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Updated 05/08/2020


The Earl of Dunmore

Earl of Dunmore is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. The title was created in 1686 for Lord Charles Murray, second son of John Murray, 1st Marquess of Atholl. He was made Lord Murray of Blair, Moulin and Tillimet (or Tullimet) and Viscount of Fincastle at the same time, also in the Peerage of Scotland. He was succeeded by his son, the second Earl. He was a General in the Army and sat in the House of Lords as a Scottish Representative Peer from 1713 to 1715 and from 1727 to 1752. His younger brother, William Murray, later to become the third Earl, was involved in the Jacobite rising of 1745 and was tried for high treason in 1746. Murray pleaded guilty but received a pardon from King George II and succeeded to the peerages when his brother died unmarried six years later.

The third Earl was succeeded by his son, the fourth Earl. He was also a Scottish Representative Peer in the House of Lords from 1761 to 1774 and from 1776 to 1790 and served as Governor of New York, of Virginia and of the Bahamas. His eldest son, the fifth Earl, briefly represented Liskeard in the House of Commons. In 1831 he was created Baron Dunmore, of Dunmore in the Forest of Athole in the County of Perth, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, which gave him and his descendants a permanent seat in the House of Lords.

George Murray, 5th Earl of Dunmore, bought the Estate of Harris from Alexander Norman Macleod for 60,000 in 1834. In 1839, the people of South Harris were ejected from their homes by armed soldiers and a posse of Glasgow policemen acting on orders from the government, at the behest of the Earl of Dunmore. The 6th Earl of Dunmore, Alexander Edward Murray, had inherited Harris upon the death of his father on 11 November 1836 and would in turn be succeeded by his son, Charles Adolphus, following the 6th Earl's death on 14 July 1845. Thus the 6th Earl was about halfway through his proprietorship of the island when he was providing a pound per person for those electing to leave.

The seventh Earl of Dunmore served as a Lord-in-waiting (government whip in the House of Lords) in the second Conservative administration of Benjamin Disraeli and was also Lord Lieutenant of Stirlingshire. The 7th Earl relinquished ownership of the North Harris Estate to his bankers, in particular the Scott family. He was succeeded by his son, the eighth Earl. He was a soldier and was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1897. Lord Dunmore later held political office as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (government chief whip in the House of Lords). On the death in 1980 of his grandson, the ninth Earl, the line of the fifth Earl failed and the barony of Dunmore became extinct.

The late Earl was succeeded by his distant relative (his fourth cousin once removed), the tenth Earl. He was the great-great-grandson of the Hon. Alexander Murray, second son on the fourth Earl, and lived in Tasmania, Australia. As of 2017 the titles are held by his nephew, the twelfth Earl, who succeeded his father in 1995. He also lives in Tasmania, Australia and is a well-respected Freemason.

As a male-line descendant of the first Marquess of Atholl he is also in remainder to this peerage and its subsidiary titles and by special remainder to the Dukedom, which are now held by his kinsman Bruce Murray, 12th Duke of Atholl.

The family seat was Amhuinnsuidhe Castle, on the Isle of Harris and Dunmore Tower, near Airth, Falkirk