Murray, George (1761-1803) (DNB00)

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MURRAY, Lord GEORGE (1761–1803), bishop of St. David's, born on 30 Jan. 1761, was the fourth son of John, third duke of Atholl [q. v.], by his wife and cousin, Lady Charlotte Murray, daughter of James, second duke of Atholl [q. v.] He matriculated from New College, Oxford, on 28 June 1779, graduating B.A. in 1782, and D.D. by diploma on 27 Nov. 1800. On 5 Nov. 1787 he was made archdeacon of Man, was also rector of Hurston, Kent, and dean of Bocking, Essex. ‘Applying his scientific skill and philosophical knowledge to that curious mechanical invention, the telegraph, he made many improvements in that machine’ (Douglas, Peerage, ed. Wood, i. 154), and was granted the management of the telegraphs (i.e. a species of semaphore) at various seaports, and on Wimbledon Common. On 18 Dec. 1795 he was introduced to the king, and had a long conversation with him on the subject,and in March 1796 the direction of the telegraph at the admiralty was committed to him. In 1797 he was spoken of as likely to obtain the vacant prebend of Rochester (see Nichols, Lit. Illustrations, v. 701), and in 1798 he was eager to take part in recruiting forces to oppose the threatened French invasion, but a meeting of prelates at Lambeth checked the ‘arming influenza of their inferior brethren’ (ib. v. 732). On 19 Nov. 1800 Murray was nominated bishop of St. David's. He was elected on 6 Dec., confirmed on 7 and consecrated on 11 Feb. 1801. He caught a chill waiting for his carriage on leaving the House of Lords, and died at Cavendish Square on 3 June 1803, aged 42. One published sermon of his is in the British Museum Library. Murray married at Farnborough, Hampshire, on 18 Dec. 1780, Anne Charlotte, daughter of Lieutenant-general Francis Ludovic Grant, M.P., by whom he had ten children, of whom John became a commander in the royal navy, and predeceased his father in the West Indies in 1803 (Wood).

The second son, George Murray (1784–1860), born at Farnham on 12 Jan. 1784, matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 22 Dec. 1801, graduating B.A. in 1806, M.A. in 1810, and D.D. by diploma on 13 March 1814. On 29 Sept. 1808 he was installed, like his father, archdeacon of Man; on 22 May 1813 he was nominated bishop of Sodor and Man by the Duke of Atholl, and consecrated 6 March 1814. On 24 Nov. 1827 he was elected bishop of Rochester, receiving back the temporalities on 14 Dec. 1827, and on 19 March 1828 was nominated dean of Worcester, being succeeded in 1845 by John Peel. While commending the character of the leaders of the Oxford movement, Murray mildly attacked the ‘Tracts for the Times,’ especially Nos. 81 and 90, in his episcopal charge of October 1843. Several of his sermons and charges were published. He died, after a protracted illness, at his town residence in Chester Square, London, on 16 Feb. 1860, aged 76, and was buried in the family vault at Kensal Green. He married, on 5 May 1811, Lady Sarah Hay-Drummond, second daughter of Robert, ninth earl of Kinnoull, by whom he had five sons and six daughters.

[Douglas's Scots' Peerage, ed. Wood; Foster's Peerage; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Jones and Freeman's St. David's, p. 356; Le Neve's Fasti, passim; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. v. 701, 732; Gent. Mag. 1803, i. 601; Times, 17 and 23 Feb. 1860.]

A. F. P.