MURRAY, John (c.1667-1714), of Bowhill, Selkirk.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1707 - 1708

Family and Education

b. c.1667, 2nd s. of Sir John Murray (d. 1676), MP [S], of Philiphaugh, Selkirk by his 1st w. Anne, da. of Sir Archibald Douglas, MP [S], of Cavers, Roxburgh., and yr. bro. of Sir James Murray, MP [S], of Philiphaugh, Ld. Philiphaugh SCJ, ld. clerk register [S] 1703–8.  educ. adv. 1688; Leyden, 1688, aged 21.  m. (1) 27 Apr. 1694, Jean Scott (d. 1698); (2) 20 May 1699, Jean, da. of Sir John Scott, 1st Bt., of Ancrum, Roxburgh.; (3) Aug. 1704, Jean Moncrieff (d. 1736), wid. of John McGill, MD, and David Scrimgeour of Cartmoir or Cartmores, Fife, receiver-gen. to Anne, suo jure Countess of Buccleuch, 1s.  Styled Ld. Bowhill, 7 June 1707–d.1

Offices Held

MP [S] Selkirk 1689–1702, Selkirkshire 1702–7.

?Councillor, Peebles by 1690; sheriff depute, Selkirkshire 1695; commissary, Peeblesshire 1697–aft. 1707; burgess, Ayr 1709, Perth 1710.2

Ld. of session June 1707–d., of justiciary 1709–d.3


For the most part Murray’s early career bears out the observation of the Jacobite agent Scot, writing in 1706, who described him as ‘entirely governed’ by his elder brother Sir James Murray of Philiphaugh. Like Philiphaugh he was a stout upholder of the Revolution interest, commissioned as a captain of fencibles in 1689 and, when returned to the Scottish convention of estates for the burgh of Selkirk, a signatory to the act declaring the convention’s legality and the letter of congratulation to King William. Neither the oaths, nor in due course the Assurance or the Association, gave him any qualms. As a young advocate he soon showed up as an active member, appointed to various committees in the convention and as a commissioner for the planting of kirks. He joined the ‘club’ opposition in 1689–90, subscribing to the club’s petition in September 1690, but not long after came to terms with the Court. Alongside his brother he took a place in the Queensberry–Court group, as demonstrated by a succession of committee appointments in 1698–1701, and by his vote with the Court on 14 Jan. 1701 to proceed over Caledonia by address rather than act of parliament; this even though his loyalty had as yet only earned him the grant of a local office. Transferring to the county representation in the Scottish election of 1702, and remaining with the Court rump after the secession in that year, he followed Queensberry’s lead to the extent of opposing the Court in 1704 when the Duke was out of office, by a vote in favour of the Duke of Hamilton’s motion to postpone settling the succession. By this time his brother, who had become Queensberry’s right-hand man, was lord clerk register; and despite his meagre diet of Court patronage, Murray too had done well enough, presumably in his professional capacity, to acquire an estate in his own right at Bowhill.4

Murray voted with the Court line in all divisions on the Union, with a solitary absence for the vote on representation. A natural choice to represent his country in the first Parliament of Great Britain, in so far as he would be expected to remain a stalwart of the Court, he may not in fact ever have attended at Westminster (certainly his name does not once figure in the Journals), since in June 1707 he had at last received his overdue reward for years of service to administration, with appointment as a lord of session, styling himself Lord Bowhill. Two years later he was also made a lord of justiciary. He died on 24 Mar. 1714, and was succeeded by his only son, John, on whose death in 1718 the Bowhill estate passed into Lord Philiphaugh’s family.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Hist. Scot. Parl. 523; Brunton and Haig, Senators Coll. of Justice, 485; Scot. Rec. Soc. iii. 194; xxvii. 507; lxxvii. 160; Album Studiosorum Academiae Lugduno Batavae, ed. Du Rieu, 701; Sir W. Fraser, Scotts of Buccleuch, i. 468–9; G. H. Johnston, Heraldry of Murrays, 69.
  • 2. Reg. PC Scotland, 1690, p. 694; APS, ix. 374; xi. 476; CSP Dom. 1697, p. 539; Carnegie Lib. Ayr, Ayr burgh recs. B6/18/8, council mins. 4 Oct. 1709; Sandeman Lib. Perth, Perth burgh recs. B59/24/1/17, p.18.
  • 3. Brunton and Haig, 485.
  • 4. Orig. Pprs. ed. Macpherson, ii. 11; Reg. PC Scotland, 1686–9, p. 472; 1689, p. 4; APS, ix. 6, 10, 20, 100, 114, 161, 188, 201, 352; x. 123, 193, 207, 247; xi. 14, 30; info. from Dr P. W. J. Riley on members of Scot. parl.; Scot. Hist. Soc. (ser. 3), xlvi. 52; xlvii. 161; P. W. J. Riley, King Wm. and Scot. Politicians, 177; W. Fraser, Melvilles and Leslies, iii. 212; Boyer, Anne Annals, iii. app. 41; P. W. J. Riley, Union, 93, 138.
  • 5. Info. from Dr Riley; Riley, Union, 331; Baillie Corresp. 181; R. Walcott, Pol. Early 18th Cent. 234; HMC Portland, x. 217; Scots Courant, 26–29 Mar. 1714; Services of Heirs (ser. 1), i. 1710–19, p. 19.