The Jacobite Rising of 1715 and the Murray Family: Brothers in Arms

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Based in Perthshire, the Murray family played an important role in all Jacobite rebellions, whether as rebels or supporters of the government. During the Great Rising of 1715, the head of the family the Duke of Atholl remained loyal to the Hanoverian government but three of his sons were Jacobites. Two of these brothers then went on to play major roles in the 1719 Rising and in the more famous '45. What led to their decision to commit to the Jacobite cause? A look at the earlier years of the Murrays at the end of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries sheds light on the family dynamics and helps explain how and why the brothers made the decisions they did. Traditionally the Murrays were thought to have perhaps made a conscious and pragmatic decision to have a foot in both camps, but the evidence presented here shows the brothers possessed a strong rebellious streak. Despite the heavily enforced regime of duty from their father and the Presbyterian piety of their mother, they refused to conform to their parents' wishes and in varying degrees chose of their own volition, a different path to that expected of them. Set against the backdrop of social unrest and anxiety over against English influence in Scotland, these choices had a significant impact on the history of the family and because of who that family was, a significant impact on the country.

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