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Murray of Halmyre

Sour John of the Spiceries

John MURRAY of Halmyre

Halmyre House
Halmyre House

John MURRAY, son of John MURRAY and Margaret TWEEDIE, went to London as a young man and returned to Edinburgh where he married Jonet (Janet) HOWIESON in about 1592.

John "went to London, pushed his way in trade, and became a rich merchant; his dealing probably being in East India goods, for he was ordinarily known as 'Sour John of the Spiceries.' We can fancy that, throughout his long ascetic plodding in some obscure alley in the City, Sour John had a wild lurking dream of returning to the neighbourhood of Romanno, and ending his career as the envied great man of the parish.

If his ambition did not go this length, he certainly entertained some expectation of being buried in grand style in the churchyard of Newlands (see below left).  Returning to Scotland, he appears to have occupied himself in constructing a mausoleum to receive his remains, bearing an inscription in Latin and Greek, to the following effect: 'This stoney fabric is erected as a memorial, in gratitude here, because I am purified by the holy fount.'

Newlands Cemetery Mausoleum
Newlands Cemetery Mausoleum

Sour John of the Spiceries died 08 August 1625 at Halmyre and was laid to decay in state, in the aisle which he had prepared for his reception (see remaining smaller gable in the center of the photo at left); but every vestige of posthumous finery is long since gone, and nothing left to distinguish the spot from the graves of parishioners respecting whom the Baronage is silent." (From HISTORY OF PEEBLESSHIRE, By William CHAMBERS @1864, pg 482.)  (Please click on photos for larger view)

Children of John MURRAY and Janet HOWIESON:

i.  Sir David MURRAY, (Lands acquired: Stanhope, Broughton).

ii.  Gideon MURRAY, baptized about 30 Jan 1613 in Edinburgh. "Gideon Murray retoured heir of his immediate younger brother, William, 1 March 1644.  This Gideon Murray went to Ireland in 1648, and was the father of the celebrated Defender of Londonderry." (From: LANDED GENTRY OF GREAT BRITON AND IRELAND, by J. Burke, 1855, pg 838)

iii.  James MURRAY, baptized 14 May 1614;  died young.

iv.  Elizabeth MURRAY, baptized in Sep 1615.

v.  Anna MURRAY, baptized 11 Jan 1618 in Edinburgh.

vi.  William MURRAY, baptized 27 Oct 1618 in Edinburgh;  died about 1644.

vii.  Bessie MURRAY, baptized 07 Mar 1619 in Edinburgh.

viii.  Adam MURRAY, baptized 23 Apr 1620 in Edinburgh;  Progenitor of the MURRAYs of Cardon.  Adam died about 1669.

ix.  Janet MURRAY who married Simon JOHNSTOUN, of Ambrose and Powdean on 23 Feb 1643.

x.  Margaret MURRAY, ancestress of the families of Cringletie and Murrayfield;  died about 1671.