Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Murray, William (d.1583)

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MURRAY, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1583), of Tullibardine, comptroller of Scotland, was the eldest son of Sir William Murray of Tullibardine, by Catherine, daughter of Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy. The family was descended from Sir William de Moravia, who in 1282 acquired the lands of Tullibardine, Perthshire, by marriage with Adda, daughter of Malise of Strathern. This Sir William represented a younger branch of the Murrays, having as their common ancestor a Flemish settler of the name of Freskin, who in 1130 obtained a large grant of land in the district of Moray. Of the elder branch were the Morays, lords of Bothwell, and the Morays of Abercairney. Among the more notable of the lairds of Tullibardine was Sir Andrew, son of the first Sir William, who in August 1332 by guiding the English to a ford across the Earn, which he had marked with a large stake, was the chief means of the Scottish defeat at Dupplin. For his treachery he was shortly afterwards executed at Perth. The father of the comptroller was a supporter of the lords of the congregation against the queen-regent, and signed the instructions to the commissioners for the treaty at Berwick-on-Tweed in February 1559-60 (Knox, Works, ii. 56). He died in June 1562. The son was a supporter of the Darnley marriage, and was present at St. Andrews when the band of the men of Fife was received (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 367). Having shortly afterwards been appointed comptroller he was named a member of the privy council 9 Nov. 1565 (ib. p. 389). He was lodged in the palace of Holyrood at the time of the murder of Rizzio, but that same night was permitted by the conspirators to retire from the palace (Sir James Melville, Memoirs, p. 149). After the queen's marriage to Bothwell he joined the confederate lords, and he was one of the principal leaders of the army that assembled against her at Carberry. When Bothwell refused the challenge then given to him by Tullibardine's brother, James Murray of Parclovis [q. v.], Tullibardine himself took up the challenge, asserting that his house was more ancient than Bothwell's (Knox, ii. 561). During the queen's journey to Edinburgh after her surrender the followers of Tullibardine were among the most prominent in raising cries of execration against her (Drury to Cecil, 20 June, Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1566-8, entry 1324). Tullibardine is mentioned by Morton as present at the ' sichting ' of the Casket letters on 21 June (Henderson, Casket Letters, p. 115). He attended the coronation of the young king at Stirling on 29 July (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 537-8). On 9 Aug. in a conference with Throckmorton, he revealed to him a proposal of the Hamiltons for the execution of the queen, on account of her connection with the murder, as the best method of reconciling all parties (Cal. State Papers, Scott. Ser. i. 255, and more at length in Tytler's History of Scotland, ed. 1864, iii. 270). Shortly afterwards Tullibardine and Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange [q. v.] were sent in command of three armed ships to the northern isles in pursuit of Bothwell (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 544-6), but did not succeed in capturing him.

Notwithstanding his strong hostility to Bothwell, Tullibardine was always inclined to treat the queen with gentleness, and her continued confinement in Lochleven after the flight of Bothwell was distasteful to him. He signed the band for her deliverance, and with George Douglas and nine horsemen waited in Kinross to be ready to receive her on landing when she made her escape (Calderwood, History, ii. 404). After her flight to England he is said to have 'enterprised,' with the consent of the Hamiltons, a scheme for the assassination of the regent Murray (Drury to Cecil, 31 July, Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1566-8, entry 1387). If he did propose such a scheme, nothing was done to punish him ; and his name appears as one of the privy council at a meeting on 5 April 1569 (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 653). He attended the convention at Perth on 27 July 1569, and voted for the queen's divorce from Bothwell (ib. ii. 8). In July 1572 he was employed by the regent's party in negotiations with Kirkcaldy of Grange for a surrender of the castle of Edinburgh (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1569-71, entry 1081). After the death of the regent Mar on 28 Oct. he was appointed joint governor, along with Alexander Erskine, of the young king, but Morton is stated to have induced him to renounce his share in the charge of the young king by renewing to him the office of comptroller (Hist, of James the Sext, p. 120). Tullibardine joined the conspiracy in 1578 for ousting Morton from the regency, and after his retirement was chosen one of the new privy councillors (Moysie, Memoirs, p. 5). According to Calderwood, however, it was through insinuating himself into Tullibardine's favour, and persuading him to influence the young Earl of Mar, that Morton subsequently obtained admittance into the castle of Stirling and resumed his authority over the young king (History, iii. 409). After the death of Robert Stewart, earl of Lennox, Tullibardine was on 20 May 1579 appointed one of a commission for 'sichting' the Lennox papers (Reg, P. C. Scotl. iii. 163). In October 1581 he protested against the infeftment of William, lord Ruthven, in the earldom of Gowrie in so far as it might prejudice his interests (ib. p. 427). In the quarrel between Arran and the Duke of Lennox in December, Tullibardine supported the former (Calderwood, iii. 593). He also supported the Earl of Gowrie against Lennox in July 1582 (ib. p. 632). After the expulsion of Arran from court in February 1582-3, Tullibardine resigned his office of comptroller, which was given to John Fenton, who had been clerk to the office (ib. viii. 238). Tullibardine died on 15 March following. By his wife Lady Agnes Graham, third daughter of William, second earl of Montrose, he had four sons and two daughters : Sir John who succeeded him; Sir William of Pitcairly; Alexander; Mungo of Dunork; Margaret, married to Sir Robert Bruce of Clackmannan, and Jane to Sir John Hepburn of Waughton.

[Reg. P. C. Scotl. vols. i-iii.; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. reign of Elizabeth; Cal. State Papers, Scott. Ser.; Knox's Works; Calderwood's History of the Kirk of Scotland; Moysie's Memoirs, Sir James Melville's Memoirs, and History of James the Sext (all in the Bannatyne Club); Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. pt. viii.; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 525-6.]

T. F. H.