Murray was raised as a Whig, but three of his older half-brothers were known Jacobites. William Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine and Lord George Murray both played major parts in the 1745 uprising. As a result John Murray relied considerably on his elder half-brother James for his early advancements and political career. James, 2nd Duke of Atholl had replaced his Jacobite bother William as the heir to the family estates, succeeding to the title in 1724.
In September 1758 John Murray married heiress Mary Dalton (d. 1765) of Banner Cross, Yorkshire, the daughter of Sheffield merchant Richard Dalton. The couple had one daughter, Mary, who was born in October 1759.
Murray had a significant army career, beginning in 1727 when he was commissioned as an Ensign in the 3rd Foot Guards. In 1743 he served as aide-de-camp to George II in Germany and in April 1745 he was appointed Colonel of the 43rd Highlanders, (later known as the 42nd Royal Highlanders, or the Black Watch). Murray was devoted to the regiment and the welfare of its soldiers. Chichester notes one particular incident following the attack on Ticonderoga in July 1758, in which many of his men were injured. Murray personally pleaded the claims for the soldiers affected and successfully secured a pension for each of them. He subsequently offered every man individual cottages on his estate, rent free. In 1755 Murray was promoted to Major General and he was eventually made General in 1770.
Murray also enjoyed a political career as MP for Perthshire from 1734 to 1761. The seat was secured for him by his older brother James who held a substantial interest in the constituency. Murray supported Walpole’s government until the Prime Minister’s fall in 1742. After this he gave his support to the Pelham and Newcastle administrations. Murray was not particularly popular with his constituents in Perthshire as he was seen to be neglectful of their interests. In 1773 following the collapse of his political career Murray retired to his estate Banner Cross, Yorkshire. Murray died in Paris 26 May 1787.
This castle-style scheme for Banner in Ecclesall is dated to 1782, nine years after Murray retired from politics and returned to his South Yorkshire estate. The estate of Banner Cross had formed part of Murray’s wife Mary’s inheritance. The scheme was possibly intended to replace an older manor house that stood on the site of the current Banner Cross Hall, which was built for General William Murray in 1817-21 by Sir Jeffry Wyatville. Bolton compared Adam’s castle-style scheme to designs produced for Barnbougle and Barnton.
King notes the particularly elaborate designs for a castle-style entrance, which he highlights as particularly fine examples of Adam’s work. King notes that the two variant designs were conceived simultaneously, with the preliminary drawings for both entrances presented on the same sheet (SM Adam volume 2/159). Adam’s designs for a new entrance convey an extraordinary degree of movement and King compares them to a scheme produced for a castle-style lodge for the Earl of Findlater.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 3, 81; D. King, The complete works of Robert and James Adam & unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, pp. 22, 138, 145, 161, 228, 237, 238, 239, 243, pls. 241-2; ‘The Dalton family of Banner Cross- BAG/5/4/1-66’, www.discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk; ‘Murray, Lord John (1711-87), of Pitnacree, Perth and Banner Cross, Yorks.’, www.historyofparliamentonline.org; H.M. Chichester and R.T Stearn, ‘Murray, Lord John (1711-1787)’, www.oxforddnb.com; ‘Banner Cross Hall’, www.historicengland.org.uk; ‘The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)’, www.nam.ac.uk (accessed February 2021)
Anna McAlaney, 2021
Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.
Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).
Contents of Banner Castle, Yorkshire, for Lord John Murray, designs for a castle and entrance lodge, c1782, unexecuted (7)
- Designs and a finished drawing for a castle, c1782, unexecuted (4)
- Preliminary design, alternative design and a finished drawing for an entrance lodge and gateway, c1782, unexecuted (3)