry the Fonrth, allowing him to pass into his do-minions as far as St. Thomas of Canterbury, with a retinue of a hundred persons. He had a charter from his brother Ro­bert duke of Albany, governor of Scotland, of the barony of Cortachy in Forfarshire 22d September 1409. On the 10th April 1421 he obtained a safe-conduct to England, to arrange as to the restoration to liberty of his nephew James the First, which he was very instrumental in accomplishing. He sat as one of the jury on the trial of his nephew Murdoch, duke of Albany, and his sons, in 1424. (See ante, p. 41.) The king conferred upon him the office of great justiciary of Scotland, and also gave him the county palatine of Strathern for his life, 22d July 1427. Nearly ten years after this he engaged in the conspiracy of his kinsman Sir Robert Graham against James the First, one of the objects of which was the placing of the crown on the head of Sir Robert Stewart of Athol, the earl’s grandson. The king was cruelly assassinated in the Blackfriars monastery at Perth by the three conspirators, 20th February 1437. The murderers were apprehended, and put to death at Edinburgh with horrible tortures, in the following April. Before being beheaded, Athol was set upon the pillory, and his head encircled with a red-hot iron crown, on which was inscribed “The king of traitors.” His titles and extensive estates were forfeited.

      The title of earl of Athol was conferred, about 1457, on Sir John Stewart of Balveny, the eldest son of Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn, and the queen Joanna, dowager of James the First, who had chosen him for her sec­ond husband. The earl of Athol’s father, the Black Knight of Lorn, was the third son of Sir John Stewart of Lorn and Innermeath, descended from Sir James Stewart, fourth son of Sir John Stewart of Bonkill, who was second son of Alexander, high steward of Scotland. This earl of Athol was, with the earl of Crawford, appointed in 1475 to the command of the armament employed in suppressing the rebellion of the earl of Ross, on which occasion lie assumed the motto, still borne by the Athol family, of “Furth fortune and fill the fetters,” and had a grant of many lands that had belonged to that nobleman, on his resignation Of the earldom of Ross and the lands of Kintre and Knapdnle. He also acted a prominent part in the attempt made in 1480 to reduce to obedience Angus of the Isles, the illegitimate son of the Lord of the Isles, the new title of the earl of Ross. Some time after the battle of the Bloody Bay, fought in that year in the Isle of Mull between the Island factions, in which Angus was victorious, occurred the event known in history as the ‘Raid of Athol.’ The earl crossing privately to Islay had carried off the infant son of Angus, called Donald Dubh, or the Black, whom he placed in the hands of his maternal grandfather the earl of Argyle. Angus immediately summoned his adherents and sailed to the neighbourhood of Inverlochy, where he left his galleys, and with a chosen body of Island warriors made a rapid and secret march into time district of Athol, which lie ravaged with fire and sword. The earl and his countess took refuge in the chapel of St. Bride, to which sanctuary many of the country people likewise fled with their most valuable effects. The chapel, however, was violated by Angus and his followers, who, loaded with plunder, returned to Lochaber, carrying with them the earl and countess of Athol as prisoners. In the voyage from Lochaber many of his galleys sunk, and much of his plunder was lost in a dreadful storm which he encountered. Believing this to be a judgment from heaven for the violation of the chapel of St. Bride, he was touched with fear and remorse, and voluntarily liberated his prisoners, without procuring what seems to have been the principal object of his raid into Athol, the recovery of his son. He even performed an ignominious penance in the chapel which he had so lately desecrated.

      In 1488 the earl of Athol had a principal command in the army of James III. against his son and the rebel lords, for which, on the death of that monarch, he was imprisoned in the castle of Dunbar. He died 19th September 1512. By his first wife, Lady Margaret Douglas, only daughter of Archibald, fifth earl of Douglas, duke of Touraine, the widow of the eighth earl of Douglas and the wife of the ninth earl, her marriage with whom after his rebellion in 1455 was annulled, he had two daughters. By his second wife, Lady Eleonora Sinclair, daughter of William earl of Orkney and Caithness, he had two sons and nine daughters. John, the elder son, second earl of Athol, of this new creation, did not enjoy the title one year, being killed at Flodden 9th September, 1513. His son John, the third earl, was famous for his great hospitality and princely style of living. Pitscottie minutely describes a grand hunting match and sumptuous entertainment given by him to King James the Fifth and his mother and the French ambassador, in 1529. He died in 1542, and was succeeded by his son John, fourth earl of Athol. In the parliament of 1560, with the Lords Borthwick and Somerville he strongly opposed the Reformation, saying they would believe as their fathers had done before them. Being afterwards constituted lord high chancellor of Scotland, he was sworn into office at Stirling, 29th March 1 577. He opposed the measures of the regent Morton, and took up arms to rescue the king from his power, but by the mediation of Bowes the English ambassador, an accommodation took place, in August 1578. At a grand entertainment given by Morton, at Stirling, to the leaders of the opposite party, in token of reconcilement, 20th April 1579, Athol, the chancellor, was taken ill, and died four days afterwards, not without strong suspicions of his having been poisoned. He was twice married; the second time to Margaret, third daughter of Malcolm, third lord Fleming, great chamberlain of Scotland, widow of Robert master of Montrose, killed at Pinkie, 1547, and of Thomas master of Erskine, son of John earl of Mar. During her lifetime it was the general belief that this countess of Athol possessed the powers of sorcery, and it is said that when Queen Mary was confined with James the Sixth, the countess cast all the pains of childbirth upon Lady Rires. If so, it must have been by some unknown species of mesmerism. Their son, John, fifth earl of Athol, was sworn a privy councillor in 1590, and died at Perth, 28th August 1595, without issue male, when the title reverted to the crown. He married Lady Mary Ruthven, second daughter of William first earl of Gowrie, by whom he had four daughters. His countess afterwards became the second wife of John lord Innermeath, created earl of Athol by James the Sixth, in 1596. Lady Dorothea Stewart, the eldest daughter of John the fifth earl and this lady, married William, second earl of Tullibardine, and was the mother of John, created earl of Athol, the first of the Murray family who possessed that title, as afterwards mentioned. Lady Mary, the second daughter, married James, earl of Athol, the son of her stepfather, Lord Innermeath, and he dying without male issue, the esrldom again reverted to the crown. (See INNERMEATH, Lord.)

ATHOL, duke of, a title possessed by a branch of the ancient family of Murray. The progenitor of the Murray family in Scotland was a Flemish settler in the reign of David the First, of the name of Freskin, who obtained the lands of Strathbrock in Linlithgowshire, now called Brocks or Broxburn. A rebellion having broken out in Moray in the year 1130, he is supposed to have assisted in quelling it, and was rewarded with a large tract of laud in the lowlands of Moray, where his descendants settled, and in consequence assumed the name of de Moravia. From Walter de Moravia descended the Morays, lords of Bothwell, the Morays of Abercairney (see MURRAY, surname of), and Sir William de Moravia, who acquired the lands of Tullibardine, an estate in the lower part of Perthshire, with his wife Adda, daughter of Malise, seneschal of Strathern, as appears by charters dated in 1282 and 1284.

      His son, Sir Andrew Murray of Tullibardine, who succeeded him, was an adherent of Edward Baliol, and contributed greatly to the decisive victory gained by the latter at Dupplin in August 1332, by fixing a stake in a ford in the river Earn, through which his army marched and attacked the Scots. He was taken prisoner at Perth about two months afterwards, and immediately put to death for his adherence to Baliol. His descendant, Sir William Murray of Tullibardine, succeeded to the estates of his family in 1446. He was sheriff of Perthshire, and in 1458, one of the lords named for the administration of justice, who were of the king’s daily council. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, great chamberlain of Scotland, by whom he had a numerous issue. According to tradition they had seventeen sons, from whom a great many families of the name of Murray are descended. In a curious document entitled "The Declaration of George Halley, in Ochterarder, concerning the Laird of Tullibardine’s seventeen sons—1710," it is stated that they "lived all to be men, and that they waited all one day upon their father at Stirling, to attend the king, with each of them one servant, and their father two. This happening shortly after an act was made by King James the Fifth, discharging any persons to travel with great numbers of attendants besides their own family, and having challenged the laird of Tullibardine for breaking the said set, he answered he brought only his own sons, with their necessary attendants; with which the king was so well pleased that he gave them small lands in heritage." The ancient Scottish song, "Cromlet’s Lilt," was written on the supposed inconstancy of Miss Helen Murray, commonly called "Fair Helen of Ardoch," granddaughter of Murray of Strewan, one of the seventeen sons of Tullibardine. She was courted by young Chisholm of Cromleck who, during his absence in France, imposed upon by the false representations of a treacherous friend, believed that she was faithless to him, and wrote the affecting ballad called Cromlet’s or Cromleck’s lilt. The lady’s father, Stirling of Ardoch, had by his wife, Margaret Murray, a family of no less than thirty-one children, of whom fair Helen was one. It is said that James the Sixth, when passing from Perth to Stirling in 1617, paid a visit to Helen’s mother, the Lady Ardoch, who was then a widow. Her children were all dressed and drawn up on the lawn to receive his majesty. On seeing them the king said, ‘Madam, how many are there of them?’ ‘Sire,’ she jocosely answered, ‘I only want your help to make out the two chalders!’ a chalder contains sixteen bolls. The king laughed heartily at the joke, and afterwards ate a collop sitting on a stone in the close. The youngest son of this extraordinary family, commonly called the Tutor of Ardoch, died, in 1715, at the advanced age of one hundred and eleven.

      The eldest of Tullibardine’s seventeen sons, Sir William Murray of Tullibardine, had, with other issue, William, his successor, and Sir Andrew Murray, ancestor of the viscounts Stormont (see STORMONT). His great-grandson, Sir William Murray of Tullibardine, was a zealous promoter of the Reformation in Scotland; and in 1567, at Carberry-hill, he accepted the gauntlet of defiance to single combat thrown down by the earl of Bothwell, but the latter objected to him as being of inferior rank, as he did also to Tullibardine’s brother, James Murray of Purdorvis, for the same reason. His sister Annabella married the earl of Mar, afterwards regent, and was the governess of the infant king, James the Sixth. He himself married in 1547 Lady Agnes Graham, third daughter of William second earl of Montrose. On the death of his brother-in-law, the earl of Mar, in 1572, he and Sir Alexander Erskine of Gogar were appointed governors of the young king and joint keepers of the castle of Stirling, where his majesty resided, and he discharged the office with the applause of the whole kingdom till 1578. George Halley, in the curious document already quoted, says that "Sir William Murray of Tullibardine having broke Argyle’s face with the hilt of his sword, in king James the Sixth’s presence, was obliged to leave the kingdom. Afterwards, the king’s mails and slaughter cows were not paid, neither could any subject in the realm be able to compel those who were bound to pay them; upon which the king cried out—’ O if I had Will. Murray again, he would soon get my mails and slaughter cows;’ to which one standing by replied—’ That if his majesty would not take Sir William Murray’s life, he might return shortly.’ The king answered, ‘He would be loath to take his life, for he had not another subject like him!’ Upon which promise Sir William Murray returned, and got a commission from the king to go to the north, and lift up the mails sod the cows, which he speedily did, to the great satisfaction of the king, so that immediately after he was made lord comptroller." This office he obtained in 1565.

      His eldest son, Sir John Murray, the twelfth feudal baron of Tullibardine, was brought up with King James, who, in 1592, constituted him his master of the household. He was afterwards sworn a member of his privy council, and knighted, and on 25th April 1604 King James raised him to the peerage by the title of Lord Murray of Tullibardine. On 10th July 1606 he was created earl of Tullibardine. His lordship married Catherine, fourth daughter of David second lord Drummond, and died in 1609.                 

      His eldest son, William, second earl of Tullibardine, was the means of rescuing James the Sixth from the earl of Gowrie and his brother at Perth on the 5th August 1600, for which service the hereditary sheriffship of Perth, which had belonged to the earl of Gowrie, was bestowed on him. He married, as has been stated, the lady Dorothea Stewart, daughter of the 5th earl of Athol of the Stewart family, who died in 1595, and on the death in 1625 of James, second earl of Athol, son of John sixth lord Innermeath, created earl of Athol by James the Sixth, he petitioned King Charles the First for the earldom of Athol, as his countess was the eldest daughter and heir of line of Earl John, of the family of Innermeath, which had become extinct in the male line. The king received the petition graciously, and gave his royal word that it should be done,—thereby a recognition on the part of the Crown of the right of the heir female to an ancient peerage, of which the constitution was unknown. The earl accordingly surrendered the title of earl of Tullibardine into the king’s hands, 1st April 1626, to be conferred on his brother Sir Patrick Murray, as a separate dignity, but before the patents could be expected, his lordship died the same year. His son John, however, obtained in February 1629 the title of earl of Athol, and thus became the first earl of the Murray branch, and the earldom of Tullibardine was at the same time granted to Sir Patrick. This earl of Athol was a zealous royalist, and joined the association formed by the earl of Montrose for the king, at Cumbernauld, in January 1641. He died in June 1642. His eldest son John, second earl of Athol of the Murray family, also faithfully adhered to Charles the First, and was excepted by Cromwell out of his act of grace and indemnity, 12th April 1654, when he was only about nineteen years of age. At the restoration, he was sworn a privy councillor, obtained a charter of the hereditary office of sheriff of Fife, and in 1663 was appointed justice— general of Scotland. In 1670 he was constituted captain of the king’s guards, in 1672 keeper of the privy seal, and 14th January 1673, an extraordinary lord of session. In 1670 he succeeded to the earldom of Tullibardine on the death of James fourth earl of the new creation, and was created marquis of Athol in 1676. He increased the power of his family by his marriage with Lady Amelia Sophia Stanley, third daughter of the seventh earl of Derby, beheaded for his loyalty 15th October 1651. Through her mother, Charlotte de la Tremouille, daughter of Claude de la Tremouilie, duke of Thouars and prince of Palmont, she was related in blood to the emperor of Germany, the kings of France and Spain, the prince of Orange, the duke of Savoy, and most of the principal families of Europe; and by her the family of Athol acquired the seignory of the Isle of Man, and also large property in that island.

      In 1678, on the irruption into the western shires of the Highland host, the marquis of Athol joined the duke of Hamilton in opposition to the duke of Lauderdale, in consequence of which he was deprived of his office of justice - general, but retained his other places. He was instrumental in suppressing Argyle’s invasion in 1685. Notwithstanding his conspicuous loyalty in the reigns of Charles the Second and his brother James, he promoted the Revolution, and went to London in 1689, to wait on the prince of Orange, but was disappointed in his expectations of preferment under the new government. William, though related to the marchioness, did not receive him cordially, and in consequence he joined the Jacobite party. At the convention of the Scottish estates, 14th March 1689, he was put in nomination as president by the adherents of King James. The Whigs on the other hand proposed the duke of Hamilton, and the latter was elected by a majority of fifteen votes. When the viscount of Dundee proceeded into the Highlands for the purpose of trying the chance of a battle, the defence of the castle of Blair Athol, belonging to the marquis, was the means of occasioning the battle of Killiecrankie, in the same year. This strong fortress, which commands the most important pass in the Northern Highlands, had already been the scene of remarkable events in the previous rivil wars. In 1644 the marquis of Montrose had possessed himself of it, and was here joined by a large body of the Athol Highlanders, to whose bravery he was indebted for the victory at Tippermuir. In the troubles of 1653 it was taken by storm by Colonel Daniel, one of Cromwell’s officers, who, unable to remove a magazine of provisions lodged there, destroyed it by powder. In 1689 it had been taken possession of by Stewart of Ballechan, the marquis of Athol’s chamberlain, who refused to deliver it up to Lord Murray, the marquis’s son, as he was supposed to favour the Revolution party, Stewart declaring that he held it for King James, by order of his lieutenant-general. Lord Murray had summoned his father’s vassals to join him, and about twelve hundred assembled, but no entreaties could prevail on them to declare in favour of the government of King William. They intimated that if he would join Dundee they would follow him to a man, but if he refused they all would leave him. His lordship remonstrated with them, and even threatened them with his vengeance if they abandoned him, when, setting his threats at defiance, they ran to the river Banovy in the neighbourhood of Blair castle, and filling their bonnets with water, drank King James’s health, and left his standard. Dundee knew the importance of preserving Blair castle, and with his usual expedition he joined the garrison. A few days afterwards, however, the battle of Killiecrankie took place, when he was slain in the moment of victory. At right is a view of Blair castle.

Blair Castle

      The last siege which Blair castle sustained was in March 1746, when it was gallantly defended by Sir Andrew Agnew against a party of the Pretender’s forces, who retired from before it a few weeks preceding the battle of Culloden. As soon as peace was restored, a considerable part of the castle was reduced in height, and the inside most magnificently furnished. The marquis continued in the opposition for the remainder of his life. He died 6th May 1703. His second son, Lord Charles, was created first earl of Dunmore, and his fourth son, Lord William, was created first Lord Nairn.

      His eldest son John, the second marquis, and first duke, of Athol, designated Lord John Murray, was one of the commissioners for inquiring into the massacre of Glencoe in 1693. By King William he was appointed in 1695 one of the principal secretaries of state for Scotland. He was created a peer in his father’s lifetime, by the title of earl of Tullibardine, viscount of Glenalmond, and Lord Murray, for life, by patent dated 27th July 1696, and in April 1703 he was appointed lord privy seal. On the 30th July of that year, immediately after his father’s death, he was created duke of Athol, by Queen Anne, and invested with the order of the Thistle. Having, the same year, introduced the act of security into the Scottish parliament, the duke of Queensberry and the other ministers, greatly displeased, formed a plan to ruin him, by means of Simon Fraser of Beaufort. Fraser had fled to France some years before, to elude a sentence of death pronounced against him in absence, by the court of justiciary, for an alleged rape on the person of Lady Amelia Murray, dowager Lady Lovat, and sister of the duke of Athol, but returning to Scotland in 1703, as the agent of the exiled family, he, after intriguing with the duke of Queensberry, then at the head of the government party in Scotland, revealed the existence of a Jacobite conspiracy, in which the dukes of Hamilton and Athol, as well as others, were deeply involved. Fraser was Athol’s bitter enemy (see FRASER, SIMON, twelfth Lord Lovat), and the whole pretended plot having been brought to light by Ferguson, celebrated as the plotter (see FERGUSON, Robert), with whom Fraser had had some communication in London, he immediately acquainted the duke with tbe discovery he had made. Athol at once laid the matter before the queen, who had been previously apprised of the alleged conspiracy by the duke of Queensberry. The latter being called upon for an explanation, excused himself by saying that when Fra ser came to Scotland he had received a written communication from him, to the effect that he could make important discoveries, relative to designs against the queen’s government, in proof of which he delivered him a letter from the queen dowager, the widow of James the Seventh, at St. Germains, addressed to L— M—, which initials Fraser stated were meant for Lord Murray, the former title of the duke of Athol, and that, after seeing him, he (Queensberry) had given him a protection in Scotland, and procured a pass for him in England, to enable him to follow out further discoveries. The English house of peers took the subject up warmly, and passed strong resolutions regarding the supposed conspiracy, for the purpose of clearing Queensberry; but nothing farther was done in the matter. The effect, however, was to incense Athol against the government, and so zealous was he against the Union that he is said to have had six thousand Highland followers ready to oppose it. This did not prevent him, however, from pocketing one thousand pounds of the equivalent money sent down, nominally to satisfy such claims of damage as might arise out of the Union, but in reality given in many instances as a bribe. At the beginning of the session of the Scots parliament in which the Union was carried, the duke was appointed commissioner, as Lockart informs us, in place of the duke of Queensberry, the latter wishing to ascertain the state of public feeling before he ventured himself to face the difficulties of the time, "and therefore he sent the duke of Athol down as commissioner; using him as the monkey did the cat, in pulling out the hot roasted chestnuts." (Lockhart's Memoirs, p. 139.) His grace died 14th November, 1724. He was twice married; first to Catherine, daughter of the duke of Hamilton, by whom he had six sons and a daughter, and secondly to Mary, daughter of William lord Ross, by whom he had three sons and a daughter. His eldest son, John marquis of Tullibardine, died in 1709. His second son William, who succeeded his brother, was the marquis of Tullibardine who acted the prominent part in both the Scottish rebellions of last century, which is recorded in history. He was one of the first that joined the earl of Mar in 1715, for which he was attainted for high treason, and the family honours were settled by parliament on his next brother James. Another brother, Lord Charles Murray, a cornet of horse, also engaged in the rebellion of 1715, and had the command of a regiment. Upon the march into England be kept at the head of his men on foot in the Highland dress. After the surrender of Preston, his lordship being amongst the prisoners, was tried by a court martial as a deserter, and sentenced to be shot, but received a pardon through the interest of his friends, and died in 1720. The marquis of Tullibardine had escaped to the continent, but returned to Scotland with the Spanish forces, in 1719, and with a younger brother, Lord George Murray, afterwards commander-in-chief of the Pretender’s army, was in the battle of the pass of Glenshiel, in the district of Kintail, Ross-shire, in June of that year, where Lord George was wounded. After the defeat at Glenshiel, the marquis escaped a second time to the continent, and lived twenty-aix years in exile. In 1745 he accompanied Prince Charles Edward to Scotland, and landed with him at Borodaile 25th July. He was styled duke of Athol by the Jacobites. On the 19th August he unfurled the prince’s standard at Glenfinnan, and supported by a man on each side, held the staff whlle he proclaimed the Chevalier de St. George as king, and read the commission appointing his son Charles prince regent. After the battle of Culloden he fled to the westward, intending to embark for the isle of Mull, but being unable, from the bad state of his health, to bear the fatigue of travelling under concealment, he surrendered, on the 27th April, 1746, to Mr. Buchanan of Drummakill, a Stirlingshire gentleman. Being conveyed to London, he was committed to the Tower, where he died on the 9th July following.

      James the second duke of Athol was the third son of the first duke. He succeeded to the dukedom on the death of his father, in November 1724, in the lifetime of his elder brother William, attainted by parliament. Being maternal great-grandson of James seventh earl of Derby, upon the death of the tenth earl of that line, he claimed and was allowed the English barony of Strange, which had been conferred on Lord Derby, by writ of summons, in 1628. His grace was married, first to Jean, sister of Sir John Frederick, bart. by whom he had a son and two daughters; secondly to Jane, daughter of John Drummond of Megginch, who had no issue. The latter was the heroine of Dr. Ansten’s song of ‘For lack of gold she’s left me, O!’ She was betrothed to that gentleman, a physician in Edinburgh, when the Duke of Athol saw her, and falling in love with her made proposals of marriage, which were accepted; and, as Burns says, she jilted the doctor. Having survived her first husband, she married a second time, Lord Adam Gordon. Dr. Austen, on his part, although in his song he says,  

"No cruel fair shall ever moveMy injured heart again to love,"

married, in 1754, the Hon. Anne Sempill, by whom he had a numerous family.

      The son and the eldest daughter of the second duke of Athol died young. Charlotte, his youngest daughter, succeeded on his death, which took place in 1764, to the barony of Strange and the sovereignty of the Isle of Man. She married her cousin, John Murray, Esq., eldest son of Lord George Murray, fifth son of the first duke, and the celebrated generalissimo of the forces of the Pretender in 1745, (see MURRAY, Lord George.) Though Lord George was attainted by parliament for his share in the rebellion, his son was allowed to succeed his uncle and father-in-law as third duke, and in 1765 he and his duchess disposed of their sovereignty of the Isle of Man to the British government, for seventy thousand pounds, reserving, however, their landed interest in the island, with the patronage of the bishopric and other ecclesiastical benefices, on payment of the annual sum of one hundred and one pounds fifteen shillings and eleven pence, and rendering two falcons to the kings and queens of England upon the days of their coronation. His grace, who had five sons and two daughters, died 5th November, 1774, and was succeeded by his eldest son John, fourth duke, who in 1786 was created Earl Strange and Baron Murray of Stanley, in the peerage of the United kingdom. He died in 1830. His second son, Lord George Murray, was bishop of St. David’s, whose eldest son became bishop of Rochester. His fifth son, Lord Charles Murray, dean of Bocking in Essex, having married Alice, daughter of George Mitford, Esq., and heiress of her great uncle, Gawen Aynsley, assumed the surname of Aynsley. The fourth duke was succeeded by his eldest son John, who was for many years a recluse, and died single 14th September, 1846. His next brother James, a major-general in the army, was created a peer of the United Kingdom, as baron Glenlyon of Glenlyon, in the county of Perth, 9th July, 1821. He married, in May 1810, Emily Frances, second daughter of the duke of Northumberland, and by her he had two sons and two daughters. He died in 1837. His eldest son, George Augustus Frederick John, Lord Glenlyon, became, on the death of his uncle in 1846, sixth duke of Athol. In 1853, knight of the Thistle; married, with issue.

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