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Murray Clan Septs, Badges, Tartans, etc.

Clan Septs (family names associated with the Murray Clan): Balneaves, Dinsmore, Dunsmore, Fleming, Moray, Murrie, Neaves, Piper, Pyper, Smail, Smale, Small, Smeal, and Spalding (this list is shorter than the one previously shown here, but is in line with the list used by the home society in Scotland). I recently found a good explanation of what a clan sept is from the Scots in Nova Scotia web page (see the link page): "Clan Septs and Dependents comprise those who were descended from the Chief through the female line and consequently bore a different surname; and those who sought and obtained the protection of the Clan and became dependents."

Badges: Gaig-bhealaidh (Butchers Broom) and Aitionn (Juniper)

Patron Saint: Saint Laisren (McLaise)

Feast Day: 17th of August

Chief to the Murrays: His Grace, the Duke of Atholl

Patroness/Patrons: Patroness is Anne, Countess of Dunmore and the Patrons are The Lord Elibank, The Earl of Dunmore, The Earl of Mansfield, Hon. Peregrine Moncreiffe of Moncreiffe

Tartans: There are a number of Murray tartans, but only two are generally available today. These can be worn by any member of the clan. They are Murray of Atholl (green tartan, shown to the left) and Murray of Tullibardine (red tartan, shown to the right). Note that these are only samples. There are a wide number of varieties and variations, including weathered, ancient dyes, modern dyes, etc.

For information on National Tartan Day, April 6th, click here.

Clan Crest badges: There are three badges as follows (see also history below): The medieval peacock's head crest (motto - Praite) [left crest below], the mermaid (motto - Tout Pret) [center crest below] and the demi-savage holding a sword and a key (motto - Furth, Fortune, and Fill the Fetters, meaning roughly go forth against your enemies, have good fortune, and return with hostages and booty). The one that is found in most books is the mermaid. The demi-savage was favored by the late Duke, and we use that badge because the Duke was our chief [two renditions appear at the top of the main page, and at the right below].



Clans & Tartans




" Furth fortune and fill the fetters "

- Septs -

Balneaves, Dinsmore, Dunsmore, Fleming, MacMurray, Moray, Murrie, Neaves, Piper, Pyper, Smail, Smale, Small, Smeal,  Spalding

The Murrays trace their heritage back to the twelfth century and take their name from the great province of Moray, once a local kingdom. It was during this time that the Flemish lords crossed the North Sea and established themselves in the Scottish realm. Among them was Freskin, son of Ollec. Either Freskin or his son William intermarried with the ancient royal house of Moray. The senior line of the Murrays took the surname of Sutherland and became Earls of Sutherland by 1235.

Thereafter the chiefs of the Murrays were the Lords of Petty in Moray who also became Lords of Bothwell in Clydesdale before 1253. An heir of this line, Sir Andrew Murray was the brilliant young general who led the Scots in 1297 in their first uprising against the English conquerors. He was mortally wounded while winning his famous victory at Stirling Bridge. His son, Sir Andrew Murray, 4th Lord of Bothwell, third Regent of Scotland married Christian Bruce, a sister of King Robert the Bruce. He was captured at Roxburgh early in 1333 and was a prisoner in England at the time of the battle of Halidon Hill. He obtained his freedom in time to march to the relief of his wife, who was bravely defending Kildrummy Castle. Sir Andrew commenced with unabated spirit to struggle in the cause of independence and died in 1338. The last Murray Lord of Bothwell died in 1360 of the plague.

The chiefship of the Murrays fell into doubt amongst the various scattered branches of the name--from Sutherland and Murray itself, through Perthshire and Stirlingshire to Annandale and the Borders. By the sixteenth century, the Murrays of Tullibardine in Strathearn  had assumed the leadership of the Murrays. This was formally confirmed by Bands of Association in 1586 and 1589. Lairds from all over Scotland recognized the supremacy of the line of Sir John Murray.


Clan Murray

Gaelic Name:
Origin of Name:
Furth fortune and fill the fetters
Butchers Broom
Placename, Morashire

The Murray family is descended from Freskin, who is thought to be a Flemish knight who flourished in the 12th century.  Granted lands in West Lothian by David I, he and his sons intermarried with the house of Moray to consolidate their power. 


Clan Murray of Atholl

Gaelic Name:
Origin of Name:
Pipe Music:
Furth fortune and fill the fetters
Butchers Broom
Placename, Morashire
Atholl Highlander

The first Earl of Atholl was created in 1629, and in 1703 the Murrays reached the pinnacle of the peerage when they were created Dukes of Atholl.  The younger son of the 1st Duke of Atholl was the renowned Jacobite general, Lord George Murray. 

The full text for Clan Murray of Atholl is available on The Clans & Tartans of Scotland CD Rom. Click here for more information