Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Murray, Thomas (1630?-1684)

MURRAY, Sir THOMAS (1630?–1684), of Glendoick, clerk-register, was descended from a junior branch of the Murrays of Tullibardine, now represented by the Duke of Atholl. Born about 1630, he was the younger son of Thomas Murray of Cassochie and Woodend, advocate, who was sheriff-depute of Perthshire in 1649, and died in 1666. Having adopted the law as his profession, he was admitted advocate on 14 Dec. 1661. A second cousin of Lady Elizabeth Murray, countess of Dysart [q. v.], her patronage speedily brought preferment. In 1662 he was appointed lord-clerk-register, and on 14 June 1674 he became a senator of the College of Justice, with the title of Lord Glendoick, a designation taken from the estate in the Carse of Gowrie, which he had purchased, and which was ratified to him by parliament in February 1672. On 2 July 1676 he was created a baronet of Nova Scotia. In 1679 a royal license was granted to him to 'reprint the whole acts, laws, constitutions, and ordinances of the parliament of the kingdom of Scotland, both old and new.' The license was granted for nineteen years, and Murray farmed it to David Lindsay, merchant, and John Cairnes, printer, both of Edinburgh. He does not seem to have taken much share in the preparation of the volumes that still are quoted under his name, and certainly did not avail himself of the special facilities for executing the work which his position as lord-clerk-register gave him. His edition of the statutes is copied directly from Skene's edition of 1597, with the subsequent laws printed from sessional publications to bring up the work to 1681. This is the more unpardonable,' writes Professor Cosmo Innes, 'since he professes to have extracted the work from the original records of parliament; whereas, in fact, even the more accurate and ample edition of 1566 does not appear to have been consulted.' Two editions were printed in 1681, one of them in duodecimo and the other in folio. The former, though most frequently quoted, is the less accurate, and reproduces even the typographical errors of Skene's edition. But Murray's edition of the statutes, with all its imperfections, was habitually quoted in the Scottish courts as an authority until the beginning of this century.

The marriage of Lady Dysart with the Duke of Lauderdale secured Murray for a time in his public offices, and it was supposed that he shared his emoluments with the duchess. When the power of the duke was overthrown Murray was superseded. His name was not included in the commission for the administration of justice appointed in 1681, and his office of lord-clerk-register was given to Sir George Mackenzie [q. v.] of Tarbat, afterwards Earl of Cromarty. Murray spent the remainder of his life in retirement. His death took place in 1684, not 1687 as usually stated ; his eldest son was served heir to him in February 1685. By his marriage with Barbara, daughter of Thomas Hepburn of Blackcastle, he had five sons and four daughters. The two eldest sons succeeded each other in the baronetcy, but the title expired with Sir Alexander Murray of Balmanno and Glendoick, fifth baronet and great-grandson of Sir Thomas, who was killed in the American war of independence in 1776.

[Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice; Cosmo Innes's edition of the Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland; Millar's Roll of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee; Eoss and Grant's Nisbet's Heraldic Plates.]

A. H. M.