James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl

James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl, KT, PC (28 September 1690  8 January 1764), styled Marquess of Tullibardine between 1715 and 1746, was a Scottish peer, and Lord Privy Seal.

His Grace
The Duke of Atholl
Portrait by Allan Ramsay.
Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland
In office
Preceded byThe Duke of Queensberry
Succeeded byThe Earl of Marchmont
Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland
In office
Preceded byThe Earl of Ilay
Succeeded byJames Stuart-Mackenzie
Member of Parliament
for Perthshire
In office
10 February 1715  31 December 1724
Preceded byLord James Murray
Succeeded byDavid Graeme
Personal details
James Murray

(1690-09-28)28 September 1690
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died8 January 1764(1764-01-08) (aged 73)
Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland
Jane Frederick
(m. 1726; died 1748)

Jean Drummond
(m. 1749)
ChildrenJohn Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine
Lady Jane Murray
Charlotte Murray, Duchess of Atholl
James Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine
Parent(s)John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl
Lady Catherine Hamilton


Atholl was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and was the third son of John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl and Lady Katherine Hamilton.[1]

In 1712, he was made captain of the grenadier company of the 1st Foot Guards. On the attainder in 1715 of his elder brother, William Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine, for taking part in the Jacobite rising, an act was passed by parliament vesting the family honours and estates in him as the next heir. After the conclusion of the rebellion, he appears to have gone to Edinburgh to represent in as favourable a light as possible to the government the services of his father, in order to procure for him a sum of money in name of compensation.[2]

At the election of 1715, he was chosen M.P. for Perth, and he was re-elected in 1722. He succeeded to the peerage on the death of his father in 1724; and in 1733 an act of parliament was passed to explain and extend the act of 1715, by providing that the attainder of William, marquis of Tullibardine, should not extend to prevent any descent of honour and estate to James, duke of Atholl, and his issue, or to any of the issue or heirs male of John, late duke of Atholl, other than the said William Murray and his issue. [2]

In June 1724, he was made Lord Privy Seal, succeeding Lord Ilay, and on 21 September, he was chosen a representative peer. He was re-elected in 1734, and during the same year was invested with the Order of the Thistle. As maternal grandson of James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby, Atholl succeeded to the sovereignty of the Isle of Man, and to the ancient barony of Strange, of Knockyn, Wotton, Mohun, Burnel, Basset, and Lacy, on the death of James, 10th Earl of Derby, in 1736.[2]

From 1737 to the general election of 1741, he sat in parliament both as an English baron and as a Scottish representative peer. On the approach of the highland army after the Jacobite rising of 1745, Atholl fled southwards, and his elder brother, the Marquis of Tullibardine, took possession of Blair Castle. Atholl, however, joined the army of the Duke of Cumberland in England, and, arriving with him in Edinburgh on 30 January 1746, went northwards. On 9 February, he sent a summons to his vassals to attend at Dunkeld and Kirkmichael and join the king's troops. On 6 April 1763, Atholl resigned the office of privy seal on being appointed keeper of the great seal in succession to Charles Douglas (1698–1778), Duke of Queensberry and Dover. He was also at the same time made lord justice general. [2]

He was allegedly the first to plant European Larch in Great Britain; one of a group of five near Dunkeld cathedral planted in 1738 is still alive[3]

He died at Dunkeld on 8 January 1764, in his seventy-fourth year,[2] and was buried at Inveresk.

He was succeeded by in the barony of Strange by his daughter, Lady Charlotte, and in the Scottish titles by his nephew, John, the son of George Murray, a general in the Jacobite rising of 1745 which the second Duke did not join.


Atholl married firstly Jane, daughter of Thomas Frederick (son of Sir John Frederick, Lord Mayor of London), on 28 April 1726. They had four children:

  • John Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine (1728–1729), died in infancy.
  • Lady Jane Murray (c. 1730–1747)
  • Lady Charlotte Murray (1731–1805)
  • James Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine (1735–1736), died in infancy.

After his first wife's death in 1748 he married secondly Jean, daughter of John Drummond, 10th of Lennoch, on 7 May 1749, in Edinburgh. There were no children from this marriage.


  1. "James Murray (1690–1764), 2nd Duke of Atholl | Art UK". artuk.org. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  2. Henderson 1894.
  3. "Grounds of Dunkeld Hilton House". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2016.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Henderson, Thomas Finlayson (1894). "Murray, James (1690-1764)". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 39. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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