MURRAY, JAMES [SSNE 1046]

Surname
MURRAY, MORI, MORY, MUREY, MORAVIUS, MURREY
First name
JAMES, JACUP, JAKOB, JACOB
Title/rank
SIR
Nationality
SCOT
Social status
GENTRY

Text source

In 1601, James Murray was appointed as a courtier to Sigismund III of Poland with a salary of 420 Zloty (although one source only notes his entry into Polish service from 1603). In 1609 he became a Stuart envoy returning to Poland on official business. He wrote a letter in 1609 in which he detailed his visit to Christian IV  of Denmark-Norwayand his intention to continue on to Moscow. Murray apparently only got as far as Vilnius (Lithuania) before leaving his documents with fellow Scot, Dr William Bruce [SSNE 4384]. In 1620 Sigismund appointed Murray as his senior naval architect. His first ship, launched in 1622, was a two masted pink which carried some 14 guns. Three years later, Murray received instructions to build another 10 ships of up to 400 tons. Murray's ships were succesfully employed in the naval battle against the Swedes at Oliva in 1627, although Murray himself refused to take part since he was passed over for the position of admiral. Murray thereafter is listed as a captain in the military service of the Polish king. He served on until the relief of the fortress of Smolensk during which he had command of two troops of soldiers. His command skills were appreciated and he was made Mayor of Puck. In October 1633, Murray was appointed colonel of 200 dragoons (to be recruited in Lithuania) and was also requested to raise a further regiment of 800 foreign men. The Russians capitulated before the regiment was formed. 

 

Sources: The National Archives, SP75/4, f.141. Sir James Murray to the Lord High Treasurer, 15 August 1609; T. Fischer, The Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia (Edinburgh, 1903); Sveriges Krig 1611-1632, Band I, (Stockholm, 1937), p.56; A. Bieganska 'James Murray. A Scot in the Making of the Polish Navy' in Scottish Slavonic Review, III, 1984, pp.1-9; A.F. Steuart, Papers Relating to the Scots in Poland 1576-1793, (Edinburgh, 1915), pp.10-11; Castr.Crac, t.58, f.249;R. Frost, "Scottish soldiers, Poland-Lithuania and the Thirty Years' War" in S. Murdoch ed. Scotland and the Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648 (Brill, 2001), p.209.

According to the chronicler Cosmus von Simmern from Kolberg [Kolobrzeg; Poland], Murray ran the Swedish blockade of Kolberg on Withtuesday (the day after Whit-Monday) 1627 with five warships which he then took to Danzig. We thank Dr Bernd Warlich for providing this information, drawn from HANNCKE, Rudolf, 'Cosmus von Simmerns Bericht ├╝ber die von ihm miterlebten Geschichtsereignisse zur Zeit des Wallensteinischen und Schwedischen Kriegsvolkes in Pommern (Aus der Beschreibung der Stadt Colberg)' in Baltische Studien 40, (1890), pp. 17-67, specifically p. 22.

Service record

STUART KINGDOMS, POLAND
Arrived 1609-01-01, as ENVOY
Departed 1609-12-31, as ENVOY
Capacity ENVOY, purpose DIPLOMACY
STUART KINGDOMS, COPENHAGEN
Arrived 1609-06-01
Departed 1609-08-31
Capacity ENVOY, purpose DIPLOMACY
STUART KINGDOMS, RUSSIA [MOSCOW]?
Arrived 1609-09-01
Departed 1609-12-31
Capacity ENVOY, purpose DIPLOMACY
POLAND, DANZIG
Arrived 1620-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1627-11-28, as CAPTAIN
Capacity CAPTAIN, SHIPBUILDER, purpose NAVAL
POLAND, POLISH ARMY
Arrived 1627-11-30, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1634-12-31, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY