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Murray of Stanhope

3rd Baronet

Sir Alexander MURRAY of Stanhope

Murray of Stanhope Coat of Arms
Murray of Stanhope Coat of Arms

Sir Alexander MURRAY was born about 1687, the son of Sir David MURRAY and Lady Anne BRUCE

.

Sir Alexander Murray of Stanhope, the third Baronet, was Member of Parliament for Peeblesshire in 1710, and was placed by his father in possession of the baronies of Stanhope and Broughton on the occasion of his marriage in that year to Grisell BAILLIE, the eldest daughter of George BAILLIE of Jerviswood. This marriage was not a happy one and she obtained a decree of separation and aliment against him on 15th March, 1714, when she returned to her father's house. She had brought to him a tocher of 20,000 merks, and Sir Alexander settled on her by deed on 22 September, 1720, and aliment of 150 lb sterling, payable from the lands and barony of Stobo. As the aliment was not paid she adjudged these lands from him in 1727, and obtained herself a Crown charter of adjudication thereof on 12th February, 1729, assigning her rights and claims to her father, and he on 12th September of that year was infeft therein. Two years later he adjudged from Sir Alexander not only the lands and barony of Stobo, but also those of Stanhope MURRAY, Over and Nether Menzion, Glenrath and others. (From A HISTORY OF PEEBLESSHIRE by James Walter Buchan, c1925-7 vol 3 pg 449.)

Grisell BAILLIE, the daughter of George BAILLIE of Jerviswood, was born 26 October 1692 at Rebraes.  When she announced her intention to marry Alexander MURRAY of Stanhope, her father was strongly opposed to the union.  After much tearful pleading by 'Grissie', he reluctantly gave his consent.  George BAILLIE certainly had good instincts as this marriage was a most unfortunate one. Not surprisingly, there are two sides to the story:

Alexander claimed that Grisell BAILLIE had a wandering eye.  Indeed, Grisell was the subject of a very unpleasant adventure with one of her Footmen, Arthur Grey, an episode on which the greatly daring and thoroughly unconventional great friend of Grisell, Lady Mary Worley MONTAGU, wrote a Ballad.

Grisell claimed that Mr. MURRAY, "under a pleasing exterior possessed a dark, moody, and ferocious temper amounting almost to insanity, which made him the helpless victim of the most groundless suspicions." Grisell's camp also claims that long after their divorce when Grisell "was having her portrait painted in London, a gentleman, who afterwards was discovered to be Alexander MURRAY of Stanhope, came frequently to the artist's studio, where he would stand for an hour with his arms folded gazing at her likeness." (From the HOUSEHOLD BOOK OF LADY GRISELL BAILLIE, by the Scottish History Society, 1911).

Grissel BAILLIE is the "sweet-tongued Murray" in John Gay's poem - "Mr. Pope's Welcome to Greece." She wrote a memoir of her mother, the heroic Lady Grizel Hume (1665-1746, daughter of the Covenanting Earl of Marchmont), who is still remembered as the author of the beautiful poem, "Were na my heart licht, I wad dee." (From A HISTORY OF PEEBLESSHIRE by James Walter Buchan, c1925-7 vol 3 pg 449.)

Sir Alexander MURRAY is given credit for discovering, in 1722, a substantial deposit of lead ore at what is the present location of the Strontian Mines. However, Keith W. MURRAY says in his MURRAY PEDIGREES pg 130, that Sir Alexander MURRAY "died a ruined man".

Sir Alexander MURRAY and Grissell BAILLIE had no children and after his death on 18 May 1743, he was succeeded by Sir David MURRAY, the son of Sir Alexander's brother, David MURRAY, Wine Merchant in Leith.  Grissell Baillie MURRAY died on 06 June 1759.