Murray, Thomas (1564-1623) (DNB00)

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MURRAY, THOMAS (1564–1623), provost of Eton, born in 1564, was the son of Murray of Woodend, and uncle of William Murray, first earl of Dysart [q. v.]. He was early attached to the court of James VI of Scotland, and soon after James's accession to the English throne was appointed tutor to Charles, then duke of York. On 26 June 1605 he was granted a pension of two hundred marks for life, and in July was presented, through the intervention of the Bishop of Durham, to the mastership of Christ's Hospital, Sherburn, near Durham. From that time he received numerous grants, and was in constant communication with the Earl of Salisbury, Sir Albertus Morton, Sir Dudley Carleton, and others, many of his letters being preserved among the state papers (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1603-23, passim). He was 'much courted, but his honesty' made 'him well esteemed.' Andrew Melville [q. v.], when he sought his liberty in November 1610, placed the management of his case in the hands of Murray, to whom he refers as his special friend. In 1615 George Gladstanes [q. v.], archbishop of St. Andrews, made an unsuccessful attempt to get Murray removed from the tutorship of Prince Charles as 'ill-affected to the estate of the kirk.' On 13 March 1617 Murray was appointed a collector of the reimposed duty on 'northern cloth,' and allowed one-third of the profits. In August of the same year the king promised him the provostship of Eton, but his appointment was opposed on suspicion of his puritanism, and he received the post of secretary to Prince Charles instead. In October 1621 he was confined to his house for opposing the Spanish marriage. In February 1621-2 he was elected provost of Eton, but fell seriously ill in February 1622-3, and died on 9 April, aged 59. He left behind him five sons and two daughters. His widow, Jane, and a son received a pension of 500l. for their lives.

Murray was author of some Latin poems, which have been printed in the 'Delitiae Poetarum Scotorum,' ed. 1637, ii. 180-200. He has been eulogised by John Leech [q. v.] in his 'Epigrammata,' ed. 1623, p. 19, and by Arthur Johnston [q. v.] in his 'Poemata,' ed. 1642, p. 381.

[Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1603-23, passim; McCrie's Life of Melville, ii. 269, 528; Harwood's Alumni Etonenses; Douglas's Peerage, ed. Wood, i. 486; Birch's Life of Henry, Prince of Wales, p. 295, note; Le Neve's Fasti, iii. 243.]

A. F. P.