NS3477 : The Murray Family Memorial

taken 9 years ago, near to Cardross, Argyll And Bute, Great Britain

The Murray Family Memorial
The Murray Family Memorial
The stone, in the churchyard of NS3477 : Cardross Old Parish Church, commemorates Dr David Murray of Moore Park, Cardross (15th April 1842 - 3rd October 1928); his wife Frances Porter Stoddard (b. 23rd Feb 1843 at New York, d. 3rd April 1919); their son Anthony Stoddard Murray, 2nd Lieut A&SH (b. 16th March 1880, d. of wounds 22nd March 1918, and buried at Bellicourt, France); their daughter Sylvia Winthrop Murray (19th August 1875 - 17th January 1955); and their daughter Eunice Guthrie Murray (21st January 1878 - 26th March 1960).

(Moore Park is a house, dating from 1864, and located at c.NS33357798. An adjoining villa was added to it in 1892.)

The book "Cardross: The Village in Days Gone By" (Arthur F Jones, 1985) comments that Dr David Murray was "probably the most learned man ever to have lived in Cardross. As well as being an acknowledged expert on many legal subjects within his own profession, particularly conveyancing, he was also a leading expert on archaeology, antiquities, and local history".

The next few paragraphs are based on pages 93-94 of Donald MacLeod's "Historic Families ... of the Lennox" (1891), with some additions and minor corrections.

David Murray was born in Glasgow on the 15th of April 1842. He was the son of the Glasgow writer (i.e., solicitor) David Murray, of the firms Murray & Galloway, and Murray & Smith. The younger David was educated at Kirkoswald (NS2407) in Ayrshire, and then at Ayr Academy and at Merchiston Castle School (then based at NT2471 : Merchiston Tower, but now located elsewhere: NT2169 : Merchiston Castle School).

He graduated M.A. from Glasgow University in 1863. The same university would later confer upon him the honorary degree of LL.D. (in 1888, according to a page on the university's own website; MacLeod has 1889).

After graduating M.A., Murray turned to law, at first working for his father's old firm. He served his apprenticeship, and became a partner in 1867 (the firm was by then called Smith, Wright & Johnston). In 1869, he and Mr George Smith (of the last-mentioned firm) formed the new company George Smith & Murray, which later (on the death of Mr Smith) became Maclay, Murray and Spens.

In 1872, he married Frances Stoddard, the eldest daughter of Arthur Francis Stoddard of Broadfield (c.NS3473), Port Glasgow. From then, the couple lived in Cardross.

David Murray's own collection of books ran into the tens of thousands, as will be described below.

He was also the author of many works. Of those, the one that I personally find most useful, and to which I have made reference in many of my items on this site, is his "Old Cardross: A Lecture" (1880). This book was based upon a lecture that he delivered in the Drill Hall in Geilston, Cardross. That building was destroyed by fire a few years later, but its successor, on the same site, is shown in NS3478 : Geilston Halls.

His other works are many and varied; for example: "A Glimpse of French School Life in the Sixteenth Century"; "The Black Book of Paisley: with a note on John de Burgundia, otherwise Sir John Mandeville, and the Plague"; "Bull of Pope Adrian VI granting a Pension from Provand"; and "A Note on some Glasgow and other Provincial Coins and Tokens".

Even from that small selection of his works, it is clear that, as MacLeod puts it, "their author is a man of culture and of large and varied knowledge, conjoined with great industry and deep research".

His account was written while David Murray was alive, and it can now be supplemented with later information.

Sylvia W Murray (listed in the inscription) was the author of "David Murray: A Bibliographical Memoir" (1933), a paper which she had read to the Glasgow Bibliographical Society in December of 1932. In that work, she says of her father that "his Library came eventually to contain over forty thousand volumes. ... My father's library was not a general library but a workshop reflecting his own tastes and interests. It was the quarry out of which he dug the material of his own writings".

Even after an addition was made to their Moore Park home (see the start of this item), finding a place for all of the books proved to be difficult.

Dr Murray purchased, as an antiquarian curiosity, a portion of the Watchmeal of Kilpatrick, an ancient tax that had originally been payable to the keepers of Dumbarton Castle (it was intended to be used in paying for defensive measures against wolves, a curious fact that gives some indication of just how ancient the tax was). In one of his last writings, Dr Murray bequeathed his part of the Watchmeal fund (along with some of his writings that were of local interest) to Dumbarton Public Library. The books and papers presented by him formed the basis of the library's Watchmeal Collection, which exists to this day; the collection was to be supplemented using the modest income from the Watchmeal fund.

[Incidentally, a discussion of this ancient tax can be found in John Mitchell's article "The Watchmeal of Kilpatrick: A Wolf's Tale with a Difference", in issue 80 (February 2011) of the journal "Scottish Local History".]

- - - -

Dr Murray's daughter Eunice G Murray was also noteworthy. She too was a learned author, and one of her works was "The Church of Cardross and its Ministers" (1935).

Eunice, who had been educated at St Leonard's School, St Andrews, became a suffragist and political activist. With her mother and her sister Sylvia, she joined the Women's Freedom League; Eunice soon came to occupy a pre-eminent position in the organisation in Scotland. (As an aside: her father, who had helped found the Glasgow Ladies Higher Education Association, was fully supportive of his wife and daughters in these activities.)
Cardross Old Parish Church

The first church on this site was erected in 1643-44; it replaced St Serf's Church Link as parish church of Cardross. It, in turn, was replaced by Cardross Old Parish Church (1826-27; architect James Dempster); see LinkExternal link (at Canmore) for details. It was damaged by WWII bombing (1941), and is no longer in ecclesiastical use. The present-day parish church is the nearby former Free Church (NS34467754) on Station Road.

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NS3477, 156 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Friday, 18 January, 2013   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 5 February, 2013
Geographical Context
Burial ground, Crematorium 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3495 7731 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:57.6216N 4:38.7325W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3495 7731
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Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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