Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Murray, Gideon

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MURRAY, Sir GIDEON, Lord Elibank (d. 1621), of Elibank, deputy treasurer and lord of session, was third son of Sir John Murray of Blackbarony, Peeblesshire, by Griselda, daughter of Sir John Bethune of Creich, Fifeshire, and relict of William Scott younger of Branxholm, Roxburghshire, ancestor of the Scotts, dukes of Buccleuch. The Murrays of Blackbarony claim an origin distinct from the other great families of the name of Murray, and trace their descent from Johan de Morreff, who in 1296 swore allegiance to Edward I of England. His supposed great-grandson, John de Moravia, or Moray, is mentioned in a charter of 14 March 1409-10 as possessing the lands of Halton-Murray, or Blackbarony, and from him the Murrays of Blackbarony descend in a direct line.

Sir Gideon of Elibank was originally designated of Glenpoyt or Glenpottie. He studied for the church, and in an act of the privy council of 25 April 1583 is mentioned as chanter of Aberdeen (Reg. P. C. Scotl. p. 564). According to Scot of Scotstarvet, he gave up thoughts of the church because he killed in a quarrel a man named Aichison. For this he was imprisoned in the castle of Edinburgh, but through the interposition of the wife of the chancellor Arran he was pardoned and set at liberty (Staggering State, ed. 1872, p. 65). Afterwards he became chamberlain to his nephew, Sir Walter Scott of Buccleugh, and had charge of his affairs during his absence in Italy (ib. p. 66). On 14 Oct. 1592-3 he became surety for William Scott of Hartwoodmyres and other borderers (Reg. P. C. Scotl. v. 733). On 15 March 1593-4 he had a charter of the lands of Elibank, Selkirkshire, with a salmon fishing in the Tweed (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1593-1608, entry 235). In the fray of Dryfe Sands on 7 Dec. 1593 between the Scotts and the Johnstones, in which John, seventh or eighth lord Maxwell [q. v.], was slain, Murray was present with five hundred of the Scotts, and carried their laird's standard (Staggering State, p. 66). Along with other border chiefs he in October 1602 signed the general band against border thieves (Reg. P. C. Scotl. vi. 828).

After the accession of James to the English throne Murray was appointed one of a commission of justiciary for the borders (ib. vii. 702). On 14 March 1605 he received the honour of knighthood, and on the 14th he was appointed one of a conjunct commission for the borders consisting of Englishmen and Scotsmen (ib. p. 707). Along with his brother, the laird of Blackbarony, he was nominated in June 1607 commissioner to the presbytery of Peebles, to secure there the inauguration of the scheme for the appointment of perpetual moderators (ib. p. 376). On 3 Aug. he was appointed with other commissioners to assist the Earls of Dunbar and Cumberland in establishing peace and obedience in the middle shires (borders) (ib. p. 729), for which he received a fee of 800l. (ib. viii. 16). On 19 Jan. 1607-8 the privy council passed an order of approbation of his services and that of the other commissioners (ib. p. 38), and on 1 March 1610 the king's special approbation of his individual services was ratified by the council (ib. p. 432). On 20 Feb. he also obtained a pension of 1,200l. Scots from the Earl of Dunbar, which was subsequently ratified by the states.

During 1610 the quarrels of Murray's second son, Walter, and a son of Lord Cranstoun, who had challenged each other to single combat, occupied much of the attention of the council, and on 4 Aug. Murray had to give caution in five thousand marks for his son to remain in Edinburgh until freed by the council (ib. ix. 653). On 28 Aug. 1610 he was admitted a member of the privy council in place of Sir James Hay of Fingask (ib. p. 76). On 15 Nov. he was named a member of the royal commission of the exchequer (ib. p. 85). He was one of the ' new Octavians' appointed in April 1611 for the management of the king's affairs in Scotland, and on 15 June he was named a member of a royal commission for the borders (ib. p. 194). As a token of his special regard for him the king also in this year made over to him a number of presentation cups given to him by various Scottish burghs.

On 30 July 1611 Elibank had a commission for managing the affairs of the king's favourite, Robert Car (or Ker), viscount Rochester, in Scotland, and through his influence he was in December 1612 appointed treasurer depute. In the parliament which met at Edinburgh in October 1612 he sat as member for Selkirkshire (Foster, Members of the Scottish Parliament, 2nd edit. p. 265). On 28 April 1613 he was named one of a commission for exacting fines on the Macgregors (Reg. P. C. Scotl. x. 51-5). On 2 Nov. he was appointed a lord of session, with the title of Lord Elibank, and he was at the same time named a commissioner for the middle shires, with a salary of 500l. (ib. p. 164). He was one of the commission who in December 1614 examined John Ogilvie, the Jesuit, with torture. In December 1615 he was appointed a commissioner in the new court of high commission, and on 30 July 1616 one of a commission of justiciary for the north. The same year his pension was increased to 2,400l. Scots, and extended to the lifetime of his two sons. His management of the revenue of Scotland fully justified this recognition of his services, for it had been so prudent and able as to enable him not only to carry out extensive repairs on the royal residences of Holyrood, Dunfermline, Linlithgow, and Falkland, and the castles of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Dumbarton, but also to have in the treasury a surplus sufficient to defray the expenses of King James and his court during the royal visit to Scotland in 1617 (Staggering State, p. 60). Elibank was appointed one of a commission to the diocesan assembly at St. Andrews in October of this year, to take the place of the king's commissioner, the Earl of Montrose, who was ill (Calderwood, vii. 284), and he was one of the courtiers who on Easter day 1618 took the communion kneeling in the royal chapel (ib. p. 297). At the assembly held at Perth on 25 Aug. 1618 he was one of the assessors of the king's commissioners (ib. p. 304). As a proof of the high esteem in which Elibank was held by the king, Scot of Scotstarvet states that when on one occasion in the bedchamber, with none present but the king, Elibank, and Scot, Elibank happened to drop his chevron, the king, though both old and stiff, stooped to pick it up, and gave it him, saying, 'My predecessor, Queen Elizabeth, thought she did a favour to any man who was speaking with her when she let her glove fall, that he might take it up and give it to her ; but, sir, you may say a king lifted your glove' (Staggering State, p. 66). Nevertheless, when in 1621 Elibank was accused by James Stewart, lord Ochiltree, of malversations as treasurer depute, the king ordered a day for his trial. The accusation, however, upset his reason, and being haunted by the delusion that he had no money to obtain for himself bread or drink, he refused to take food, and died on 28 June, after an illness of twenty days (ib. ; Calderwood, vii. 462). By his wife Margaret Pentland he had two sons and a daughter : Sir Patrick, who was created a baronet of Nova Scotia on 6 May 1628, was raised to the peerage by the title Lord Elibank on 18 March 1643, consistently supported Charles I during the civil war, and died on 12 Nov. 1649; Walter of Livingstone; and Agnes, married to Sir William Scott of Harden.

[Calderwood's Hist. of the Kirk of Scotland; Scot's Staggering State of Scottish Statesmen; Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot.; Reg. P. C. Scotl.; Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 525-6 ]

T. F. H.