History of Murison

I have read conflicting derivations of the MURISON surname. Below are some of the details that I have come across. Please contribute any information that you may have regarding this by adding comments.

MURISON is not a common Scottish surname and it is predominantly connected with Aberdeenshire. It is patronymic in origin. i.e. "son of Muris".
Muris is a variant of Maurice, a personal name introduced to Scotland by the Normans. The given name Maurice is derived from the Latin "Mauritius", a derivative of "Maurus" indicating "a moor" and Maurice was the name of several early saints, including a third century Swiss martyr. Variants of this surname includes Muirson, Murieson, Mureson and Murrison.
This surname appears in records from Scotland since 1448 when one Simon Muryson is recorded as a husbandman of the Grange of Abirbothry. In the same year, one Johannes Murysone is listed as a burgess of Kircaldy and Sir William Mureson, a cleric, was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1491. Cybke Murisone was a tenant of part of Kethik in 1504 and in 1528 Archibald Murson was a bailie for Arbroath Abbey in Banff. Records show that John Murescun was a follower of Campbell of Lundy in 1529 and William Muresoun was reidare (a reader or one in minor orders in the Scottish church after the reformation) at Crouden in the 1574. George Muirsoun of Ferne was a follower Walter Ross of Morange in 1596. According to the "officers and Graduates of Aberdeen" several Murisons graduated from the university since 1670. Notable bearers of this surname include Prof. Alexander Falconer Murison, and his son, Sir James William Murison, Judge of the British High Court, Zanzibar (both appear on family tree). George Muirson or Murison (died 1709) was a graduate of King's College, Aberdeen, who became a missionary for propagation of the gospel at Rye, New Hamptonshire, in the US.
Blazon of Arms: Argent, three Moors' head couped sable banded azure a border engrained gules.
Crest: Three Moors' heads conjoined on one neck
Motto: Mediocriter (With moderation)

MURRISON is also a variant of Murison.

In Reply to: MURISON ORIGINS AND FAMILY TREE posted by Paul Murison on January 16, 2001
Murison is not a common Scottish family name. It is commonly associated with Aberdeenshire.
It means 'son of Muris' a variation of the french maurice. Either from the Norman invasion of 1066 or the later Templar settling of the 1300's. The given name Maurice is derived from the latin mauritious, indicating a moor, possibly further evidence of the templar connection.Earliest record is 1448, in Scotland when one Simon Mwyrson was recorded as a husbandsman of Abirbothy. Latter descendants, Sir Willian Murison, a cleric
Many other churchmen
Sir James William Murison, Judge and later high comissioner of Zanzibar (appears on family tree)
American side may stem from Geo Murison Rye New Hampshire died 1709
Johannes Murysone is listed as the Burgess of Kirkaldy. and Archiebald as the was a bailie in Fife in 1529.

From Chris Duff, this is Iain Murison's notes gathered by his grand-father John Murison (1871-1944): Murison is a variant of Morison (one r ), the name given to the law-giver or judge under the Norse kings when the Western Isles formed part of the Norse kingdom. Home of the Morisons was Habost (Tabost?) on the northern tip of the Isle of Lewis, Morison of Habost (Tabost?) being the Chief. His crest is a hand grasping a sword hilt, blade pointing upwards. Motto (in Latin): Wind and Sea Favouring. Dress tartan red and a Hunting tartan green. Morison offshoots from original stem have crest three Saracen faces on one neck with Latin motto: Foresight is better than Riches. From these latter Morisons has sprung the Murison crest which also has three faces but with the Latin motto Mediocriter (The Middle Way).

Comments: 11 (Add)

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Johan Murison on March 11 2019, 14:22

Has any other Murison done their DNA as I did mine and got a interesting surprise.

James on December 20 2017, 01:27

Second Post on the Murison Treasures

We went to the old Cult farm which was just a pile of rubble in a field of corn and rolling hills heading up into the highlands, and a major walk began round Alyth. The sun had come out, the rain stopped and a beautiful day was opening up. I walked round the boggy field that looked like it had potatoes not far from a burn and a small dam. A little wood of yew trees. And the rubble of the first Murison house in Alyth about 1700. Rented by them. They would have been the poorest of farmers, just above serfs or farm workers. I felt some distant connection but it did not feel strong. There was a cottage at the front and further up a lane was a squat two storey stone house, not small and not large but sizable. Looking a bit like a hobbits abode with low ceilings. It had a pretty little garden at the back and no one was home. The sort of garden you would expect to find a homely gnome. Very English really. Neatly hedged and trimmed, flower beds of roses and petunias. Daisies perhaps as well. And all hedged in. It was all very neatly kept. This was Shanzie, the house Patrick’s father James lived in and acquired. I wasn’t sure if Pat had helped him buy it. Betty thought James’ grandson, Charles from her side of the family had bought it and that James had lived at the Cult. But I knew he had died here and if so Charles would have been too young to buy it. Anyway she too was annoyed at the Thomsons. Because her great uncle had married one, they hadn’t any children and they inherited the Shanzie and it was all given to her side of the family as he died before her leaving his money to her. Ironically what the Thomsons had prevented occurring with my family of Murison by use of trusts, had exactly happened to Betty’s side marrying into this Thomson family. They were damned crafty and underhand people. No wonder it had been hell in Dundee trying to track them down.
Anyway that was all history. The house had been sold like the jute mill and was now owned by no connection to the family. In a new cottage nearby and had been part of the estate we met an Irish doctor who was heading to Darwin to practice and I warned him about the heat. Soon we were famished and heading to the golf course with a lovely view from the restaurant of the course through large glass windows, but they had stopped serving. So we moved onto another golf club and got a basic meal in a fake Tudor café. The people were surprisingly friendly and again I got a very Australian feel as if I knew them all. Had come home in a way. The women were tough, hard looking and no nonsense types. Hard workers and hard players on the golf course and had a good laugh about the town gossip. They all were elderly. A young man behind the bar reminded me exactly of my father as a youth. The same face. Very charming and almost effeminate. A soft lilt to it, almost Spanish or Irish. Slightly dark with what can only be described as love. Not quite Mona Lisa. But that little smirk that pleasantly says they know. And a kind of melancholy. That isn’t bad.
She took me in the afternoon along some narrow backroads past hedges to Arbigoraht Grange near Coupar Angus as the abbey had a record of the first Murysone coming from there in 1400s. A husbandman or tenant farmer on the grange. It wasn’t far away and it turned out that the place was now owned by a kind of laird who had 2,000 acres and a small manor. Betty was afraid to go in but not myself. He turned out very friendly and showed us round. I took photos. And he gave me a link to a tale about King Arthur actually coming from here. The place appeared Georgian though they had been there since 1870s. Before that it had been owned by various lairds, then before the reformation the Cupar Abbey who Murysone had rented it off. He told me it would have been just a bog back then; poor land. I came from humble origins it seemed. I saw the face of a yokel peasant centuries ago, a rough farm worker tilling the fields for pennies, scraping to make a living in a small croft, with his wife and kids, yet smiling and happy. The image faded.
We got lost on the way back down the narrow lanes with hedges and stone walls. Until we passed Danny’s wife in the drive leaving their new characterless pebble dash house full of old cars and slightly untidy near the road, further up was a small tin portable cabin and an old brick shed in front of the main farm house. He was in bed sick. It was getting to that endless summer dusk time or twilight. The house was two storey, sheltered at the base of a bare and bleak with sheep and a few trees, pines to the side, a large hill, the prominent Alyth Hill, a mile or two from the village and I hardly remembered it. It had been renovated a bit from the rough condition I had seen it in in 1990 with my father and had met her old mother and looked now it looked quite nice. Bigger than I had thought, but a similar Hobbit feel as the village. McRitch Farm. John now owned it and was paying everyone off including Betty who got free rent there. She seemed to think she was getting a bad deal as she had wanted the house. I knew John had talked to me about returning there once Betty had died. It was a waiting game. She got me tea and some cheap sweets, kit kats and such. We sat in a warm greenhouse alcove with chairs and glass, quite small. Low ceilings again. It was hard to judge the age of the house. She apologised that friends from her nursing days were coming to visit tomorrow so I could not stay, but offered to have me there later in my trip. Mistimings continued. It turned out my father had stayed here a few times and had been shocked when she asked him if he wanted to put his washing in with hers. I could just imagine. I told him he was a bit of a pompous snob. She had gathered that. Then related how she went to a lot of trouble locating a croft for him on the highland moor glens at his request and he never responded when she got it. Obviously it wasn’t good enough. I told her he was constantly sending me on errands when I was in Britain for him, complaining and showing little gratitude when it was done. We had a good laugh.
She showed me Pat’s father’s will, James, and it was a long tortuous will written in incomprehensible handwriting in old Scot’s English. All to give away about 100 pounds as it appeared he didn’t own any land. Pat got five pounds which must have made a difference to him. I gave up trying to read it. A distant Murison relative from New Zealand had turned up with it on her door step. And she couldn’t find the family tree he had brought. There was something in all of us that needs to know where we came from. They didn’t care because they were already there. I asked her about the other towns and places listed of where the name originated from. She knew most of them. I wanted to go to all of them.
I began talking to her about my spiritual experiences and she looked disconcerted. I said I was convinced there was something out there. She smiled as if to say no. Then admitted she wasn’t sure herself but doubted it. I told her that it wasn’t Christianity but that was part of the truth. An important part. I wanted her to come to Arbroath Abbey but she said it was too far and she couldn’t drive because of her hip, not that far. It was about 20 miles away. I hugged her goodbye. She had fond memories of my father. At 10 pm I caught the bus back arriving at 11 and was soon asleep feeling strangely reassured, that a home was there even if no house for me.
Enough of our long lost half cousins who remained in the hilly bog of Alyth.

Back in the 1800s James married again a smart pretty woman, Cecilia Fyffe who died in 1869 and had a cousin who was an orphan, Belle Fyffe, who ran a little shop in or near Alyth. Their son born on the 13th August 1816 just after the battle of Waterloo, Peter, nicknamed Patrick Murison got ‘airs’ of self-importance and walked off to Dundee to get educated and make his fortune, and he did by becoming a clerk in a jute firm in the 1830s. This was a vicious cruel industry supplying bags made of jute from India, that severely exploited its poor Scots workers who lived in the some of the worst slums in Britain and were used as fodder in the new steam engine run mills. He joined a jute firm Taylor as a clerk when the jute import and huge mill business was just beginning in the 1830s. Hemp from India was also being used but not significantly in Dundee it seems. Jute with the use of whale oil made it malleable enough to create coarse fibre products like sacks. Flax from Russia was getting expensive and jute came cheaply from India. More than this the removal of a bounty tax on the products by the British caused a boom in the industry. This was combined with the development of a mass production industry using power looms from steam engines, which meant cheaper and more products not requiring skilled labour.

In 2014 I visited Dundee to find out where I came from. Land of my forefathers, Patrick and William the jute brokers and most of all James. The huge long bridges over the Tay’s estuary greeted me along with the deserted docks and row upon row of developed factory buildings and old mills, Victorian tenements and modern concrete. It was a quick walk to the centre and a medieval 17th century house where the backpackers was. A Spaniard checked me in to a cheap single room with en suite for 25 pounds. The room was relatively large with period Victorian furniture, a little medieval alcove you slept in, in a nook, a writing desk, lounge chair, etc and a bit of a view of the back of the tenements to a church. Nicely decorated rooms included library, dining room, tv room, games room, kitchen and more. It was great for a backpackers. I headed to the square and took photos in the twilight at 11 pm of the neoclassical cityscape. Dundee had a rough working class feel to it. But a feeling of opportunity still. I headed out to a museum of Dundee in a neo Classical Victorian building that had been done up. I was taken through the flora and fauna, from times of the dinosaur to caveman and the Neolithic hunters who lived on the Law, a hill overlooking the city, where druids and so forth along with warriors lived. Romans may have briefly taken it after sailing up the Tay. Then the Picts were ousted by the Celtic Scots, who were partly ousted by Angles and Vikings. With the Normans finally coming in the form of the English. Dundee prospered as a trading port with the Hanseatic league in the Baltic. It got flax from Russia and wove fine products. So from medieval times weaving developed, along with fishing and then whaling. In the 1640s it was decimated by Cromwellian forces of the English having sided with Charles II. And so set the scene for the jute barons. Due to problems with the flax trade due to Russia in the early 1800s jute began to be developed as a weaving fibre for bags that were already being milled there with the first steam engines. Power looms combined with the jute boom bought a boom to the city. The museum explained the geology, that to the north of here was the Icelandic plate that moved in opposite direction to the European plate, so it was a fault line, but very stable one. That created the lochs. But to the north the landscape was different, fiords and sharp mountains. I was keen to explore. The glens in the highlands had been much more populated but the Clearance for sheep in the 1830s had decimated them. The tenant farmers kicked out and the formation of crofts began to farm on public land as the lairds booted them off for more money in sheep. These people added to the lowlanders coming for work due to the agricultural revolution requiring less labour and lowering prices. About that time in 1843 the Free Scots church was formed after a mass of ministers walked out of the Presbytarian Church when their congregation demanded elections for ministers and were refused by the church whose local lairds appointed the minister. Riots ensued and a mass of new churches were built in the Disruption. The Scot’s were fiercely democratic. They wanted their say. And so formed the Free Church of Scotland. These people began to demand their rights supported by their new church and the beginnings of a union movement, but it was a long slow process starting in the country before it got hold in the cities and industry. The Murisons weren’t known for their religiosity. But Patrick appears to have slowly developed a faith in the Scottish Episcopalian church, basically the Anglicans. There was a family bible that his son William had that was well cherished and passed down to my father. This was the old church that opposed the Presbyterian and certainly the radical Free Scots. It supported the status quo and the establishment of England. And the Jute Barons.
Population grew to work in the huge mills and fortunes were made from the product. Including in my family. But it was decidedly one sided. The working class Scots were totally exploited by the jute barons who owned the mills. They paid them as little as they could, they lived in disgusting slums often ten to a single room. The barons didn’t provide housing and didn’t care. Disease was a serious problem in the city. Finally to pay low wages they employed mostly women and children, and the poor men were often unemployed and known as kettle warmers as they looked after the home while their wives worked. This created an unusual situation in the city. It attracted cheap labour unskilled, often very rough people and women outnumbered me three to one in the city. The women as a result of working were tough and boisterous. Often drunken, loud, promiscuous and trouble makers. The Dundee lass got a reputation in Scotland for speaking her mind. They would sing in the mills and due to poor working conditions they were often injured. One in thirteen each year. Mill fever from the dust caused TB and deafness resulted from the machinery. This resulted in a strong union movement in the city and a strong communist party. At one stage a mill was even bought up as a workers cooperative. Suffragettes were very aggressive here and burnt down, bombed and put chemicals in post boxes to make their point in the 1920s.
It was a city of extremes – millionaires and slum workers.

With a heavy feeling of depression I made my way to the Jute Museum, which was on the outskirts of the city centre. It was located in an old mill, a small one that had been bought by Thomson for scrap jute products. They had done the set up quite well. A short film, then a stuffed dummy show of how the clerk’s office worked. And it must have been very much like my ancestors worked in. The clerks had to stand up and work. Just like my ancestors would stand up for breakfast. No slouching, always on the move for a buck. Then I was taken back to India… yes good old India once again it came up as a theme in my life. They had made their money on the backs of India. The jute was grown in the Bengal region of India, in the massive swamp lands, then sent to Dundee for processing. A tall thin reed growing 3 meters high in swamps. The bark was stripped off after soaking it in water. Then it was crushed and packed for transport to Scotland. The jute bales were then unloaded in Dundee and the mills then threaded it through about ten processes into sacks and rope.
I had spent 5 hours there and left at closing. I felt knowledge, but still drained and depressed. I had a better idea of what my ancestors had worked for. I had an idea how they lived. And their workers. I past mills all converted into housing or offices and made my way up past a park to the Law. The great hill used by the Iron Age tribes protecting the area. It was a steep climb with excellent view of the Tay across to St Andrews. I took many photos. The bridges looked impressive. The city was a mass of converted mills, modern blocks particularly ugly and bits of old Victorian grandeur and medieval stone houses. A boot camp exercised. The sun was shining.

Patrick married Jane Taylor on 6 March 1844, his boss James Taylor (wife Mary Smith) who my father had said was the jute manufacturer’s daughter. However, in Dundee Library archives street directory of 1845 the only James Taylor fitting was a company that were machine makers and flax spinners on Lindsay Street and there was no home address for Dundee. In the city archives I discovered from comparing digital computer maps and looking at the Watson’s book on jute that a J. Taylor had the Lindsay Street Mill there which was destroyed by fire in 1873 and rebuilt with French Gothic tower and gable rose windows some of which may remain. This James Taylor is first recorded in 1824, though a Taylor and Carmichael machine makers is noted in 1809 on Perth Road and Carmichael went on to make a fortune as an inventor and machine maker. James Watt’s son even came here to make steam engines. The only other James Taylor in 1845 was a pub owner on Perth Road. This again causes confusion as Pat is recorded as working at 10 Trades Lane not at Lindsay Street in 1845. Though it could have been the jute broking business of Taylor’s company was near the exchange. Jute may have not yet taken over the flax trade. I could find nothing on the Taylors at

It was clear Patrick had high visions for himself and was climbing his way up the business world of jute, a far cry from the bog farm at the Cult in Alyth. Becoming a jute merchant and commission agent - within a year of his marriage he was no longer a clerk. Their son seemed to come about the same date as the wedding, James who was born in 1844, suggesting perhaps some shenanigans with the boss’s daughter and it may have been a rushed wedding. Before 1845 there is no record of Patrick Murison in the street directory suggesting he rented a place. They lived in 3 West Dock Street between 1845-54, a modest house by the port from the drawings of the streets in 1850 and was totally demolished in the 1960s filling in the dock, which in 2014 was being redeveloped and is all rubble next to the Discovery of Scott of the Antarctic. William was born 28th November 1846 – my great, great grandfather – and when young Willy was only 7, his father began moving up in the world as a successful merchant and jute commission agent working at 12 Trades Lane and 2 Baines Square in the 1850 and 1854 Dundee street directory. The latter is now demolished and part of the Wellgate Centre. During the boom times of the Crimean War against the Russians they then moved homes to a larger abode at 38 Constitution Rd from 1854-62 (in the higher park area below the Law, the steep hill lookout over Dundee, now demolished with a nasty 1960s university building out of place with the environment, however as the street numbers have clearly changed since then and were never recorded on the old maps it is hard to locate, the left side going up was mostly park land so it may have been on the right side) which may have been a reasonable house judging by those on the opposite side of the street, I made my way down a garden path, then a lane to Constitution Road, but the house was gone at 38. An ugly university tower was there. Patrick had owned the house when he became a commission agent then went into partnership with Taylor his wife’s boss. At last when he was 40 he was made a partner in Taylor and Murison from 1856-59. With the slump after the Crimean War ended and then the pick up shortly after with the Indian Mutiny, it was probably a little tough in the jute industry then and the jute supply may have been disrupted from India. I assume this was the broking part of his father in law’s business, who seems to have been a mill owner and is recorded as being joint owners of New West North Tay Street Mill and North Tay Street Mill or Temple Mill in Marketgait which has been demolished and now called Marketgate with Argyle House. Back in Pat’s day the New West had two fairly large blocks built in 1821 and little changed after 1839 and probably used to build machinery for Duff and Taylor; it didn’t sound that impressive possibly a bit old even then. The North Tay was a narrow mill even older dating to 1798 with 480 spindles and 16 frames that was little altered after 1851. However as the jute trade picked up with the start of the American Civil War it appears he left Taylor after perhaps a falling out and within two years started his own company, Patrick Murison and Co. as commission agents at 6 Cowgate in the street directory of 1861-62, which is recorded in The Jute and Flax Mills in Dundee by Mark Watson, Hutton Press 1990. It also gives details on the Lindsay Street Mill of Taylor and Seafields of Thomson. I returned to the hostel checking out all the jute brokerages that they worked at. Had some dinner and then went out again in the evening to look at the jute mills Taylor owned round Tay and Lindsay streets. But I needed the maps of the mills to understand where they were located. Bits of old mills were now converted into shopping and flats. I had a strange feeling about Dundee that it was about poverty and accepting the working class. There were many drunks about still. Beggars outside the supermarkets and so on

Times had been tough in 1861 when jute had slumped after Crimean war boom, many mills had over invested to keep up production only to find no market when the war ended and large debts to repay for their expansion and some went bust. Even a rival, the Thomson’s factory briefly closed. Only opening when Shepherd and Briggs of Yorkshire backed it up. The American Civil war had saved it. Times may have got tough for Pat during the close of the American Civil War as the jute industry suffered with Britain supporting the losing Confederates, as in 1864 the directory puts him down as a clerk on his own as his first wife may have died about then and he ended up with his two sons at age 48 in a smallish though attractive townhouse built in the 1840s and where I met the London doctor, wedged in among many adjoining such houses at 6 Windsor Place between 1864-68 and right next to Seafield Thomson’s mill, a rival no doubt of Taylor. The boom in jute was at its peak with the Crimean War and then American Civil War, but with that ending the industry began to slump as jute mills opened up in India undercutting Dundee and due to the Empire there were no trade tariffs blocking the Indians. In 1867 to 1870 he is put down as a merchant working at 6 Cowgate by the directory and in tough times, he may have started to work for the Thomson mill and ambitious as he was picked up his life. He then moved to a fairly grand place at Fort House with a large garden next to a row of jute baron houses at 366 Perth Rd (now 434 Perth Rd) from 1869-72, it appeared to still exist there in the 1890s and right up till today, so a step up in grandeur. His son James is mentioned in the directory as living there, but not William. The house was owned by the Thoms, property developers, corrupt and in the council according to the current owner when I went to the house and met Anne who knew the house history. She was suspicious of me at first, her place cluttered with furniture and cats on the veranda, she wasn’t eager to let me in. She doubted at first Pat lived there as it had just been built then and only she thought had one storey. It now had four storeys with grand views of the Tay. The directory stated that James Thomson, a property developer also lived there then. So it appeared the house was shared. It was so large that five flats existed in it in 2014. It is likely that through James, Pat met his next wife, so forming another business alliance in jute. A large rather ugly Victorian house with no ostentations, four stories high and done up nicely by the current owners who were five people. It had been subdivided. But it wasn’t owned by Patrick in 1869, but a William Thoms, a lawyer and property developer. Anne, the old lady from England who had been a chemist, thought my ancestor must have lived in a cottage there or the coachshed. She would have none of believing they could have lived there. But I showed her the record which in the directory did not include Thoms. She said sometimes they didn’t want to be recorded especially as this character’s family was involved in council corruption. She had a twisted old body but showed me round the manor in the end. And I saw two other flats as well, shown round one that was ultra modern with a spectacular view of glass windows on the top floor. I did notice on the directory Pat was shown there with his sons James, (but not William) and a James Thomson who was a property developer. She said it wasn’t Thoms. Certainly the house was far larger than where they had been in Windsor place, was rented from Thoms and perhaps it had been shared. Maybe I was right about Pat’s company failing. He was working for Thomson at this time, and likely had his boss arrange for him to share this house with a relative.

Seeking a quick buck the jute barons who had no loyalty to anyone but themselves, they created marriage alliances, blocked outsiders from their oligarchy of profits, and were not putting their money back into Dundee, but to wherever they could get the highest profit and so a lot of their money went in overseas investments within the Empire and beyond, Argentina, America, Australia and so on. The barons were mostly uneducated working class who had worked their way up through small weaving businesses in a highly competitive and ruthless market where guessing raw commodity prices and hording to sell later could make a fortune. The gambling ruthlessness of it all in the brokerages created a cruelty in the barons, which made them insensitive to the poor and workers. They considered that they took all the risks and did the hard work to build their businesses up so deserved their reward. The rich who were poor tend to treat the poor far worse than established rich as they know they have worked their way up to get it by sheer determination. They built very little housing for their workers who were cramped ten to a room in slum tenements. There was no money in renting out houses to them as they were paid so badly they couldn’t afford high rents. Consequently there was a housing shortage and the people per acre in Dundee was astronomical, disease, low life expectancy and bad sanitation was a major problem. The barons regarded their workers as little more than cattle. Though they had an affectionate regard for their cattle as most farmers do. Strong loyalties existed in companies with their workers and the owners were treated with due respect. Though names were never recorded for their employees even for their wages. They most certainly were expendable and high unemployment in recessed times records this. The barons later on mainly for their own self aggrandisement and benefit, did pay for public parks, buildings and other works like schools and universities. Caird Hall was one. A James Thomson was even contracted at the turn of the century to architect a new Dundee. Perhaps the property developer, Pat lived with at the Fort.
Dundee took its pound of flesh from me. There wasn’t much joy in finding out about this family. They hid their past and seemed to want it that way. It was like extracting tooth trying to find out about them and what I found out didn’t enthral me. I was on the point of chucking the towel in with the Murisons. My father had epitomized the Dundee family as cruel and mean, fighting amongst themselves, disinheriting out of spite and hording their money. Little concern for the poor as they had been poor so were only too happy to exploit them as the old little lady chemist at the Fort reiterated. Corrupt and rough. Greedy and mean. Drunken and aggressive. That was how she viewed Dundee even today. And I was hovering round in Dundee in poverty with little money stuck in the pits of a backpacker, though it was an historical home. I needed money myself.
His younger son William was trained in the family business of broking and on 17 June 1868 aged just 22 he married a strange woman called Helen Prain Ruthven, who adamantly claimed she was from Banff and descended from the bastard off spring of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Yet unlike Pat who married into wealth and power, I did some research that appeared to show her ancestors were from Dundee and nothing more than fleshers, weavers, cowfeeders – John Ruthven (or Riven) arguably the grandson of the Prince was an illiterate yokel farm servant at Omachie Farm near Dundee born in 1765. Charlie must have been truly slumming it with the servant riff raff if it was true when he came for the Revolt of 1745 to reinstate the Stuarts as King. He did have illegitimate children, but in Italy much later. However our family does have an early copy of the memoirs of the Aide de Camp to Prince Charlie and Lord Murray. And she till her death proclaimed it, but maybe lied to boost her status, because she was so lowly compared to her husband’s family.
Later in 2014 I went off to Culloden to fight. Xperia directed me from Inverness to the bus stop but got it wrong and then trying to take a short cut led me into a jog to get to the bus which was late. We drove through in circles across the drab pebble dash suburbs, the upper larger and lower older pebble dash stone. All exactly the same. Till fields and then a grand large manor house and at last the battle field. I gave the driver a hell of a fright just before getting there. The complex was large and comprehensive and explained well the historical context and battle itself. Charles I was sympathetic to the Catholics and the protestant Scots didn’t like him and supported Cromwell, however when he retreated to Scotland, because he was a Scottish king by blood he made a covenant with them protecting their religious freedom and they changed sides. They became known as the Covenanters and were bitterly persecuted by Cromwell for treason. Bonnie Prince Charlie was a product of James II, his grandfather who had been ousted in the glorious revolution of 1688 and sent to France. All the ousted nobility from England ended up there. No doubt a Norman relic. His daughter Mary was made Queen along with her husband William as King who happened to be her cousin from Charles II, her grandfather. It was all pretty incestuous. And genetic abnormality was likely. Now they died childless and Anne, another sister was made Queen and she too died childless ending the Stuarts bar James II’ son James III, the old pretender. In 1715 on her death, the parliament overlooked Charles who was Catholic and wanted divine rule from God and turned to distant cousins of the Stuarts, the closest being fairly distant, James I’s great, granddaughter’s son, the Hanoverian George I. He was made king even though he was a German prince who spoke no English and had no intention of living there. So James III invaded and was quickly rebuffed in the Revolt of 1715.

The Cross pattée of the Scottish Knights Templar from the Scottish Commandery of St Clair, Grand Priory of the Knights Templar in Scotland.

The Cross of The Grand Priory of the Scots
Now I need to digress here to The Scots and the Knight Templars which are a theme in my life. And the next Stuart heir, Bonnie Prince Charlie who attempted to revive the Order. ‘There are Masonic degrees named after the Knights Templar but not all Knights Templar Orders are Masonic. There is no direct connection with the 13th-century presence of Knights Templar in Scotland. However, since the 1980s such a connection has been a popular topic in fiction and in pseudohistorical speculation. In the seventeenth century, interest in Templarism became political after the execution of Charles I, with the idea that Stuart partisans invented a Templar degree, as the king's death was to be avenged, as was the violent death in 1314 of Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Templars. The story told by Dom Calmet was that Viscount Dundee was supposed to have been an early Templar Grand Master and to have fallen at Killiecrankie wearing the Grand Cross of the Order. The Duke of Mar is then said to have held office, after which time the Templar Order was apparently inactive until its revival by Charles Edward Stuart in 1745. An original letter of the 3rd Duke of Perth to Earl of Airlie Lord Ogilvy shortly after the Jacobite victory at Prestonpans, described a secret ceremony at Holyrood in which the prince was elected Grand Master of the ancient chivalry of the Temple of Jerusalem on Tuesday 24 September 1745.[1] [2] [3]
‘Templarism experienced a revival of interest in the eighteenth century through Freemasonry with a Scottish influence. The first record of this is in Ramsay's Oration in Paris in 1737. Andrew Michael Ramsay was tutor to the Young Pretender, Prince Charles Edward Stuart. He claimed that Freemasonry had begun among crusader knights and that they had formed themselves into Lodges of St John. The next development was with Karl Gotthelf, Baron Von Hund, and Alten-Grotkau, who had apparently been introduced to the concept by the Jacobite Lord Kilmarnock, and received into a Templar Chapter by a mysterious "Knight of the Red Feather".[4] Baron von Hund established a new Masonic rite called the "Strict Templar Observance". The "Knight of the Red Feather" has been identified subsequently as Alexander Seton better known as Alexander Montgomerie, 10th Earl of Eglinton, a prominent Freemason in the Jacobite movement.[1] [5]
‘Since the mid nineteenth century myths, legends and anecdotes connecting the Templars to the Battle of Bannockburn have been created. Degrees in Freemasonry, such as the Royal Order of Scotland, allude to the story of Rosslyn and the Scottish Knights Templar.[6] This theme was repeated in the pseudohistory book The Temple and The Lodge by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, first published in 1989. On the subject of a possible Bruce connection, Masonic Historian D Murray Lyon wrote "The fraternity of Kilwinning never at any period practiced or acknowledged other than the Craft degrees; neither does there exist any tradition worthy of the name, local or national, nor has any authentic document yet been discovered that can in the remotest degree be held to identify Robert Bruce with the holding of Masonic Courts, or the institution of a secret society at Kilwinning."[7]
Masonic order
‘The modern revival of Templarism in Scotland starts with Alexander Deuchar. The records of one of Scottish Freemasonry's most prestigious lodges, the St Mary's Chapel Lodge of Edinburgh, describe the visit of a "...deputation from the Grand Assembly of the High Knights Templar in Edinburgh… headed by their most worshipful Grand Master, Alexander Deuchar...the first time for some hundred years that any Lodge of Freemasonry had been visited by an assembly of Knights Templar, headed by their Grand Master." This implies that there was an Order in existence 100 years earlier. In 1811 with a Charter from the Templar Grand Master in England, the Duke of Kent, Alexander Deuchar established the Grand Conclave of Knights of the Holy Temple and Sepulchre, and of St. John of Jerusalem. Controversially in 1836 " was proposed that non-Masons be admitted to the Order, at the same time the ritual was adapted in order to allow this to happen.,,[8] [9] .[10] Previously only Royal Arch Masons in Good Standing were allowed to join. Only the Royal Grand Conclave was allowed to admit non-Masons and these men were never members of any Encampments, only of Grand Conclave." The modern non Masonic Order Militi Templi Scotia claims descent from Alexander Deuchar who was a Freemason.
‘The Masonic Movement is generally referred to as the Knights Templar, but the full Style and Title of this body is "The United Religious, Military, and Masonic Orders of the Temple, and of St.John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes, and Malta".
Non-Masonic groups
‘There are today a number of smaller Groups of non-Masonic Knights Templar in Scotland, including The Autonomous Grand Priory of Scotland; The Grand Priory of the Knights Templar in Scotland; The OSMTH/SMOTJ International recognized Body in Scotland; The Grand Priory of the Scots; The Confederation of Scottish Knights Templar or the International Federative Alliance; The Ancient Scottish Military Order of Knights Templar and Militi Templi Scotia.[11]
‘In 2006 the "Commandery of St. Clair" No S1, Edinburgh, was chartered by the OSMTH Grand Priory of France.[12] The Commandery recently received affiliation of OSMTH International[13] at Commandery Status under the Mentorship of the Grand Priory of France. Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani - The Grand Priory Of The Knights Templar In Scotland Ltd is registered with Companies House in the UK[14] and is working under the authority of The Commandery of St Clair, Edinburgh, No S1,Grand Priory of France (GPFT), OSMTH International.

The cross pattée of The Scottish Knights Templar
‘Knights Templar Internationally use the Cross pattée, including The Commandery of St Clair in alignment with the International Order OSMTH, The Grand Priory of the Scots (mainly American Scots) a Cross with two branches, and other Scottish Knights Templar Groups use the Eight Pointed Cross coloured red more commonly but not exclusively known as the Maltese Cross, of the Knights Hospitaller or Order of St. John or Cross of Amalfi.[15] The Scottish Templar use of the Maltese Cross probably dates to the 1960s although the Cross itself is much older.
‘The Scottish Knights Templar of OSMTH International have their own tartan. It was ratified and approved by the Grand Conclave of Militi Scotia S.M.O.J in Perth 28 March 1998. The original name was "Scottish Knights Templar of Militi Templi Scotia International." but it was changed to "Scottish Knights Templar of OSMTH International" in 2006. OSMTH stands for; "Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani".
Role in pseudohistory and popular culture
The legend that Knight Templars escaped their persecution in Europe and headed for sanctuary in Scotland has pervaded through hundreds of modern pseudohistory publications. Connections between Templarism and Freemasonry have been around for as long but publishers saw a synergy from the 1980s onwards in trying to connect Templarism, Freemasonry, Rosslyn Chapel, Esoteric belief systems and Scotland altogether. A number of key publications that try to tie Templarism, Freemasonry and Scotland together…
St Clair — Sinclair speculation
According to tradition, William St Clair, (William Sinclair) 3rd Earl of Orkney, Baron of Roslin and 1st Earl of Caithness built Rosslyn Chapel. A later William Sinclair of Roslin became the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.[5] The St Clair, later Sinclair, Earls of Rosslyn or Roslin have also been connected to Templarism in Scotland, but Mark Oxbrow and Ian Robertson in their recent book, 'Rosslyn and the Grail',[17] note that the St Clair of Rosslyn testified against the Templars at their trial in Edinburgh in 1309. Dr. Louise Yeoman points out that the Rosslyn/Knights Templar connection is false, having been invented by 18th century fiction-writers, and that Rosslyn Chapel was built by William Sinclair so that Mass could be said for the souls of his family.[18] In Michael T.R.B Turnbull's book Rosslyn Chapel Revealed he states that "Eighteen years after the suppression of the Order, Sir William Sainteclaire, in the role of a Crusader(not Templar), made a brave and honourable bid to fulfil the wishes of his late monarch, King Robert The Bruce".[19] He then explains that he and his wife Lady Margaret Ramsay of Dalhousie produced a son (also Sir William)to succeed him as the 8th Baron of Rosslyn. Turnbull States that "His father could never have been a Knight Templar, as his wealth and marriage would have broken two of the three Templar vows — Poverty and chastity".[19]
In 18th century fiction, a connection was made between the Templars and Rosslyn Chapel, built by (William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness.[18] According to Freemason John Yarker, a later William Sinclair of Roslin became the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.[5] The St Clair, later Sinclair, Earls of Rosslyn or Roslin have also been connected to Templarism in Scotland.
Mark Oxbrow and Ian Robertson in their recent book, 'Rosslyn and the Grail',[17] note that the St Clair of Rosslyn testified against the Templars at their trial in Edinburgh in 1309. The Rosslyn/Knights Templar connection is not historical, and was invented by 18th century fiction-writers, and that Rosslyn Chapel was built by William Sinclair so that Mass could be said for the souls of his family. 5
This article strongly rejects that King Bruce was saved by the Templars at Bannockburn and says they were put on trail in Edinburgh. However, it is abundantly clear that the Stuart Young Pretender was into Masonry and reviving the Templars. I met Michael Baigent, who they criticise here, in Israel at the Essene ruins. He was trying to find Dead Sea Scrolls. I had long talks with him on esoteric matters relating to mostly yoga and the spirit world. I was influenced enough by his books to satirise them in a novel. But in exploring my own history much later, the connections came thick and furious. But, Bruce, was still a rebel when the Edinburgh trial of the Templars occurred. He was not part of it at all in fact had been excommunicated by the church, and he was looking for any allies. The Templars would have been a natural friend with a common foe, the Church. ‘In March 1309, Bruce held his first Parliament at St. Andrews, and by August he controlled all of Scotland north of the River Tay. The following year, the clergy of Scotland recognised Bruce as king at a general council. The support given to him by the church in spite of his excommunication was of great political importance.’ Wik.
In London in September 2014, I walked towards the law buildings, dropped in on Dr Johnson’s old house then the Templar Arms pub and finally at the Masonic Lodge where they were having an open day. I read their magazine feeling somewhat of an affinity. Military masons exploits. It was all ‘art deco’ inside, but sort of like a glorified old rail station public loo, white tiles and pristinely empty and large with stained glass windows. As I left I had a chat to a guard who was an historian and knew Baigent, had many chats with him about the Masons. He had been a member of this lodge, reached a high level, which I had heard, an irony given he had strongly criticised the Masons in his books and to me in Israel, convinced they were connected to the Sion. He had a liver transplant before the brain haemorrhage that killed him and was financially ruined by the case against Dan Brown. He was a sick man. I had emailed his wife about my book satirising him without response. He implied he thought Baigent’s books were rubbish. He told me the Freemasons started about 1700 in London. Had loose connections to the Stonemason Guild here and that was pretty much it. Nothing exciting. Just a club of men who wanted to network and do good work. He said they had an order in France that allowed men and women to mix, but wasn’t recognised in England. That the organisation was divided in France. And Scotland rejected the referendum two days before.
A few weeks earlier I finally went into Rosslyn Chapel in 2014. A hell of a bus journey and walk to get here and train from Glasgow. It is packed with tourists following Da Vinci Code. Inside the chapel typing. The column of the apprentice who was killed out of jealousy for carving a beautiful stone column by the mason that went to check out the original in Rome. The apprentice used the model the Baron of Rosslyn brought back. The 1391 journey to Massachusetts by one of the Barons and the depiction of corn on the bas relief of a window rim. Then the knights themselves, two Saint Clairs who were killed in Teba in 1340. Knight Templars perhaps, even if St Clair testified against them in 1309, his life may have been in danger to not do so, and his sympathies seem to be with them. He may have made a vow of chastity and poverty and joined the Templars on starting his crusade along with the others, or it may be a 18thC romantic fictional construction with the rise of Freemasonry seeking to authenticate themselves. Certainly the Moirs insist they were Templars. And this the Masonic chapel of the St Clairs. Full of symbols of masonry as the laird was a grandmaster at the time it was built in 1456. Probably still in secret a Templar argued Baigent. And still is perhaps, however modern historians have disproven any connection even to Masonry. Even despite the chapel being abandoned during the Catholic persecution by the Protestants after the Reformation. Falling into ruin and later restored at the bequest of Queen Victoria.
The heart of Bruce is shown held by Bruce in bas relief sculpture here. Despite trials against the Templars in 1309 in Edinburgh it is likely when Bruce won at Bannockburn he reversed their persecution. He may well have been one and thus so intent for his heart to go to Jerusalem. But the Templars were heretics. Just like the Masons who don’t require that you accept that Jesus is God. This may explain the Templar heresy that they didn’t believe this Trinity either and more accepted Islam’s view of Jesus as a prophet. My father’s best mate, Captain Cruickshank, and what appeared to be a Masonic Knight of the Order of St John, must have been linked in with the Murisons in this Templar mystery and they remet for karmic reasons in the Gordons in Malaya. The place was also full of Green men gargoyles symbolising nature worship and Adam. Very masonic and environmentalist. Even the vault is divided into five parts. The last stars with constellations. The rest flowers. Possibly from coat of arms. Even the apprentice column is a kind of kundalini spiral upwards the spine of the column with snakes at the bottom – the Indian symbol for kundalini. The prominent statue is Mary. Again Templar and Murison. Mary’s sons. The statue of William in Knight’s armour with Margaret, the Norman coming from France to Scotland. The first St Clair. Baigent argued as a grandmaster of the Sion in his book The Holy Blood and Holy Grail.
The apprentice and mason looking down on their work; it is a famous bas relief in the Chapel. The classic tale of jealous father against son who usurps him, and father kills him. As per Christ. As per Abraham. As per Adam. As per my own father. It is a Masonic secret myth. About respect and protocol. The model brought by the laird is the scripture of the kingdom of heaven. And the master goes to see heaven himself, meanwhile his student makes the kingdom of heaven here. And on return the master kills him seeing the heaven he has created and full of envy that he had not been the one to make it. He whose job it was by God or the laird to do so. The lesson is mercy, love and grace that one who is master does not have to do the work oneself, the son of God has done it for us and all we have to do is gratefully accept the gift. And not kill him for his great work of love that allows the kingdom of heaven to come to Earth. The fat black cat with white bib like Litty only fatter. Sat on the seat. The bas relief of the vices and virtues with one vice in the virtue and one virtue in the vices. The paradox. Was it a Masonic code also. In the cellar the Masonic marks of the Masons carved into the walls as signatures.
I walked down to the old castle with a huge forested drop to a glen stream below on a kind of draw bridge to some broken walls and a kind of sad old house inside that was for rent. The St Clairs lived in London. Rosslyn Chapel seemed if anything to disprove the Templars were part of the Moirs or Bruce. But it confirmed the taking of Bruce’s heart to Teba.
The next day I was dropped in front of the ruined abbey of Melrose. There wasn’t much left. However some of the walls were standing and roof, even the remains of the windows. It had been a huge grand monastery of the Cistercians, the most hardy and pious and renounced, a silent austere order who indulged in beatings for sins. Bruce had felt an affiliation and his son had his heart buried here after its return. They had found a heart under the chapter house and reburied it with honours. But the fact was that it hadn’t been taken back to the Holy Land of Jerusalem for honours first. It needed to be to lift the curse on our family for dishonouring Bruce’s dying wish.
I had at last discovered the answer to the Murison Treasures. On top of that I had found out that at Teba they had a big festival with Scots and pipes and a party all night on the 25th August each year. I had missed out once again. Not followed my intuition and been stuffed round by the stupid Gordons ending up in Lewis who we had no relation to. I had discovered the Morrisons there had only changed their name to Morrison in about 1600 after being defeated and mauled in the Fyfe Adventure. Before that their name was more likely Gaelic Maughasain. Why they took on Morrison remained a mystery but no doubt was connected to the far earlier Norman Morrisons and More who perhaps they aligned with.
But it was unlikely we came direct from the Morrisons like my father thought. Though had the same Maurice and de la More origins. From further research I had done the de la Mores and Moir, had changed their name to Mure and Muir. It became obvious that Muirson or Mureson, one spelling of our name, could easily evolve to Murison. And our arms confirmed it. The Mures had been based round Argyl and had a castle at Rowallan still in existence as an expensive hotel and golf course. Bruce had awarded them much land for helping him during the independence wars and one was his chamberlain, another daughter of Adam Mure married one of Bruce’s grandchildren who became king Robert II in 1346.
I walked through the ruins coming to the cloisters some stairs that spiralled up to the bell tower giving a view of the valley and its rich fields of green with yellow tops and woods at the base. It must have been quite a life as a monk in this grand place. With some fear of ransacking by the English. Richard II burnt it down and rebuilt it in 1385. Until I came across the place of the sacred heart. I gave a little prayer of sorrow for Bruce who had died of leprosy for all his brutality. Killing Comyn in a church. Excommunicated seeking salvation of his soul for all the deaths that had resulted from his rule. And Douglas the Good, James, or Black as the English called him, for his raids into England, had ended up caught in the bloody charge of the Moors with Bruce’s heart and in a fit of rage had thrown the damn thing at the Moors yelling ‘take that you bastard, you led me into this trap, just to get your stupid heart to the Holy Land’. Then surrounded he had gone down fighting. Not taken hostage as he was wearing not the white Templar cross but the blue and stars of Douglas. Not considered worthy of getting ransom.
I went into the nearby museum looking at ancient spectacles of monks, glass from the windows, floor tiles, gargoyles, pisspots and other pottery. Roman forts on the hill. A stone drain and urinal for the abbey. A pig gargoyle was on the roof of the cathedral as was a statue of Mary. Still I had found Bruce’s heart. Maybe.
Some weeks later as I left Britain, I wrote to Alex Salmond, ‘I suggest that we get together the descendants of the knightly families that attempted to take Bruce’s heart to the holy land and on the 700th remove it from Melrose Abbey and take it to Jerusalem as Bruce wished. Only that will lift the curse over Scotland and time the next referendum for the very day the Scot’s knight’s lost the heart on 25th August 1330. The fates dictated that the referendum would fail on Bannockburn’s 700th. It was a victory for Scotland but it didn’t lift the curse. The curse befell Scotland when Robert’s heart was prevented in Spain from reaching its goal. The goal will only be attained when Bruce’s heart reaches Jerusalem and then is carried back. It was a valiant try and I hoped we would succeed in freeing Scotland from English tyranny. My 50th was on the 700th of Bannockburn. If only I had found out sooner that the referendum had to be on the 24th June. Everything is a symbolic code. And through that code I see why? It is the heart that needs to be found. And when the brain has devolved Scotland sufficiently as will happen now with constitutional reform, the Scots will be ready in 2030. August 25th. 7 times 100 years is a special number. 7 days to create the universe and rest. 7 days in a week. I feel the tragedy of lack of freedom that I know Scotland can only achieve on its own. Ruling itself. To be one of the wealthiest nations on the planet. But I say trust the fates and the heart. Scotland the Brave and beautiful. So Alex don’t fear. It will happen and it won’t be a simple bear majority. It will be overwhelming victory next time. Unquestionably. Better to have all on board. Or almost all.’

By 1745 England was at war with Spain and France over the Austrian succession and Hanoverian troops were tied up there with George II who still lived in Germany and didn’t mind being a figurehead who got paid by parliament, quite content to have a non-existent powerless foreign king who was protestant. The war spread to the colonies and surprisingly English troops were defeated by the French in Flanders. Charles III decided the time was right and invaded with a small amount of troops in Scotland near Skye. They were known as Jacobites, being the French for James, his father. The young pretender was soon rallying the highlanders and had an army heading south. They took Edinburgh and defeated the English near there, then invaded England getting to Derby and were soon to be in London when they retreated. His generals got to Derby and refused to go on hearing three government armies were on the march towards them. The Jacobites having failed to rally the English to the cause and the French refusing to invade unless London was taken, he had only Highland troops in foreign land and a very extended supply line. The protestant English were not wanting Catholicism back, nor were many Scots. They returned to Scotland dejected. Retreating to Inverness harried by the English Army under Prince William, George II’s son. They were both 24. Down to 6,000 troops, Charles faced 9,000 government troops. But they were on their own territory now. It was a cold April of 1746 around Easter in early Spring. Charles was a dandy prince brought up in the swill of the royal Versailles of a corrupt French king whose sexual exploits were disgusting. His great, grandfather, Charles II was notorious for mistresses and a wild sexual libido. He knew his time was running out as France failed to send an army and the English were rallying with huge forces and his highlanders were seeing defeat and needed to look after their homes from English raids. A fear and rage descended on him and he weakened at the sight of a pretty young Scottish wench serving him. He forced her to his bad that wet autumn night and had his wicked way with her. Spurned by him the next day, she uttered a curse against him that he would lose and die without an heir, never returning to Scotland. They decided to surprise the English with a night attack, but got lost on the long march in the cold raining night to their camp, arrived late, the English were prepared and so they returned exhausted due to Lord Murray’s order and against Charles wishes. Murray considered him weak and incompetent, who always was at the rear of the battle for everyone’s good. When the English came to Culloden against his general’s advice they stood to attack. This time the English were prepared with heavy artillery. Strategically the English advanced to the farm on the flank and the Scots retreated against Charles wishes, they put much of their artillery in there and protected it could rain slaughter on the charging Scots. As the highlanders charged they let them have it. Bog blocked half the highlanders, slowing their charge. Within 100 meters the English muskets opened up in volleys and held their positions. When the highlanders reached them they had bayonets and this time when the highlanders stormed in, rather than retreat or break, they attacked to the side rather than the front of the highlanders, stabbing to their side meant they got in behind their shields and swords. The left flank of the English was still overrun, but with huge Scot casualties. It met a second line of English who opened up with volleys on their own troops as well. Within minutes 700 highlanders were dead. The rest fleeing and the English cavalry came in from the flanks charging them down. The orders were take no prisoners. In the aftermath the Jacobites rallied at Ruthven but were told to disband. The pregnant girl had escaped there only to see her curse come true, dejected and fearful she made her way to Banff and named her son Ruthven after the barracks where she had realised her mistake. From there her bastard son grew up and was told the great Jacobite secret, he was nothing more than a farm servant like her, who made his way to Dundee as the scourge by the butcher continued in the north. Charles had long fled the country. And escaped in a maiden’s dress to the Hebrides and France. He died where he was born after being expelled from France, in Rome he became an alcoholic and died without heirs constantly conspiring to get his throne back. Meanwhile William became known as the Butcher as he exacted reprisals on the Jacobites and their families fairly indiscriminately. The tartan was banned. Weapons banned. Leaders executed. Soldiers transported to America. And the way was set for the Clearances in a hundred years where wealthy lairds educated in England threw out their tenant farmers for sheep. Leading to mass immigration and the factory workers of the industrial revolution. So setting the seeds for the Union movement and Scottish communists. The highlands lost their population and trees.
Audio-visual displays showed the battle on screen from four directions, not suitable for children. Another display showed a bird’s eye view of the battle computerised. They had the usual computer witness audios were you listened to people talk about the battles. This annoyed me as the speakers were interrupted by the noise from the person next to you listening. The Scots seemed to enjoy a hubbub. Words on the screen were spoken and if you read faster you couldn’t speed it up. It was all very tedious. Then the displays of coins etc were too darkly lit again to see properly. It was like no-one had actually gone round to see if it worked. Again there was too much clutter. And then an entire stupid wall that was empty with just a sound track of people stumbling in the dark trying to find the English and losing them and returning. If they had done the room up so it was really like night with scenes of bog and forest it might have worked. Instead it was just a waste of space. They had some folk dressed up as soldiers explaining guns and medical equipment which worked quite well. But again there wasn’t enough action, just a learner giving a lecture on history. They should have had both soldiers up there demonstrating a fight with a bit of audience participation and humour.
The guided tour was alright but he did shout and give commands that brought it to life quite well. It could have gone to the Jacobite area and been a bit longer. It was only thirty minutes. They gave an audio set with screen that was quite good giving information on each area. And one could have spent an hour on that. I was disappointed that they didn’t have some dummies of troops and cannons put up on each side depicting the battle which would have added much to the feel of the place. It was on a large field with a pine plantation to the north and moor highlands to the south. Flags were put up for the front lines of each side. I didn’t get much of a feel for the battle. Old stones put up in 1870 by a laird for tourists showed the mass graves of mostly Scots. 1,500 had died that day and only 50 government troops. It had been a slaughter of such scale that battle tactics changed. It was the end of shields and broadswords in battle. And it was the last land battle on mainland Britain.

James on December 15 2017, 01:45

The Murison Treasures
My father’s history is rather harder to trace as he was reluctant to talk about it, though cherished it as a precious treasure which he oft researched and clung onto every artefact, when I gave him this book to review he refused to give it back till he died, violently refused to discuss it and effectively disinherited me, never let me stay in his house again and gave all the family history and possessions to my sister’s children to be held in storage under lock and key until 2030. I successfully contested his spiteful mad will. He didn’t take criticism lightly and displayed his Pictish family’s temperament for reprisal and disinheritance.
MURISON were not a sept of any clan. Came from Aberdeenshire. Outside of the highland line and clans. They would wear the tartan of the local chieftain. Much of the family considers we were originally Murchison who were attached or septs to clan Buchanan and the Donald. The Buchanans came from Earl of Lennox 13th C. Stirling to Perth along Loch Lomondside. The MacDonalds came from Somerland who freed his lands from the Norse and the Murchisons were septs to the Keppoch and Clanranald branch. Murison as part of Murchison are therefore entitled to wear Buchanan or MacDonald of Clanranald or MacDonell of Keppoch tartan. And use the slogan ‘Fraoch Eilean’ – the heathery isle. However in general the Murisons use the Gordon kilt as it is the clan from the area they come from around Aberdeen – though Aberdeen also has a tartan kilt.
Others reject that we came from Murchison and instead look to the derivation from Simon Mwyrson who was husbandman of the Grange of Abirbothry 1488. Or Johannes Murysone was burgess of Kirkcaldy in same year. Or Sir William Mureson was a cleric admitted to Burgess of Aberdeen in 1491. Or Tybbe Mwrisone was a tenant of part of Kethick in 1504. Or Archibald Murson was Baillie for Arbroath Abbey in Banff in 1528. In 2014 I escaped Dundee and was running late getting to Arbroath where by mid-afternoon in this pretty coastal town I drove to the Abbey which had Murison connections. One of the first recorded derivations of Murison was written down as living here as a baille. Quite a high official – a kind of magistrate. He was there in 1540 or so. Just before the abbey was destroyed by the protestants in the reformation due to Henry VIII. The abbey was massive even though in ruins. Long before that, the Arbroath declaration had been made here in 1320, a letter to the pope asking for Papal recognition pleading that Scot’s must be free or their lives were not worth living. Asking for the end of Bruce’s excommunication and recognition of a Scottish church and archbishop. The pope rejected it. But the letter was there with all its tattered edges and strings of seals from the lairds. The tower was still standing and I climbed up part of it overlooking the large old cemetery that may have contained an ancestors remains. I sensed singing from the choir stalls that were there five centuries ago. Red brick sandstone. Archibald praising my spiritual quest for paternal roots.

Or we may have come from John Mresoun was a follower of Campbell of Lundy in 1529. Or William Muresoun was a reidare at Crouden in 1574. Or George Muirsoun in Ferne was a follower of Walter Ross of Morange in 1596. Or Duncan Muirison was on the inquisition in Stirling in 1598. Or Murchow Mursone is recorded in Gerthstone, Caithness in 1664. The first recorded use is of several actual Murisons who graduated from Aberdeen University from 1670. George Murison of Kings College Aberdeen who died in 1709 went to Rye, New Hampshire in America to spread the missionary word of God. Prof Alexander Falconer Murison, a 19thC classical scholar who wrote an autobiography examining the Murison heritage had a son James William who became HC Judge of Zanzibar last century. They specifically being denied in any way to our family with its coat of arms of three joined Moors Heads saying Murisons were gentle and humble peace loving people not concerned with money, power or war.

I believe, our family came from Sir Moir of Teba fame through our arms. Though it is possible we adopted this in the 19thC when we got money. Unlikely because of the very old family heirloom with the arms on it. The Coat of Arms Motto is Mediocritor meaning with moderation and shows three moors’ heads joined at the neck. ‘Go search among your idle dreams, your busy or your vain extremes, and find a life of equal bliss, that which moderation gives.’ Why I believe this has something to do with Bannockburn, I mentioned earlier, the Knight Templars and our Arms. Let me digress and take you back in time…

‘The family Mure is said to have come from Ireland and the name to be of Celtic origin according to Clan Muir, but Clan Moir state they come from a Norman De La More from England in 1213 sent by King John. Polkelly seems to have been the most ancient property held in Scotland by the Mures. An Archibald Mure was slain at Berwick in 1298 when Baliol's army was routed. The Mures were prominent figures throughout the history of Scotland, from Sir J. Gilchrist Mure, who married the daughter and sole heir of Sir Walter Cuming with the blessing of King Alexander III, for his part in the battle of Largs. This secured the family seat at Rowallan Castle. Another version states that Gilchrist Mure was dispossessed of the house and living at Rowallan by the strong hand of Sir Walter Cuming, and was compelled to keep close in his castle of Polkelly until the King Alexander III raised sufficient forces to subdue Cuming and his adherents. The family had held Rowallan, in this version, from unknown antiquity.’ History of Clan Mure. Clan Moir also claim Gilcrist as their father but spell his name More and say he came from England not Ireland. 1286 and King Alexander III had died without heirs after falling off his horse in his rush to see his next new bride. King Edward of England was to be married to his granddaughter, Margaret, however she died coming to him over the seas form Denmark, rather conveniently for the Scots vying for the throne and not wanting an English king, and so Edward considered himself unfairly being blocked becoming king of both lands. The Scots then asked him to determine who should be king and he chose a weak young man John Balliol in 1292 over Robert the Bruce’s grandfather, and insisted the king treat himself as overlord – you have to understand that these earls were almost all Norman invaders of Scotland; the Normans for whatever reason, had been able to decisively take over the entire country. The Bruces were ‘descended from the Scoto-Norman and Gaelic nobilities, through his father he was a fourth-great grandson of David I. Robert’s grandfather Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, was one of the claimants to the Scottish throne during the 'Great Cause'. As Earl of Carrick, Robert the Bruce supported his family’s claim to the throne and took part in William Wallace’s revolt against Edward I of England.’ Wik.
In 1295 a council of nobles led by Comyn took control rejecting English domination and making an alliance with France. Edward invaded in 1296 and defeated the Scots, took the stone of destiny and put John in prison. Gilcrist More was a lowland baron who supported Edward, upsetting the Scots kings including Comyn. Rebellion broke out in a year and the young Robert Bruce joined it, though not followed by his father who was supporting Edward after Comyn had attacked their lands in Annandale. William Wallace, a commoner, rebelled and attacked England under the cry of Braveheart, freedom and the rights of all to justice and wealth. He was a contemporary proto-communist that many Scots socialists look up to, ignoring the pillage and thieving aspects. He was partly defeated in 1298 and went to Europe to raise support from the pope and the Hanseatic league, then hid in the highlands. Another Earl, Douglas made the mistake of joining Wallace in the rebellion and lost his lands. Bruce appears to have changed sides numerous times depending on the fortunes of battle. After Wallace’s raids into England possibly sacking York, Bruce sided with Edward when he attacked at Falkirk defeating Wallace, then he and Comyn became Guardians of Scotland with English agreement.
Wallace was executed. However Edward wanted them to submit totally to him and was shortly back trying to force this in 1301 without success. ‘In 1298 he (Bruce) became a Guardian of Scotland alongside his great rival for the Scottish throne, John Comyn, and William Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews. Bruce resigned as guardian in 1300 due in part to his quarrels with Comyn, but chiefly because the restoration of King John seemed imminent, and in 1302 submitted to Edward I and returned ‘to the king’s peace’.’ Wik. Pushed back and forth, Comyn became sole Guardian and made peace with Edward after another English army crossed the Forth in 1303 after the French broke their alliance with Scotland and once again Longshanks brought Scotland to her knees. ‘With the death of his father in 1304, Bruce inherited his family’s claim to the throne. In February 1306 following an argument during their meeting at Greyfriars monastery, Dumfries, Bruce killed Comyn. He was excommunicated by the Pope, but absolved by Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow. Robert moved quickly to seize the throne and was crowned king of Scots on 25 March 1306, at Scone. Edward I’s forces defeated Robert in battle and he was forced to flee into hiding in the Hebrides and Ireland, before returning in 1307 to defeat an English army at Loudoun Hill.’ Wik. Bruce had finally killed Comyn his rival in a church and declared himself king in 1306, just before the French king arrested the Templars.
He was then on the run after a fight with an earl Pembroke that he lost. To Ireland or the Hebrides, he was shortly back as the Scots once again rebelled this time fighting a guerrilla war in the Western isles. 1307 he was back supporting the now suppressed Templars, and he may have been one, and Edward came once again with an army but died on the border saving Bruce from a defeat. In 1309 Bruce got a Scot’s parliament to support him then the clergy. Around this time it is likely Gilcrest whose wife was Comyn’s daughter, decided to side with Bruce regardless of him killing Comyn who had been his enemy. For some reason he rejected Edward’s cruel weak son and saw why Bruce needed to kill Comyn to give Scotland its pride and will. By 1310 Edward II and the English were back crossing the Forth. But problems in France forced him back and Bruce retook most of Scotland. 1314 Edward returned with a large army in haste to relieve Stirling which was about to surrender on the solstice. Exhausted they made camp in the peat bog of Bannockburn on the Stirling side when the Scots attacked on the 24th June and routed them. He likely had the loyal support of Sir Reginald de la More, (though there is no record of this), and a noble knight of Norman origin born in 1280s, who he later made his Chamberlain in 1329-43. They came to Scotland in 1213 sent by King John I. Whether he was related to Sir Gilcrist More is debateable, but the records say he was his son. Bruce gave Reginald the Thanage of Formartyn, which included a greater part of Aberdeenshire. Due north north west of Aberdeen. 1317 - Robertus More became a burgess of Aberdeen. and
Bannockburn does have some significance in our family. But more later of the Battle of Teba in Grenada in 1330, August 25 – my sister, Tamsin’s birthday. Legend has it a Knight Templar, Sir Ken Moir, nephew of Reginald de la More, went on a crusade with other Scottish knights, really a pilgrimage to do King Bruce’s dying wish, to bring his torn out heart to Jerusalem to his saviour. The heart was kept in a silver casket and at the infamous battle of Teba, where the Scots charged ahead of the Spanish into the Moors, the knights were overwhelmed and wiped out, as the Spaniards never rallied behind them. Moir was one of the few survivors and took the heart from the dying Sir ‘Black’ Douglas back to Scotland in tears. For his bravery he was awarded a coat of arms of three Moors’ heads joined at the neck. And this became the arms of the clan Moir. It is the same coat some Morisons adopt and our branch of Murison with the Latin adage of ‘in moderation’.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sir Kenneth Moir was a champion knight, knights templar who, in 1330, rode with Sir James Douglas and the Crusaders to Spain with the heart of Robert Bruce to defeat the Moors who had laid siege to the fortress at Teba in Andalusia.
He was first Sir Kenneth de la More, a contemporary, perhaps nephew or grandson, of Ranald de la More, the Bruce's Chamberlain of Scotland (1329–1341).[1] Sir Kenneth and Sir James Douglas rode out on Crusade with Sir Simon Locard of Lee, Sir William de Keith, Sir William de St. Clair and his younger brother John of Rosslyn,Sir Symon Glendonwyn, Sir Alan Cathcart and the brothers Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig and Sir Walter Logan.[2] Locard would as a result of this Crusade became known as Lockhart.[citation needed]There was also a young William Borthwick.
Having been granted a promise of safe conduct from Edward III of England, the party sailed from North Berwick and made for Luys in Flanders in the spring of 1330 remaining there for 12 days and attracting more followers from all over Europe.[citation needed] Knights Templar had been outlawed and ordered killed by this time. There are no written records of who joined the party of Scottish Knights. There is circumstantial evidence that at least one Knight from Germany joined in Flanders.[3]
Their intention was to then sail to Cape Finnestere in the North West of Spain to visit Santiago de Campostella which had been ordained as a holy town by Pope Alexander lll following the discovery of the remains of the Apostle James.[citation needed] A pilgrimage to Santiago captured the imagination of Christian Europe on an unprecedented scale as it was the 3rd holiest site in Christendom and at the height of its popularity in the 11th and 12th century attracted over half a million pilgrims each year.
However, before they could set off for Santiago word reached them that the King of Castile and León, Alphonso Xl, in his efforts to drive the (Moors) out of Granada had laid siege to the Castillo de las Estrellas (Castle of the Stars) at Teba which was occupied by the Saracen Army of Mohammed lV, Sultan of Granada. The Knights travelled 2,000 kilometers to Seville and offered their support to Alfonso for his Crusade to rid the Iberian Peninsula of non-Christians. They marched the short distance to Teba.[4]
On 25 August 1330 southeast of Seville in a saddle high above the river the Knights came to Teba in Andalusia. There, three thousand of Muhammed IV's cavalry made a feigned attack on the Christian. The great body of his army took a circuitous route to fall, unexpectedly, upon the rear of Alfonso's camp. With the Christian troops otherwise engaged, the Templar Knights face overwhelming odds. Templar Knights do not retreat and Sir James gave the order to charge[citation needed]. Sir James Douglass, Sir William St. Clair, Sir John de St. Clair, Sir Robert Logan and Sir Walter Logan died in battle. To be a Templar Knight requires giving up family name in devotion to Christ. These Scottish knights followed the practice of Sir Kenneth. Instead, of going into battle with family amorial family symbols the knights, like Sir Kenneth were marked by crosses and stars. After the battle families would buy back their captured knights. Unfortunately for the fallen knights, the Moors would have preferred to gain wealth by returning captured knights. Lochard did take a Moorish knight captive and was given a jewel that would become known as the Lockhardt penny for the knights release back to his family.
In Teba's Plaza de Espana stands a block of Scottish granite to commemorate this town's illustrious connection with Robert the Bruce where Scottish Knights gave their lives to recover the plain below the castle for Christian Spain.[5]
Sir Kenneth survived to oversee preparations for transport home of the fallen Templar Knights[citation needed]. This included the scrubbing clean of bones. He returned the Scottish Knights to their family homes. For his extraordinary bravery and for might when faced with overwhelming odds, Sir Kenneth's surname was forever changed from de la More to Moir, from the Scottish Gaelic for brave and mighty one.[citation needed]
The earliest Moir armorial bearing, the family crest of the Moirs, depicts a shield beset with laurels under a knight's helmet. Larger than the helmet above is a skull scrubbed clean with two leg bones saltire proper in a cross to represent the fallen knight. The two bones form the cross of St. Andrew's, a saint martyred on a tipped cross, "a mort head upon two leg bones saltyre ways proper."[6] Below the knight's helmet are three Moor heads in their gore cut proper with blood dripping arranged in a perfect triangle. To draw away attention from the triangular symmetry and to the answer the question why three over the centuries arose the saying: "One Christian Moir slew three pagan Moors."[7]
The Moor's head is one of the most mysterious symbols in Christian heraldry. Pope Benedict XVI, the current pope, has placed the Moor's head in identical profile on his own coat of arms. Pope Benedict is from Germany and may have gained the heraldic symbol from a Friesland or Bavaria family descended from a Knight of the Battle of Teba. The Moir crest is not that of a triumphant victor. Instead the crest is grim memorial to fallen warriors both comrade-in-arms and enemy. The family motto in the scroll on the crest is "Non sibi sed cunctis"—Not for self, but for all." When setting forth the family motto Kenneth Moir remembered the Templar Knights' motto: "Not for self, but for God."
Seven centuries ago the disastrous battle of Teba was fought, though a victory for the Moors, a disaster for Scotland where so many knights were lost due to betrayal by Alfonso IV of Spain. The charging Scottish knights had not been supported by the Spaniards and were surrounded and killed by the Moors. Some said they were Templars others denied it. Maybe there were mixed feelings amongst them. In the fields at the base of the mountain they were slaughtered. Their bodies returned by Muhameed where they were boiled down and only their hearts and bones taken back to Scotland. Teba is not far from Ronda, it is between that and Antequera, the route we followed back in 1989. When we took the risk at El Chorro in Desfiladero de los Gaitanes. Along a broken up path on a cliff face then through a railway tunnel by a lake. Maybe just 20 kms from Teba. Due north west. That had been a strange time for my girlfriend Pam and me. Not sure if we were together or apart. Thrush. Arguments. Morocco and Bernd and Elen. Ronda and flamenco. A journey we did not really understand propelled by an English guide book on attractive areas of Spain to drive through. The little Renault 5.
All that eventually led to meeting Baigent then my book on the Templars and Spain. The autobiography where I could write no more about myself and Pamela because of the pain I felt writing about it in 1997. And now in 2014 on the 700th of Bannockburn in Scotland the mystery was coming together in an altogether unforeseen way that proved it all once and for all. The bloodline of the Murisons.
That journey in Andalucía after Ronda had led to some confusion trying to follow her guidebook, but I remember sensing Lord Byron, the great poet, the barren misty mountains in September, still warm, getting lost reading the maps, asking locals the way on those twisty narrow hilly roads, the pine forests and smell of pine and dust. I remember coming to a strange village climbing up a hill, some American tourists in a jeep, jealousy of them, aloneness, and this sensation of deep suffering pain and love. We had decided to split up in Portugal. Were clinging on to each other and I felt suffocated. But in these mountains I felt propelled to find something, courage if you like, as we drove to El Chorro and risked our very lives. Tracing my diary of 1989 I worked out that we had not just been to Chorro but up to the dam above it the day before, going round to Bobasto’s stone church and then down to Ardales, Carratraca which had drawn Byron to healing spas there and the yank girls broken down in their car who had been rescued by a yank in a jeep who effectively told us to get lost. We had indirectly followed the route of the rescuing army of the Berber Uthman with his 5,000 cavalry who had camped between Ardales and Turon river. 15 kms NW of Teba. Alfonso had decided to attack Grenada and called a crusade forcing Douglas to abandon his pilgrimage to Campostella and offer arms.
The knights began their siege of Teba, but were forced to get water south at Guadalteba where the Moors skirmished with their supply train. On 25 August 1330 Uthman split his force, putting half on the river at Guadalteba and the other half he sent to attack upstream. Alfonso refused to be drawn to the river, supposedly allowing Douglas with his knights to hold that front. The knights pushed back the moors at the river. And 3,000 cavalry of the Moors appeared over a col west of Teba to attack the Christians from behind but Alfonso hadn’t moved them from Teba so the Islamic rouse failed. Alfonso sent 2,000 men to meet the Moors who withdrew. And a rout of the Moors began. The chronicler Barbour states the Moors began to flee from the river and the foreign knights followed, with the Scots getting way ahead, then the Moorish cavalry seeing them alone turned back attacked and surrounded them killing them. Possibly with forces from the retreating east flank of Moors. After they were killed the Castilians decided to catch up and pursued the Moors to Turon camp and ransacked it missing an opportunity of capturing the fleeing Moors.
Back then I had come very close to the battle site. Looking at my notes ‘Took a pension at Alora (1,800 pts) which was very nice and new. The owner young and bedraggled bought beers for us. We headed the 20 kms up to El Chorro past almond, olive and Marife oranges till the valley narrowed to cliffs. Let’s Go gave bad instructions and we overshot the turn off, but do see the spectacular cut in the rock face where the river comes through. We drove on to the Conde de Guadalhorce dam and had a picnic lunch next to the half filled reservoir. Pamela saw one mountain like a big boob with a tit. Drove around the dam and had a drink at the El Oasis cafe where the local started to say 75 pts, then changed to 100 pts when we asked how much was the price. On the way back we diverted to Bobastro, and come across an incredible dam on the top a mountain. Its sides artificially built up. Great views of El Chorro. I pretended to fall off the cliff. I also drove off and left Pamela behind for a few minutes because she was dawdling. Down the road we found Bombasto's stone hewn church despite Exploring Rural Spain’s instructions. I pretended to read from the Guide telling Pamela how a giant made his house there by eating out the inside of a boulder. In reality it was a Mozarab enclave, a Christian convert from Islam, Omar Ben Hafsum who ruled here in the 9th century. He was tolerated by the Caliphate of Cordoba. His church of one solid stone was quite large still with arches and round windows, a ruin. The Romans had an impregnable fort here called Bobastrense. In amongst the man high rocks we met two Spaniards and four Germans. Back on the road, on the hill side, I saw through my expensive Nikon binoculars (bought duty free in Melbourne) a Civil Guard with a few locals looking at us through his binoculars suspiciously at us. As we walked back we saw a yellow stocking tied round a rock and Pamela thought it might have been left by a rapist so we made a rapid escape.’
I was not sure where we had gone round Bombasto. But we must have driven right past the Moors camp. Probably 8 kms south of the river where the skirmish began. But if the knights were pursuing at speed it is possible that they may have been killed quite close to the camp. Possibly at Bombasto. There was no dam there then. Or young Ken De La More may have been forced to flee to the east ending up hiding in amongst the stone ruins perhaps clinging onto the holy grail. His king’s heart. Desperate to get back to Christian lines. Maybe he accidentally dropped the casket there. Lost it and had to replace it when he got back to Alfonso. Whatever, a bizarre fearful and violent sexual energy was felt by us that day with Spanish police observing us and the odd stocking on the rock. Had Ken been man-handled by some Moors and single handedly chopped three of their heads off. Taking them back to Alfonso to prove he had not been a coward deserting his mates. All slaughtered. Had discretion been the better part of valour for Ken.
Had the Scots got over excited going in for the Templar kill braveheart style only to discover the other Christian knights from Europe didn’t feel the same sense of ramming it home Scots style and left them to it. Ken looking behind his back and seeing the English and Swedish knights trailing who had borne some Scot’s insults the night before about turning tail at Bannockburn, having second thoughts about joining the melee outnumbered ten to one. Simon Locard or Lockhart of Lee also escaping, but capturing and ransoming a Moorish prince in the process. Bruce’s heart was returned and buried at Melrose Abbey. Sir St Clair at Rosslyn who legend says Douglas died saving. The Spanish chronicler simply states an errant foreign count got killed due to his own foolhardiness.
Ken de la More talking to his mate Locart on the plains of burning hot Moorish Andalucía in late August 1330. The empty silver casket with Bruce’s heart gone and a plump pig nearby. The ignominy of returning to Scotland defeated with so many loved one’s dead and a mission failed due to chivalry practices not to turn back from a charge, foreign knights deserting them led by the English, and that clown King Alfonso of Fawlty Towers Seville who had left them to hold the Moors while he remained besieging Teba, dallying in sending reinforcements to them after 500 Spanish knights had just gone home due to his meanness in a pay dispute strike when the Berber army turned up from Morocco.
The decision to give the casket to Locart to take back to the Bruce family. Another fine Scottish balls up caused by a working holiday pilgrimage to Spain tax deductable and a bit too much bravado and Spanish red wine. How would they explain it to the folks back home? The story better be a good one or they were in deep trouble. The lads had to use that Scottish noble imagination that has sown the seeds of many a Scots’ laureate. The girl caught his young eye. Alfonso apologising in that slow Spanish manner looking decidedly like the Spaniard I had met last night… Grenada. An English Templar Knight smirking.
No, no… not the pig.
Now some valid issues arise here for me and the Murisons. For one the Moir family clan exist still in Scotland and are a proud and heinous lot who hold dear their knightly origins. And not keen on any assailing of their forebear. Most especially some illiterate crofters from Alyth who are claiming their bad spelling connects them to this great knight and Scot legend. Their coat of arms very detailedly describes the battle of Teba and its Bruce affiliations with all sorts of garnishments, shields, triangles, bones, helms and other bric a brac. More importantly are the Moors heads are set in a triangle not joined at the neck. Not so with Murison. It is simply three Moors heads joined at the chopped neck. Moor’s head is a potent and mysterious symbol in Christian heraldry. Moirs motto is almost the same as the Templars suggesting indeed a connection. And is completely different to the Murison one.
Is there another explanation for the Murison arms?
And feet for that matter. Mostly very flat.
Did I have to go back to Prof Falcon Murison and his history of Wallace?

The floral dripping Moir crest.
Has it been embellished a bit over the centuries from the real thing?

The trail got dreadfully murkier as I found out that the Moir’s were septs of the Gordon clan.

Wikepedia –
Moir - [MOY-er] is a surname of Scottish origin, and is part of the Clan Gordon of the Scottish Highlands. The name in its present form dates from the 14th century, and means "brave, renowned, mighty" in the Scots Gaelic dialect. [1] Four generations of Moirs were active members of the Burgesses & Guild Brethren of Glasgow, 1751-1846.[2]
The earliest Moir of record was one Adam de la More. In 1213, King John of England sent Adam de la More to the King of Scotland with a gift of gyrfalcons. It looks as if he, and perhaps others of his name settled in Scotland.
In the County of Rubislaw, Gilchrist More was one of the Barons who swore fidelity to Edward I in 1296. Gilcrist More is said to have incurred the wrath of Sir Walter Cumyn but later married his daughter and secured lands of Rowallan Castle near Kilmarnock in Ayershire. Gilcrist's granddaughter, Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan married the future King Robert II in 1346.[3] The heiress of Polkellie, Janet More, in the time of David II married Sir Adam Muir of Rowalian.[4]
By the end of that century, when Edward I was dealing with the Scots about succession of the Scottish Crown, there were a considerable number of De la Mores, including an Adam de la More in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.[5]
A century later, when the Laird of Rowallan gets a confirmation charter from King Robert the Third, he is designated Sir Adam More, Knight; but it is in the same year (1391) that the first transmuta- tion of the name takes place into "Mure," in a charter of pension granted to the King's uncle Andrew Mure, he being a brother of Elizabeth More of Rowallan. After this date, the common spelling of the name is Muir or Mure.[6] Reginald (or Ranald) de la More was a Knight for Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce). King Robert made de la More Chamberlain of Scotland in 1329. He held the office until his death in 1341. The Bruce gave his Chamberlain de la More considerable estates in various parts of Scotland, one being that of Abercorn in Linlithgow; another being the Thanage of Formartyn, which included a greater part of Aberdeenshire. One of the Chamberlain's sons was Sir William More of Abercorn, and another was Gilchrest More.[7]
Robert the Bruce and Reginald de la More were Templars when in 1307 King Phillippe le Bel of France arrested and had executed many Knights in Paris. Two years later the Pope excommunicated Robert the Bruce reportedly for murdering John Comyn in a Scottish church. The Pope then went on to excommunicate all of the Bruce's noblemen. Finally, the entire realm of Scotland went under papal interdict. The pope's actions left the Catholic churches of Scotland free to support the Templars. As a result a substantial number of Knights sought refuge in Scotland. When Robert the Bruce died in 1329, having never served God on a Crusade, he left commands that his heart be taken on a Crusade…
According to The British herald; or, Cabinet of armorial bearings of the nobility, the Moir's family motto is Virtute, non aliter - By virtue, not otherwise[9]
Alternate spellings of the name Moir include More, Moire and de la More. The names Moore, Moores and Mooers are related.
You can add to the above Mure and Muir. Clearly the Moirs were either ignorant of or refusing to recognise the link to one derivation of Morison and Murison. As some early English spelling of Murison is Mureson the link become closer. Combined with the three Moors heads on the crest. Perhaps indisputable. But the fact that Murison is actually pronounced Muir-i-son or Mure-i-son is further proof of the connection at least to Muir or Mure, which are related to Moir or De la More. However, the actually clan Muir seems unlikely connected to our coat of arms with the Moors heads. They don’t have that. But are they connected to Moir as they come from the lowlands and Sir Gilchrist Mure, who married the daughter and sole heir of Sir Walter Comyn with the blessing of King Alexander III, for his part in the battle of Largs. This secured the family seat at Rowallan Castle. So highly likely we originate from the Clan of Moir.
Has one part of the case of the Murison Treasures been solved?
Now another thing was my father’s obsession late in life with abo rock art, this took him to cave paintings in Portugal, where he met a Brazilian woman and fell in love. I have read some of his letters and hers. In about 1997 when I started my media business. He later developed a relationship with the Mauritian High Commissioner in Canberra. Mauritius is considered to derive from the same root as the Roman General and Saint with their Moor head. My father had somewhat a penchant for the exotic Latin and the primitive. Was it connected to his Moorish roots in Spain? Had Ken bought back more than just three Moor heads but some booty as well?

Although most Morrisons claim heritage from the O’Muirgheasains bards of Ireland and Vikings in Uist and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, a barren god forbidden place with strong cold North Sea winds, peat bogs and no trees and the ruins of their castle on a cliff filled crag broken away from the mainland. A completely unrelated family of Morrisons claim heritage from the Normans and the sons of Maurice. Latin ‘Mauricius’ dark skinned. Some Murisons claim the Moors heads in our arms is likely that of Maurice from these Morrisons. A Roman general of Moorish descent who converted to Christianity and refused to renounce and was martyred and became a saint.
Since 1672 the Morisons had used three moor’s heads on arms starting with Morison of Preston Grange. Were they too from the Moir family clan? They differed from our arms in that the three heads were separated with us and joined at the neck, but theirs joined from the head down or did not join at all. I needed to make contact with these Morisons to solve the clue.

Officially Recorded in Scotland

Arms Armiger Blazon Source
MORISON OF PRESTON GRANGE Argent three moors’ heads couped proper. Sir James Balfour Paul's Scottish Ordinary
MORISON OF BOGNIE Azure three saracens’ heads conjoined in one neck Argent the uppermost face looking to the chief and affixed by a wreath to the other two which turn to the dexter and sinister. Sir James Balfour Paul's Scottish Ordinary
1673 Stacie
Henry MORISON WS Argent three saracens’ heads conjoined in one neck the faces looking to the chief, dexter and sinister proper and wreathed about with laurel leaves Vert between two falcons’ heads couped in fess Azure. Sir James Balfour Paul's Scottish Ordinary
Andrew MURISON OF ANCHORFIELD Argent three moors’ heads couped proper banded Azure within a bordure engrailed Gules. Sir James Balfour Paul's Scottish Ordinary
Major Alexander MORISON HEICS Ermine three moors’ heads couped Sable banded Or in the centre an eagle displayed of the second for difference. Sir James Balfour Paul's Scottish Ordinary
DUNCAN-MORISON OF NAUGHTON Quarterly 1st & 4th Argent on a saltire couped Sable between three moors’ heads couped of the second banded Or a heart of the last 2nd Gules a chevron Or between two cinquefoils in chief and a hunting-horn in base Argent garnished Azure within a bordure of the second 3rd grand quarter i & iv Argent a saltire engrailed Sable ii Argent a saltire engrailed between four roses Gules iii Or a bend chequy Argent and Sable the latter within a bordure Gules. Sir James Balfour Paul's Scottish Ordinary
MORISON-DUNCAN OF NAUGHTON Quarterly 1st & 4th Gules a chevron Or between two cinquefoils in chief Argent and a hunting-horn in base of the third garnished and stringed Azure within a bordure of the second 2nd Argent on a saltire couped Sable between three moors’ heads couped of the second banded Or a heart of the third 3rd grand quarter i & iv Argent a saltire engrailed Sable ii Argent a saltire engrailed between four roses Gules iii Or a bend chequy Argent and Sable (for Haldane) the latter within a bordure Gules. Sir James Balfour Paul's Scottish Ordinary
WALKER-MORISON OF FAWFIELD 1st & 4th Argent a lion rampant Gules between three moors’ heads Sable banded Or 2nd & 3rd Or three pallets Gules surmounted of a saltire wavy Argent on a chief Azure a demi-lion holding between his paws a fleur re lys of the third between two anchors of the first. Sir James Balfour Paul's Scottish Ordinary
James G MORISON of Touch House, Stirling Argent three Saracens’ heads couped Sable banded of the first within a bordure engrailed Azure charged with three fleurs de lys two in chief and one in base Or. Sir James Balfour Paul's Scottish Ordinary

I like to think our arms were from Ken as it is only this clan that has the three black heads, and after all Ken was in fact a Norman called de la More and so their clan legend goes his name was changed to Moir meaning in Gaelic ‘brave’ for his feat with the Moor’s heads. But it is quite possible that de la More, actually originated from Maurice and the reason for the Moor’s heads is in part due to their coat of arms already existing prior to Teba as at least one Moor head which is consistent with a Norman French origin. I suspect that Moir settled round Aberdeen in a Templar abbey. ‘In about the year 1187, William the Lion granted part of the Culter lands on the south bank of the river Dee in Aberdeenshire to the Knights Templar and between 1221 and 1236 Walter Bisset of Aboyne founded a preceptory for the Knights Templar, so there is a possible link with the Murison name and the Templars that settled in the north east of Scotland..’ according to who doesn’t explain the link though I have asserted an hypothesis as to why which I have no proof of the Aberdeen connection only the Arms. Some of their sons adopting the name Moir-son, which due to illiteracy got changed to Morison due to an i being incorrectly placed and then Murison about 1600. Spelling was so bad in these days this is not surprising, however coats of arms tend to be less butchered. In fact Sir Ken may not have settled in Aberdeen, but his family was given significant lands north of Aberdeen (Thanage of Formartyn, which included a greater part of Aberdeenshire. Due north north west of Aberdeen) and some of his heirs may have gone there, and that certainly is where the first Murisons came from of these arms.
I located this abbey near Aberdeen, a Templar church, where in the 14thC the Moirs may have lived alongside the Irvings. Now a posh hotel with a creepy old graveyard, I explored its ghostly ruins late one summer’s evening in 20th July 2014 trying to connect to my forefathers across time. This may have been where the first Murisons came to be. My last stop in the twilight was Peterculter. I forgot about Drum Castle. The only reason I ended up here was to explore my Templar roots. The mob had written that they thought the name originated here in the 1200s. But gave no explanation why they thought this other than we were Templars. Right by the mist covered river Dee. It was a gloomy foreboding place that reminded me of monks. The local church was dedicated to the Templars and boy scouts. I drove to the Templar Park in hopes of some mystical knightly grail revealing itself to me. I drove up in the dark with the odd feeling of ghosts and ghouls slightly on edge. A mist was rolling down from the hills making it hard to see as I drove. The park had a large sign and on the gate a smaller one warning me that boys could be in the park and if you didn’t have a good reason being there you could be in trouble. Rolf Harris came to mind and all those Boy Scout masters in jail. I wondered if I should enter. Throwing caution to the wind, I opened the gate and headed down the yellow brick road, or muddy trail, to find the grail or a little boy. As I continued carefully proceeding in the scout park grounds thinking that I must be prepared. And did I have my compass and a pair of twigs to make a fire and a bit of rope, the huge ogres of my past descended. I felt as if I was just a boy of seven in here alone and unprotected. Afraid. I tried to sense if this was back in 1200 when perhaps the first Murison ancestor was about. Or Moir or More. Monks and Templars and singing voices in the dark. Farmers by the river. As I continued I saw a man in the distance near a large house. I was about to explain my reason for being here, but then chickened off. Ended up out of the park and in a meadow with two huge draft horses, no, they were just normal horses I saw when they came up to me and I gave them some fresh long grass. I returned to the car. Up from the meadow by the Dee that was so flat and had a clammy fog about. Like death, but I wasn’t afraid. I saw peasant children with strange caps on their heads smiling. The sun was out. Very bright. Playing in the river. Someone I knew very well. Who cared about me. The same age. Brown hair. Green eyes. Beckoning. And I knew it was wrong. Unnecessary.
Then in a flash I was back by the car thinking of getting back inside out of the cold. I made one final attempt to connect. There was a hotel nearby called the Maryculter. I drove up the pretentious stone lined driveway. A squat mass of buildings of stone, some rough hewn in the centre. The place looked expensive. I was about to drive out when I saw the reception open and decided to explain why I was there. A kind Hungarian young man looked quite excited and showed me the guest lounge which was renovated from the old stone work ruins. Filled with ostentatious coats of arms, suits of armour, flags and other tourist paraphernalia Americans love. He gave me a long printed history of the place and it was connected to the Templars in the 1200s. Then took me to a grave yard behind a high wall of stone and the ruins of a chapel. I tried to take photos with my flash, but most of the tombs were 19thC. Transylvania came to mind I told him. The summer night, the clammy mist, the slight river breeze, centuries ago spirits dwelt here. King William the Lion had granted these lands to the parish of Culter in 1187 for the Templars. Walter Bisset of Aboyne founded a preceptor here for Templar Knights. This lord founded a college between 1221 to 1236, however their worship of Mary conflicted with the monks of Kelso on the north bank who worshipped Peter. And so the parish divided in 1288. It dawned on me that maybe the Templars were called worshippers of Mary and their sons became known as Maryson. Which after time was misspelt as Morison or Murison in the local Doric dialect. Because Murison is pronounced Muir-ee-son. The same tale is told of the Morisons in Lewis who worshipped Mary also. But it may be they originated from here. And no doubt why the mentioned it. And if so it was unconnected to Sir Kenneth Moir. Originating from Mary not Moir. It was a wild guess at a connection.
The issue then came down to the coat of arms and motto. Did they have the same one here? These sons of Mary.
Wallace had tried to get help through the French king to go to the Pope and received a letter from him, nothing eventuated from this. Then Wallace was killed by the English after being betrayed in Scotland. In 1306-12 Philippe Le Bel and Pope Clement V supressed the Templars. Edward II was married to the daughter of Philippe so England suffered also. However not so in Scotland, which was one reason the Scots rallied against England after 1306. Did it explain Bruce killing Comyn as well about then and making himself King? Why did Bruce wish to go on crusade? But never could? Why the legend about the Templar knights fighting at Bannockburn? And many of them? How could the Scot’s alone turn such a large army? It seems Bruce needed allies and the Templars needed a safe haven. Why did current Scots reject the theory vehemently? Feelings were very mixed for and against the English just like now. People changed sides like the weather. When Bruce won at Bannockburn he was excommunicated for killing Comyn in a church. Was the issue a Templar matter?
In 1320 Bruce had a bishop draft a letter to go to the Pope to remove his excommunication. The Arbroath Declaration which was rejected by the Pope. But later the pope restored him. Was the price of that ending the Templars? Why did Bruce insist his heart be sent by Templars on crusade to the holy lands?
We do know that by the 1350s the Knight Hospitallers were established on Deeside and the Templars go out of records. They looked after their tenant farmers well, requiring tillage and crop rotations to look after the land and insisted on the 8 sides cross on the highest building of all tenants. These people may have been called Mary-sons. There was no record of Sir Ken Moir coming here.
Mary Queen of Scots dissolved the Order of St John in Scotland in 1563.
In 1618 a vaulted cellar was built here still existing in the hotel. A spiral staircase hidden by a trap door near the bar goes down to it. Records are not clear, but in 1638 the Templars were recorded as existing round Aberdeen under Charles I, who may not have opposed their masonic nature given his unorthodox religious beliefs. Perhaps before then they had to be more secretive due to persecution by the Catholics and then the Protestants.
James Irvine-Fortescue of Kingausie had a letter to Alexander Irvine from Gilbert Menzies requesting repairs of the intake of the mill in 1647. The Gordon Highlander museum regimental secretary who I had challenged to a duel over investigating my father’s killing of Duff, old Grenville’s ancestors had rocked up here where the Mary-sons worshipped. No doubt as the lairds. But in 1947 the Templars were revived in Scotland and on 23rd June 1963, 1 years and 1 day before my birth, exactly 400 years after the dissolution a service was held in Maryculter kirk using the eight pointed white cross on the solstice. The stone circle came to mind with its eight stones. Bissets, Menzies, Gordons and Irvines were present. The festival began on 24th June, my birthday, for the baptism of St John as celebrated in Scotland. Bits of the puzzle seemed to miraculously fall into place. I considered why such a sceptic like Michael Baigent who was out to expose the Order of Sion and the Freemasons end up becoming a high master of the Grand Lodge before he died only aged 67.
I drove from there to Maryculter Kirk, again the GPS led me up a driveway to nowhere. Turning round on narrow roads with bogs on either side in the dark, I arrived at the church down a narrow lane. I took flash photos of graves, but most were 19thC, nothing came to mind as I walked round. No spirits intervened and spoke to me. So I took a backroad to the river Dee going down a large hill overlooking Aberdeen’s bright lights. Some mystery had opened up again. That of the Templars and the Sion. I felt them in my blood. Calling me. It was refreshing.
We have an ancient heirloom of a bronze horse stirrup with that arms on them and after my father’s death, I tried to take it to Scotland to the 700th of Bannockburn, but my older sister controlled it for my elder brother, who suffered schizophrenia and she prevented me. She didn’t trust me. Thwarted, my mission failed. The family resurrected the arms in the 19thC when they became wealth jute brokers in Dundee. But as other Murisons know of the arms, it wasn’t a creation by the Jute Baron Murisons then, it had links to Morison in the 1600s and Moir to Teba. The point being that I am certain we were connected to Bannockburn and the Templars fighting there and somehow the tide of battle turned to the Scots due to possibly Sir Ranald De La More and the Templar Knights giving a tactical edge in that battle, so ending English tyranny over us against massive odds; causing such a fearful rout of the English. It seemed to me that our arms came from Sir Ken Moir and his battle of Teba. That he had inherited lands round Aberdeen and we were his sons. Sons of Moir. Moirson. Of interest is Murison is pronounced in actual fact Muirison. Muir and not Mur. It is quite strong and distinctly Muir. Spelling my change or get misspelt, but the pronunciation often remains the same. This is distinctly different to Morrison which is pronounced Mor as written. It is also not like Moir which is pronounced Moy-ur. However Moir and Muir come from the same family regardless of pronunciation according to their own clan histories. They were given large lands in Aberdeen by Bruce, however not round Marycutler, but to the north. If some Murisons came from Marycutler as sons of Mary, then they seem not to be from our family simply because of the Arms. But who knows in the swirls and eddies of history, maybe the two conjoined both being Templars.
In 2014 in Edinburgh, I was on a quest to solve the case of the Murison Treasures and just opposite the Scottish Story Telling Society. And there in front of me was Morrison Tartan Kilt Makers, but she said to go to the other one which was next door, so up I went to be met by an elderly man in a kilt with sporran and high tweed socks. I put my case for the Murison tartan and he looked up an ancient old book and found Murison and sadly told me I had no tartan. I was stuck with the very busy Aberdeen tartan or Gordons he informed me. Though we were not even septs of the Gordons and certainly had no clan chieftain. I enquired whether I could create my own tartan and whether he could make me a kilt. He said it was possible and could be registered as well, but it would have no sway over the other Murisons. It would be only the tartan for Travers-Murison. Could I speak to some clan head of Murisons to consult? He checked on the web and said there was none and not even a Murison society. It was a scarcely known Scot’s name he apologised. Most likely coming from Morrison who did have a tartan, but he wasn’t sure on that though they both came from Aberdeen. Some Morrison’s also had a three moors head on their crest and coat of arms. Though the heads were joined unlike with the Murison which only had them joined at the neck. I cursed my sister that I couldn’t show him the arms on the ancient horse band. But he said the arms didn’t mean much as they were not designated to a surname but to a family itself, to a person, and could be passed down to the eldest son only upon death. The arms could only go to my brother. I had to create my own. But my father had denied my brother and myself the arms. What was the situation then? He had passed them on to my sister’s son. Now that the court had reversed that, what counted his will or the court ruling? My father had never actually written that I was disowned nor my brother. And what of the fact my brother had changed his surname, surely my brother had disowned him and had no claim to them. That left them to me. And what of the fact that I had hyphenated my surname, did that break the arms for me also? Only the heraldry office could answer these questions and he suggested I go to them. I was curious if the moors head emblem had been won in the crusades and a Murison had fought there and then as a Knight Templar in the Bannockburn battle with Bruce. He scoffed back a twang of Scottish humour, ‘Aye laddy, I dunne tink so. According tay the book no Murison existed afore 1600 and most of theem were peesants. Meere likely te coat of arms was a joke… what tey call a canting humour. A pun on words of the name ‘mur’ and moor. And te fact tat it was on te Morisons arms suggested in fact your arms came from them. Mor and moor. Te name may in fact come from peeple of te moors, not Moorish but the barren moors in the country. In fect comin’ from Muir which means tat. Possibly a son of a Muir was Murison.’ But I was not entirely convinced - why the three Moor heads chopped at the neck? Were the Murisons simply lower class jokers who had in fact ripped off the Morison coat of arms, who were even bigger pun makers using Moors to sound out their name Mori. Were the Morisons in fact sons of some craven dung infested family of crofters from the misty moors near Aberdeen and not knight Templars at all wining alms and honours in the crusades? Arthur Murisone my great ancestor seemed none too educated and a farmer who somehow got hold of the ‘cult’ farm through fair or foul means no-one knows. I looked up at the staring face of the kilt maker who had now been joined by his sidekick, a young Scot, who seemed equally bemused of the case of the Murison tartan treasure. I beat a hasty retreat just in case I had to make a down payment on a kilt of Aberdeen district electric colours.

Our family came from a family of Aberdeenshire tenant croft farmers, Arthur Murisone (Moorison) (b. 1659) decided times were too hard up north and headed south. He built the Cult farmhouse, renting that land near Alyth – ‘the man dwelt in Rime’. He came from Laurencekirk direction towards Aberdeenshire. In 2014 19th July I got some food at the town supermarket, junk and the town itself was a dull newish rural village on the main highway to Aberdeen. I asked an elderly man about the graveyards and Murison. I found two decaying scary small graveyards by old churches, but no Murisons. There were few graves older than 1800. It seemed a dead end. I tried the phone book with no luck, but found one in Montrose whose wife was very unfriendly saying they weren’t interested. Then another in Stonehaven who chatted on, but couldn’t meet. Wanted me to come tomorrow. I drove to Stonehaven and walked around the pretty little harbour by the windy North Sea. The clouds had cleared a bit. I drove down a narrow lane onto the wharf and took photos of the old cute stone village houses and small beautiful churches in amongst the colourful fishing boats. It was idyllic and alive with cafes overlooking the port full of people. It was too late and I never met him.
On 14 May 1714 Arthur bought the Cult - the seat formerly possessed by James Anderson in Queich (note: Pamela Young (her first marriage surname) married to my father was a wealthy Anderson from Scotland). Arthur’s son was David Murisone (born February 1689) and married Christian (Kristen) Ramsey (born June 1703) 1718. He perhaps married again Jean Cargill. From the first marriage, came David (Junior) who was baptised on 1723, 23 June. He had a son, James (born 22 March 1765) who married Molly Mill on 14 December 1806 from Blackdykes Lintrathen. She died 12 January 1813 in the childbirth of Charles. The second eldest was John of Shanzie’s line and goes down to John Murison in Townsville, Australia who now has half aboriginal children.
John Murison had a son, Charles, who left the Cult and bought Shanzie Farm. Charles had a son, David, who bought the farm of Balloch. His other son was Charles (d Jan 1943 age 67) who kept Shanzie and seems to have married Davina Thomson. His son Charles bought McRitch Farm. And his son Charles bought Plains with his brother Danny keeping the lower part of McRitch, where he built a house. The other brothers Stewart went to Kent as a truck driver, and John as a builder to Townsville in Australia who married an aboriginal woman and his son is an Adventist pastor and musician. A sister, a nurse, retired to McRitch, and lived in the main house.
Bill Murison of Kirriemuir, 60 Prosen St, is a cousin of Charles and knows much of their history. Charles has the Plains Farm at Glenfarg, Perth, 520 acres near path of Condie ph. 05773255. Dad met him in August 1991. The 180 acre McRitch farm is Danny’s. Charle’s aunt is Margaret Murison, a famous nurse in the war in Burma known as ‘the Angels of the Tiddam Road’ who was awarded the Royal Red Cross, wrote a manuscript held by now by Charles Murison and who our family met in 1965 and had heard about my grandfather, Fred, in India, when she was there, though he had long gone by the war.
It took me an hour in the midsummer of 2014 on the double-decker to reach Alyth through winding narrow lanes and over some hills. Mostly countryside, farms and woods. It was a cloudy dour day with rain falling every now and then. But soon cleared up to sunshine. Betty was a stocky solid woman about 70 with a heart condition and a retired nurse. Very down to earth, working class, simple education and did not believe in God. We soon were talking about the family and her younger brother, John, in Australia. I told her about my falling out with his son, John and his treatment of his wife and his ego. She wasn’t very flattering about Leila, John senior’s wife, the aboriginal, saying that she was racist against white people. I told her they often had a chip on their shoulder due to past mistreatment and she was quite a nice person deep down. She didn’t have much time for Adventism and said the Murisons weren’t religious. Apparently she had had a falling out with them as well and John’s son considered her a racist. On top of that she wasn’t talking to Danny, her other brother at the bottom of the property. He had a drinking problem, was obese and had been a bit of a rascal, who last time I had visited 24 years ago had a smash up derby mud race track at the bottom of the hill. The local postie and most people knew him. And her uncle was also on the taboo list. So it seemed a Murison trait to be fighting with your loved ones. As I wanted to meet them this made it a bit difficult. She took me round the family graveyard showing me the Murison graves and it appeared Patrick was buried in Dundee with his second wife after all. He had simply built a tomb to his father and brother here. She then showed me a small plaque lying on a stone from the Cult next to the tomb Oblisk of shining red marble – very grand. It was a granite stone engraved with Pamela Murison and she told me dad had placed it there. He had wanted it in the chapel of her home town in England but the church had asked for money to put it up and he had considered it too much. So had brought it up here and they had snuck it in under Patrick’s tomb memorial, my forefather. She cleared the grass away every year. She showed me the graves of her side of the family, not quite as grand – James had a son David in his first marriage who she came from. Then he had Charles, who had David, who had Charles, who had Betty. Very biblical. Then took me to another graveyard in the town, an older one to see if we could find any older ancestors than 1800, but it was locked. Alyth was a pretty enough village at least a thousand years old with its medieval section or more likely Georgian and I felt like I had come home in a way, like I was back in Australia. The people were naturally friendly and I didn’t feel like I had to make much effort. They seemed very much like Australians – straightforward and easy going. It is famous for a mad inventor, James Sandy, who very likely my relatives would have known. He died in 1819 when Patrick was just a child playing round The Cult. Sandy was a cripple who made invisible hinge snuff boxes, violins, and hatched birds that perched on his head. He dabbled in electricity. Might have inspired Patrick to go forth. A medieval pack bridge built in 1480 still stood. Losset Inn from 1760 was where the local drovers drank at the top of Toutie St by the Market Cross. The gates of Auld Arch show the ruins of the 13th Century church which was taken down in 1846 a decade or more after Patrick left for Dundee. To the west is the Den of Alyth, an ancient forest where 15th August 1326, Robert the Bruce came to hunt stag and the Murisons would have relaxed walking in and maybe even hunting. Back on the burn in town was the new Norman 19thC church which contains a unique Pictish stone of a cross and a funeral hatchment relating to one of the last duels in Scotland. Further up was the jute mill, now a house. Pitnacree pavement dates to 1453. And by the old market square is the townhall with a bell from 1789 from Napoleon and the French revolution saying I was made for St Tey in the time of master the Viscount of Coatpond, rector of Pullan. Maybe giving Alyth a revolutionary social air. But it is a little conservative village of maybe 500 or less people. Not far from the Abbey of Coupar Angus where one of the first derivations of Murison arose. The village has a sort of Tolkien hobbit feel to it. Little quaint people who go about their polite business, yet maybe seethe underneath. The gossip and hurt feelings lasting for decades. The hill above Alyth is part of the Grampians in the Valley of Strathmore where the River Isla flows. Not far to the south east is Glamis Castle and the setting of MacBeth. From there you can see the highlands including Schiehallion, in winter snow covered. The Murisons came here about 1700 to take up tenant farming at the Cult. A strange name with almost religious connotations and I could not find out where it came from. Ancient druids? Thousands of years ago, the picts lived here in circular beehive dwellings of turf, wattle and daub, roofed with thatch and had a fort at Barry Hill with two strong rampart walls. King Arthur is meant to have left Guinevere here prisoner to the mercy of wolves, to the south at Meigle church. So perhaps the grail was here. As Arthur escaped the Saxons and allied with the Celts and Picts to save Britain. Maybe she got involved with the pagan Cult rejecting Jesus. Did Arthur get drawn here to resolve some past transgression, perhaps like Arthur Murisone unwittingly did as he stumbled into Alyth with his hoe and yokel hat in 1700. To find the grail. This Roman Heavy Cavalry officer who was Christian, had to reject his pagan lover. And so she perished. Near a thousand years later Bruce hunts a stag here, but I saw in a powerful vision of the past that he refuses to kill it seeing the Christ and vows that his heart must go to the Holy Lands when he dies. He remembers the Templar Knights who insisted he pray for victory early that morning at Bannockburn, and heavy cavalry charge broke the English. That young knight, who begged him to pray; outnumbered as they were. Sir Reginald de la More. 1.30 am got on his knees and prayed. Not for victory but for love and freedom and justice; for the poor and the oppressed, to not be a tyrant full of greed, but a servant of the people to look after them. That is what he begged Bruce to do. To remember that cave and spider when he had nothing and was a hunted man on the Western Isles. The peasants were fighting for him because they wanted their rights, which the English had fought for already with the Magna Carta. They wanted justice and the rule of law for all, not just the rich. Bruce had to promise the Templar Knights this. And he relented at 1.30 am. By 3 am he had the whole army praying on their knees to God. Bruce chased the stag from the Den till he crossed Trodlem the old drovers road, rode it over Alyth Hill and cornered it at the Cult by Shanzie… far away. And like Rama, he looked it in the eye ready to fire an arrow. And end its life. He remembered that promise. Called off the hunt and headed to Arbroath to sign that deed to give his people rights. "As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself." Declaration of Arbroath, 6 April 1320. It wasn’t quite the list of rights and rule of law for all demanded by the Magna Carta. But the spirit was there.
We went to the old Cult farm which was just a pile of rubble in a field of corn and rolling hills heading up into the highlands, and a major walk began round Alyth. The sun had come out, the rain stopped and a beautiful day was opening up. I walked round the boggy field that looked like it had potatoes

Alex Morrison on October 26 2014, 06:10

I have added a paper on the Morrison tartans which further demonstrates how myth and fable can quickly cloud the real story. Whoever was behind the founding of the Morrison Society in 1909 appear to have created a considerable amount of mischief about the origins of the name and the adoption of a tartan and badge.

James Travers-Murison on August 27 2014, 09:04

Alex if you would like to contact me I am briefly in Scotland but will be leaving very soon to Australia. UK dial 07432 191002.

James Travers-Murison on August 27 2014, 08:58

I accept the whole thing is conjecture and your point about surnames being very fluid until 1700 including the fact that being son of Morris or Muri might simply mean you are referred to as Murison or Morrison whilst having no other connection to the name. But I will say their weren't many people called Muri. And as my point about this was it was therefore more important to look to the coat of arms to work out a lineage. However it does appear that Maurice does have some historical connection to Morrison and also the Moor's head. And this may mean that the story of Sir Kenneth Moir may be more story than fact. If De La More were already using a Moor's head on their arms prior to this. Still legend has its place in history and is usually part of the truth and I would bet that the increase to three heads had something to do with Ken and Teba. My apologies for spelling it Toba but this again reinforces what I said about spelling and errors which likely connect Murison and Morison and the enigma of the three heads some of their line have in common. The fact that Morrison in 1670 registered their heads doesn't mean that the heads were not in existence long prior to that on arms, dating back to Moir and Sir Ken. And our Murison arms I doubt come from this Morrison, but more likely round Aberdeen and the priory of Maryculter of the Templars. More likely I think from the Moir line itself. I have not yet found evidence of Moir family coming from here and may contact them for research purposes. And most likely the Morrisons of Preston Grange also came from this line of Moir. So way back in 1400 during the War of the Roses we may have been kin, Alex, if you originate from them. I also note that the motto with moderation and the Morrison motto of prudence before reward basically have the same meaning of being careful. Again this may have a common base.

Alex Morrison on July 15 2014, 06:10

I would like to add this to the the comments which I trust will be of interest. The Scottish History of the Morrison Origins

“There was, not surprisingly, a certain coolness from some who felt their illusions had been shattered and some who had vested interests in ‘clanship’”.
Gordon Donaldson (1995, p89)

When I discovered that the 90 year old Morrison kilt handed down to me by my father was full of moth holes I felt the need to replace it. This sparked an interest in researching my family, an interest in genealogy that has taken me far beyond drawing up a family tree. Not only did I want to know who my ancestors were, I wanted to know where they lived and what they did. To achieve this I needed to establish some credible historical facts derived from an understanding of linguistics, sociology, anthropology, geography and psychology. Having a social science university teaching background helped, particularly in sorting fact from fiction.

What’s in a name?

Many people hold a belief that a name somehow represents a common relationship however distant between all others sharing that same name. Thus, if your name is Morrison it follows according to the common origin theory that sometime in the past you shared a male relative whose name was Morrison. This type of false reasoning is reinforced by writers of commercial Scottish clan histories who make claims about the fabled origins of their particular clan.

Take for example this assertion by the legendary seventeenth century indweller John Morrison of Lewis, quoted by Captain Thomas (1880, pp19-20), written between 1678 and 1688: “The first and most ancient inhabitants of this countrie [Lewis] were three men of three several races, viz. Mores, the son of Kennanus, whom the Irish historians call Makurich, whom they make to be naturall son to one of the kings of Norovay, some of whose posteritie remains in this land to this day. All the Morrisons in Scotland may challenge their descent from this man”. Captain Thomas himself was deluded by what he read and heard about the origins of the Morrisons, concluding … “These traditions all point in the same direction, and establish beyond reasonable doubt the common origin of the family, and Lewis as its early home” (1880, p20).

Misplaced sentimentality is naive in the extreme. If one were to be drawn into this level of pseudo clan reductionism, then at best the only commonality between us all dates back to the primordial swamp where life on Earth is thought to have begun, or Adam and Eve, or even aliens from outer space. To reinforce this point by way of a tongue in cheek example, could we say that the 2010 President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, is related to David Jonathan of Sussex in the UK and Jacob Jonathan in Miami USA? They all share the same surname, therefore they must be related. But what if it turns out that David Jonathan adopted his name from his foster parents who raised him when his biological parents were killed in a German bombing raid in WW2. Jacob Jonathan from Miami got his surname from his father, a Polish refugee from WW2 who changed his name from Janusz Jarogniew to John Jonathan.

Consider also people named Morrison at birth who later changed to another name. Take for example the legendary American screen actor John Wayne. He was born Marion Robert Morrison, but when he began his acting career a stage producer convinced him to change his name to John Wayne. Does this then mean people with the surname Wayne are related to John Wayne?

To help the reader understand the complexity of the evolution of the name Morrison in Scotland, it is important to state from the outset there are a multitude of origins for the name Morrison, just like the name Jonathan above, and only a few close knit communities existing today have within them any close kin who can at best be traced back a few hundred years. Unless you are related to one of the ancient kings or noble families of Scotland authenticated by the historical records, then in reality who you descend from is anybody’s guess. There are very few reliable records you can call on to verify your claim that dates back to early Scotland. For example, when the Vikings settled in the Hebrides in the 9th Century John Morrison and Captain Thomas claim this as the starting point for the Morrison Clan, but where are the records to verify it, or do we blindly trust the fable?

The origins of names is not dissimilar to the geographic origins of Scotland. If you followed the Scottish BBC TV documentary presenter Neil Oliver, he gave an excellent overview about the beginnings of Scotland, from the time of the violent tectonic, glacial and volcanic actions upon the landscape, the peopling of the land, and their ever so gradual and eventual intermixing and settled ways of life. What Scotland didn’t have were pockets of discrete clans that emerged spontaneously dotted all over the map who were identified by tartans and traditions. Broad family groupings that we recognise today as “clans” evolved over time, and even then they were subject to infusions of outside genetic material with the inevitable ebb and flow of boundaries and invasions. The clan industry we see today is really a nineteenth century invention, fuelled by a voracious tourism marketers keen to profit from the sale of clan bric-a-brac.


I am a Scot, but what does it mean? Scottish people have evolved from an amalgamation of Picts (northern Scotland down to the borders), Gaels (Ireland and South West Scotland), Britons (from the south moving north across the border country) as well as the Romans, Normans, Norse Vikings and Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons who all had a significant influence. Then there were the European traders who brought further ethnic mixes into the equation. George F Black cites, for example, the origin of the people of Buckhaven in Fife being from a Dutch ship that was stranded about the time of Phillip the 11 of Spain in 1556 (1946, xix). Modern Scots are therefore like the crystals in a kaleidoscope, the more you turn the viewer the more the pattern changes.
There were periods in Scottish history, around the 9th Century, when Norway at times held suzerainty over the Orkneys, the Western Isles, and the Hebridean Isles (including Skye, Harris and Lewis) until 1266. However, the most fluid ethnic ebb and flow came across the lowland borders where successive waves of Angles, Romans, Normans and English swept into what is now Scotland attempting to either tame the “savages” or claim sovereignty.

So who were the Morrisons? Trying to find the definitive origin out of the blend of Scottish history and folklore is akin to playing the children’s game of apple dunking blindfolded (Apple dunking involves trying to pluck a floating apple from a tub of water with your teeth).

Many Morrison clusters have been identified throughout Scotland moving north from the Midlothians, to Fifeshire, Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Sutherland and to the Hebridean islands of Lewis and Harris. Other areas around Glasgow and Clackmannanshire are also places where Morrison families have established. There are also strong associations with the name Morrison in Ireland and England. Today the name Morrison is recorded as about the twentieth most common name in Scotland, and is prominently seen throughout the UK via the Morrison chain of supermarkets and fuel distributers which were established in Yorkshire by an English Morrison family.

The multiple origins of the Morrison surname
If one looks at all the evidence then any proposition that the Morrison ”clan” came from a single source is quite erroneous. There are in fact several Morrison groupings identified above but they have somehow been subsumed under one umbrella “clan”.
David Moody attempts to disentangle the common belief that all members of a “clan” are related. Quoting Donaldson (1995) on the subject of surnames Moody suggests “casual assumptions or guesses about kinship and descent based solely on surnames are no substitute for serious research into ancestry” (p86). Further, he agrees with Donaldson’s major point regarding the “unwarranted assumption ... that individuals sharing a surname have, or at some time had, blood relationship with one another (p87)” because it is based on a false assumption.

The key here is the difference between genealogy (the study and tracing of lines of descent) and etymology (the origin and meaning of names). That is, just because your name is Morrison does not mean you are related or that your early ancestors were Morrisons. This is further distorted by the origins of the name which suggests a variety of sources based on both etymology and geographical origins of human migration (that is for example, Pict, Gael, Germanic, Anglo-Saxon, Norse, Roman or Norman just to name a few!).
Moody (p87) identifies at least four classes of origin for Surnames: (1) Place Names, (2) Parents’ names or patronymics, (3) Occupation, and (4) Personal Characteristics.
Many people took their name from their location such as “Sutherland” or “Argyll”. Early names were also adopted from an association with land ownership. For example, a landowner may have had workers under him who took on his name even though they were not related. Thus someone who might have been one of the MacGilleMhoires from Lewis who fled to Sutherland might have taken on the name MacKay because the MacKays owned the land.
Patronymics (see Moody, p88) is even more convoluted: A man called John whose father’s name was Morris would rightly be called Morrison (son of Morris) and his son James should be called Johnson (son of John). His son Andrew would be named Jameson (son of James). You can see from this it becomes a lottery as to who became a Morrison at the time surnames became fixed.
Both patronymic and occupational names (such as Weaver), or even personal characteristics such as a “strong arm” (Armstrong) “became detached from their descriptive meaning and took on a life of their own as what we call a surname, which is passed from father to son” (Moody p88).
One of the most detailed and scholarly approaches to Scottish surnames is the outstanding work by George F Black: The Surnames of Scotland, Their Origin, Meaning, and History (first printed in 1946 at the New York Public Library). Black notes that “Morrison” derives from “son of Maurice” (p612). Further, he states “Forms of Maurice (from Lat. Mauricius, ‘moorish’, the name of a saint martyred in 286AD)”... as introduced into Britain by the Normans among whom it was popular”. (p612). He traces the modern Morrison form to Latin documents in Glasgow in 1450 when the name was “Mauricii”. In 1463 he identifies Andreas Morison, a licentiate of law in St Andrews. In the sixteenth century Scots Guards records show the spelling as Maurieson. In Kirkcaldy in 1540 Moresone, and later Moresoune, Moriesone and Moriesoun, were alternative spellings. Other interesting variations are found in Aberdeen in 1448 as Mwryson, and 1448 in Kirkcaldy as Murysone (p621).
In fact the are many different spellings scattered throughout the historical documents of Scotland which have later been transcribed to the modern spelling of Morrison including Morison, Morisson, Morcion, Morisone, Morsion, Moryson, Morrieson, Morriceson, Morishon, Merson, Morason, Morzon, Moorison, Morisoun, Marrson, Murrion, Murison, Muirison, Murieson, Murrison, Muresoun, Muirsoun, Murson, Murescun, Muryson, and no doubt many other phonetic synonyms.
To demonstrate this point, R R Stodart’s 1881 work “Scottish Arms, being a collection of armorial bearings AD 1370-1678” changes the spelling from “Moresoun of Darse; or Prestongrang, 1643” and then writes “‘John Morison, bailie and treasurer of Edinburgh, who died in 1615, was called “the rich’…” (p155) in the next sentence.
At this point it is worth quoting from The Internet Surname Database: “Recorded in several spellings including Morrison, Morrieson, Morison, and Moryson, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname, which is almost equally popular in Ireland. It is the patronymic form of the surname Maurice or Morris, deriving from the Latin "Mauritius", and meaning swarthy, from "Maurus", a Moor. ..The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Morisson. This was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax records of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.” (
These linguistic analyses of the Morrison name imply it is Anglo-Scottish and the Morrisons from the Lowlands were probably the original bearers of the name in Scotland, complete with their crest of three Moor’s heads, not the Norse/Gaels from Ireland or Lewis/Harris whose origins derived from the Gaelic translation of “McBref”, “MacGilleMhurie,” and “O’Muirghesasain” who rebranded themselves as Morrison.
According to Moody (1988, p19) surnames only became fixed in the Highlands in the eighteenth century. Donaldson clearly makes the point that surnames are not an infallible guide to family relationship and pedigree: “The distinction between a Highland and Lowland origin has often been effaced when a Gaelic name has been translated into English... MacGille-mhoire becomes Morison which means that they are added to the host of unrelated patronymics spanning the whole country and with no affinity among them” (Gordon Donaldson quoted in “Scotland's History: Approaches and Reflections”, ed. James Kirk, Edinburgh, 1995, pp. 89-94).
Some Linguistic Theories

Amongst the multitude of common theories about the origins of the name Morrison is this one written by Bain (The Clans and Tartans of Scotland, 1938, p240) who wrote that the Morrisons were of Norse origin and many were forced to flee Lewis in 1597 with up to 60 families relocating to the highland area of Sutherland in MacKay territory. Bain makes this assertion about Norse origin without any evidence, rather, he simply repeats the mythology as though it was an established fact. Note also that those Morrisons left on Lewis after the intervention of the “Fife Adventures” and Neill MacLeod’s treachery between 1598-1607 lost their entitlement to hereditary brieveship in 1613. Are we to believe that from this 1597 exodus that the Morrisons spread all over Scotland? Hardly.
MacCoinnich (2014) traces the change of the name from McBref or MacGilleMhuire to Morrison in the early 1600s as follows: “The adoption of the name ‘Morrison’ at some point during the first half was probably a matter of convenience in an increasingly anglophone world. It bore some similarity to MacGilleMhoire, anglicising it as ‘Moire-son’, in much the same pattern, perhaps, as names of neighbouring kindreds such as MacMhathain and MacMhurchaidh became Scotticised or anglicised as Matheson and Murchison respectively. Moreover, the form ‘Morison’ was free of overtones of a barbarous Gaelic past in a way that ‘McBref’, Mac Gille Mhoire and their variations were not. Sliochd a’ Bhritheimh were not the only clan to rebrand their names at this time and the re-inventing and re-packaging of the past and of names was widely practiced in the Highlands. There are many possible reasons why this Lewis kindred would wish to rebrand themselves at this time, and if this was the case it is worth looking at which of their contemporaries in Scotland were named ‘Morrison’”.
Further to this, the prominent Scottish Moir family suggest that in their family history “there is no “Clan Moir”. This is just another instance of the use of the adjective. The “Clan Mhic Gille Mhoir”, of which Dr. Brown refers in his history of the Highlands, is explained by Sir George Robert Gordon, the contemporary writer, whom he is quoting, to be merely a sept or branch of the Clan MacLeod" (Henry Paton, p23).
MacCoinnich quotes W C Mackenzie posing the possibility of this Lewis/Harris rebranding being traced back to either the Morrisons of Dairsie or Prestongrange (these two related families are discussed in detail later), but this can only at best be held as speculative or coincidental. The more likely, according to MacCoinnich, was an Andrew Morrison of Avoch, the chief collector of customs, connected to Rev Donald Morrison (minister of Barvas) through a friendship of William Lauder from Avoch whose daughter married Donald Morrison. This possibility is linked to the change from being brieves (the hereditary brieveship was lost in 1613) to clergy.
George F Black (1946) also discusses the evolution of the Morrison name on Lewis and West Highlands: “ ...this name is said to have displaced G. Mac Gille Mhurie, ‘son of the servant of (the Virgin) Mary” (p612). Finally, he analyses the form of name “O’Muirghesasain” which he traces to Inishowen in County Donegal. Families with this name settled in Lewis and Harris. “Later the name became O’Morrisone and O’Morison. When the literary tradition with Ireland was broken the O’ fell out and Muirgheasain was corrupted to Morrison” (p638).
So where did it all begin?

Making sense of all that has been written about the name Morrison, be it fables, speculation, history or fact requires the skill of being able to weave a recognised clan tartan from all its basic ingredients without a pattern. The strongest evidence about the origin of the name Morrison is that it has mutated from the Roman Moor Legion commander named Maurice who was later canonised by the Catholic Church to become Saint Maurice. This helps explain the evolution of the name. Next is the tricky bit, how a single Moor’s head which was a symbol of bravery on medieval European armorials developed into three Moors heads on the Morrison (1672) and Moir armorials (1672) with a completely different symbolic meaning, namely gory trophies of battle. There is no necessity for the two to be a contradiction per se. It is just ironic that a Crusader (Sir Henry Moir or de la More) whose name is derived from the Christian St Maurice the Moor from Egypt in turn demonises ethnic Moors who were Muslims.

Let me try and set out the relevant ingredients:
The evolution of the Morrison name
St Maurice
The name Moir and More
Sir Kenneth Moir and The Crusades
The Morrisons of Prestongrange, Dairsie and Bognie
Heraldic Arms and Mottos

The Evolution of the Morrison name

The most heated academic debates often involve arguments that oppose a prevailing orthodoxy. If the argument is strong enough it will overthrow the orthodoxy. This essay presents arguments that challenge the orthodoxy regarding the origins of the Morrisons in Scotland commonly purveyed by commercial “clan” materials and literature and perpetuated in so-called “Clan” society websites. If one is the put “Morrison” into a search engine the result is a cascade of syrupy myths about gallant Hebridean warriors who descended from Norse kings. This in itself is misplaced nostalgia, celebrating Norse folklore rather than Scottish heritage.

Put plainly, the Morrisons did not originate in the Hebrides and are not evolved from Norse Vikings. The Morrisons are a wide ranging loose collection of families with no essential historic links. The most probable origin of their name is likely an evolving amalgam of St Maurice on the one hand, and/or the hero of a battle fought against the Saracens during the Crusades involving Sir Kenneth Moir. Over time the name Morrison has been distilled from a variety of origins and become fixed. It could equally have become Muir or Murison, and certainly there are numerous other permutations of the name all around the periphery with some vague historical connection.

St Maurice

St Maurice the Moor, after who the name Maurice or Morris is said to have derived, was according to legend a 3rd Century leader of the Roman Thebian Legion. Maurice came from the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes and was a Christian who joined the Roman army. From there he is supposed to have been under the command of Maximian who ordered his legion to harass some Christians. Maurice refused and he and many of his men were executed. For his act of martyrdom he was created a Saint.

Because Maurice was an Egyptian he is portrayed as a black man. He became the patron saint of the Holy Roman Empire from the beginning of the 10th century.

According to European Heraldry the insignia of the black head was probably meant to represent Maurice the soldier saint since a majority of the arms awarded were knightly or military. Thus the origin of the Blackamoor (the black Moor head) on many coats of arms is a recognition of a church militant and champion of the Roman Church in a time when its authority was being challenged by Luther and Calvin.

The arrival of the name More or Maurice is reported as coming to England from Normandy with William the Conqueror about 1050. During the reign of David 1 of Scotland (1124-1153) a strong Norman influence was introduced into many parts of Scotland. This was a result of rewarding Norman warriors with land after they helped subdue the warring Moray family. The Normans also helped David 1 maintain control of the the border regions, including Carlisle which was for a time part of Scotland.

The name Moir and Muir

Quoting from the abridged article by Henry Paton in the “Moir Genealogy and collateral lines” (Alexander Moir, 1913), “There can be no doubt that the surnames Moir, More, Moor, Moore, Muir and Mure are but variations of one and the same patronymic. The form in which it first appeared in Scotland, and in which it persists for about two centuries, is More” (p22).

From his research, Paton believed the name existed in England at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086. He goes on to say that it “was in the form “de la More” or “Mora” that the name came to Scotland. In 1213, an Adam de la Mora was sent by King John of England to the King of Scotland with a gift of gir-falcons. It looks as if he, and perhaps some others of his name, had then settled in Scotland, for by the end of that century, when Edward 1. was dealing with the Scots, about the succession of the Scottish Crown, there were a considerable number of “De la Mores,” including an Adam de la More, in Ayreshire and Lanarkshire” (p21).

In fact six Mores were forced to sign the Ragman Roll in 1296:
More (Mor) de Cragg, Reynaud (del counte de Lanark).
More de Leuenaghes, Douenal le fiz Michel (del counte de Dunbretan).
More, de Thaugarfton, Symon de la (del counte de Lanark).
More, Adam de la (del counte de Are).
More, Gilcrift (del counte de Are).
More, Renaud de la (Renaud) (del counte de Are).

In addition to these Mores there is another name that could well have lent itself to becoming Morrison in later years, Morref. There were 14 Morrefs who signed the Ragman Roll, for example ,Morref, Huwe de (del counte de Edeneburgh) and Morref, Johan de (del counte de Fyf). The name Morref later became written as Murray, but given the latitude given to the broad sounding of names and their phonetic interpretation the son of Morref could easily have been transcribed from the patronymic form of Morrefson to Morrison.

Sir Kenneth Moir and The Crusades

Running counter to the image of St Maurice the martyr and patron saint of the Holy Roman Empire is the idea that the bloodied Moors heads on some British coats of arms are traceable to the Crusades.

Sir Kenneth Moir (de la More) was a champion knight who, in 1330, is said to have joined with Sir James "Black" Douglas and other Crusaders to Spain with the heart of Robert Bruce to defeat the Moors who had laid siege to the fortress at Teba in Andalusia. Their original intention was to sail to Santiago de Campostella which had been ordained as a holy town by Pope Alexander lll following the discovery of the remains of the Apostle James with the promise of safe conduct from Edward III of England.
Their mission changed when they learned that the King of Castile and León, Alphonso Xl had laid siege to the Castillo de las Estrellas at Teba which was occupied by the Saracen Army of Mohammed lV, Sultan of Granada. The knights travelled to Seville and offered their support to Alfonso for his Crusade to rid the Iberian Peninsula of non-Christians.

Somewhere in all this legend is the story that Sir James “Black” Douglas, Sir Simon Locard of Lee, Sir William de Keith, Sir William de St. Clair and his younger brother John of Rosslyn, Sir Symon Glendonwyn, Sir Alan Cathcart and the brothers Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig and Sir Walter Logan were outnumbered and killed on the battlefield. Sir Kenneth survived and transported home the bodies of the fallen Scottish knights.

The Moir armorial bearing has three Moor heads ‘in their gore cut proper with blood dripping arranged in a triangle’. From the question “Why three Moors heads?“ comes the saying: "One Christian Moir slew three pagan Moors!”

The Morrisons of Prestongrange, Dairsie and Bognie
There is an interesting historical and family linkage between the Morrisons of Prestongrange and the Morrisons of Dairsie. When I first began researching the similarities of the names, marriages and references such as “brother-in-law” I looked for evidence of a family connection. The common link was John Morrison, Baillie of Edinburgh (1581) who purchased Prestongrange in 1609. One of his sons, Alexander Morrison, was a lawman who became Lord of Session in 1626.

His son, Sir Alexander Morrison of Prestongrange (Abt 1611-1683), married Jean Boyd (daughter of the 7th Lord of Kilmarnock, Robert Boyd) on 9 July 1637. Jean’s sister Agnes married Sir George Morrison of Dairsie. Alexander’s sister Bethia married Sir Robert Spottiswood on 6 June 1629. Sir John Spottiswood sold Dairsie to his relation by marriage, Sir George Morrison. Although I could not find any genealogy documents to show the relationship between Alexander and George Morrison, they were related, most probably first cousins. This was strengthened by a reference in “An Ordinance of Pardon and Grace to the People of Scotland [12 April 1654]” in which there is a reference to Sir George Morrison of Prestongrange having to pay Two Thousand Pounds to the Deputy Treasurer in Leith. There is a further reference to George Morrison of Prestongrange in the Parliamentary Register of Edinburgh on 27 April 1689 in the Act for Raising Four Months’ Supply. These references suggest George was originally associated with the Prestongrange family and was then distinguished by his purchase of Dairsie from the Spottiswoods.

The family of John Morrison was skilled at making good marriages to important families. In addition to the Boyd and Spottiswood families, there was also a close tie in with the Dick family. Two of John Morrison’s children, Henry and Elizabeth, married two of John Dick’s children. Henry married Katherine Dick. Elizabeth married William Dick of Braid, and their son, John Dick, married the widow of Sir John Morrison Of Dairsie, Nicola, daughter of Sir George Bruce of Carnock. The Dick family traces its roots back to Denmark as Dyke-Graff, and then later they became well established in the Orkneys. John Dick was in 1628 an “advocate and sheriff depute of Orkney”.

It is therefore easy to conclude the Dairsie and Prestongrange famies are related. Sir Alexander inherited Prestongrange from his father Lord Alexander, and married Jean Boyd around 1637, and Jean’s sister Agnes married George Morrison, presumably a few years later as their first child John was born in 1645.

The historical references to the family suggest Sir George was the son of Sir John Morrison of Dairsie. Apart from the reference to Sir John being married to Nicola Bruce, the only other reference to him claims he was the grand son of John Morrison, Baillie of Edinburgh. Given the relationship between George and Sir Robert Spottiswood and between the Boyd sisters and Alexander and George, it would make reasonable sense that both Alexander and George would at least be cousins from Prestongrange. Since Sir Robert Spottiswood was married to Sir Alexander’s sister Bethia, one could conclude that the Morrisons and Spottiswoods were friends, and this friendship would most likely have been shared with Robert’s older brother Sir John Spottiswood. There is also a connection between the Morrisons and William Sinclair of Roslyn. He married the sister of Sir John and Sir Robert Spottiswood, Ann, in 1610. Thus these three families are also related by marriage.

Heraldic Arms and Mottos

I then came across a document that cemented my suspicions about the family connection between Prestongrange and Dairsie. R R Stodart’s 1881 work “Scottish Arms, being a collection of armorial bearings AD 1370-1678” provided the evidence I had been searching for:

“Moresoun of Darse; or Prestongrang, 1643, is added.
John Morison, bailie and treasurer of Edinburgh, who died in 1615, was called “the rich;” he married Katherine Preston, daughter of the Lord President of the Court of Session, and had a large family. His grandson, Sir John of Dairsie, co. Fife, was father of Sir George of Dairsie; this family made alliances by marriage with houses of rank.
Mr Alexander, a younger son of the bailie, acquired Prestongrange in East Lothian 1628, and was a Senator of the College of Justice 1626. His son, Alexander of Prestongrange, registered arms 1672-78 -argent, three moors’ heads coped proper. Henry, writer to the signet, a cadet of Dairsie, at the same time registered the coat with the three heads on one neck. The last of the Prestongrange family was George of Little Chalfield, Wiltshire, who d.s.p. 1788, his heirs being Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland, and George, Earl of Glasgow.
In 1673 George Morison of Bognie, co. Banff, founder of a family still existing, was granted arms almost identical with those in this MS” (p 155).

To date I have not found any evidence to suggest the Bognie Morrisons are related to the Prestongrange or Dairsie Morrisons. What is interesting though is the timeframe in which all three families register almost identical Arms (1672-3) of three Moors or Saracens heads. The Moir/Muir family also registered Arms in 1672 with three Moors heads.

Reference to James Fairbairn’s book of Crests of the families of Great Britain and Ireland (1905) identifies The Motto Pretio Prudentia Praesat (Prudence excels rewards) attached to several Morrison families as well as Monson and Richardson.

Fairbairn also lists various Morrison families and their crests on pages 398 and 399 (spelling of Morison) and page 400 (spelling of Morrison). On page 402 the names Moore “a Moor’s head” and Muir “a savage’s head” are found in some of their families. The name Monson (page 394) of Preston “three saracens’ heads conjoined in one neck, one each to the dexter and sinister, and one looking upwards” with the motto “Pretio prudentia praesat” would appear to be variation of the the spelling of Morrison of Prestongrange. However, elsewhere Fairbairn spells the Morrisons of Prestongrange, Edinburgh “Morison” and describes their crest as “three saracens’ heads conjoined in one neck, the faces looking upwards and to the dexter and sinister with the motto “Pretio Prudentia Praesat” (p399).

Thus it can be concluded that the Lowland Morrison families have a common link via the Heraldic Arms and Motto that they share. Further to this, it is argued that the Hebridean and Sutherland Morrisons only became Morrisons around 1600 when they changed their name. This Morrison group is also distinct from the Lowland Morrisons by virtue of their Heraldic Arms and Motto which does not reference Moors heads and has a different motto.
The compelling body of evidence that ties the history of the name to St Maurice, evolving to become the Norman name “de la More”, the Norman influence in Scotland after King David 1, the reputed origin of the three Moors heads to Sir Kenneth More, the adoption of the three Moors heads on the family crests of the Morrison Arms and the same motto all suggest the fabled origins of the “Clan Morrison” is just that, a fable. The real origin of the Morrison family in Scotland is Norman, not Norse, and they were Lowlanders not Western Islanders.


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Chronicon Regum Manniae (1158-1223)Clan Morrison Website.
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James Travers-Murison on July 3 2014, 17:06

True our arms do come from the Morisons, but most likely not the Morisons of the Norse King and the Hebrides. Most likely we have no connection to them at all. I explain below the other derivation of Morison which comes from a Norman Knight Templar and the Battle of Toba in Spain. Which in my forthcoming book, purchasable soon, will detail how we are part of the Battle of Bannockburn and the Holy Grail and Scotland's quest eternal for freedom and equality of all people.

James Travers-Murison on July 3 2014, 16:55

My opinion is that this Maurice origin is a misnomer, a canard due to some academic trying to relate his Latin to the name Murison and the fact of the coat of arms being Moors heads. It is quite clear that the coat of arms is of crusader origin and has nothing to do with us being dark skinned Moors. It is of the bloody beheaded heads of three Moors taken in battle. In fact I assert our origin stems from Sir Kenneth Moir, a Knight Templar. I say this because this was the first known use of the Three Moors Heads. They were created after the battle of Toba in Spain for him after he distinguished himself in battle taking the heads of three Moorish princes after the rest of the Templars were slaughtered including the Sir James Douglas carrying Robert Bruce’s heart in casket to take to Jerusalem. I suspect the young Sir Ken returned to Scotland tail between his legs with Bruce’s heart and Douglas body. Ken was in fact a Norman called de la More and his name was changed to Moir meaning in Gaelic ‘brave’ for his feat with the Moor’s heads. I suspect that he settled round Aberdeen in a Templar abbey. ‘In about the year 1187, William the Lion granted part of the Culter lands on the south bank of the river Dee in Aberdeenshire to the Knights Templar and between 1221 and 1236 Walter Bisset of Aboyne founded a preceptory for the Knights Templar, so there is a possible link with the Murison name and the Templars that settled in the north east of Scotland..’ according to who doesn’t explain the link though I have asserted an hypothesis as to why which I have no proof of the Aberdeen connection only the Arms. Some of their sons adopting the name Moir-son, which due to illiteracy got changed to Morison due to an i being incorrectly placed and then Murison about 1600. Spelling was so bad in these days this is not surprising, however coats of arms tend to be less butchered. In fact Sir Ken may not have settled in Aberdeen. ‘Earliest record is 1448, in Scotland when one Simon Mwyrson was recorded as a husbandsman of Abirbothy’. This place is located not in Aberdeen – see where the name is used in a rent book of Cupar Abbey.
Two places in Scotland are designated Cupar — one a
royal burgli and the capital of Fifeshire ; the other a
town in Angus or Forfarshire, resting on the eastern
border of Perthshire, and the site of an important
abbey. To etymologists the name is a puzzle. In
his " Memorials of Angus and Mearns," Mr Jervise
remarks that it may be derived from the Gaelic
Cid-hhar, the back or end of a height or bank. " If a
Gaelic derivation is to be preferred," our correspon-
dent, Dr Charles Mackay, suggests that " the name
may have come from cohhair, a sanctuary or place of
monkish retirement." But Dr Mackay, Professor
Ehys, Dr W. F. Skene, and Dr Thomas M'Lauchlan
are all disposed to think that the name is not Celtic.
It has been suggested that as David I. and his royal
successors brought into Scotland traders from the
Low Countries, the name may be derived from the
Flemish coper, signifying one who exchanges com-
modities. And in a recent publication there is a list
of religious houses in Great Britain that, in the
thirteenth century, sent wool to Flanders.
This could mean the Moirsons originated near Perth, not Aberdeen, in fact not far perhaps from where my Murisons came from. Of course this is mere conjecture and either way Mwyrson may not even be connected to Murison. Again bad spelling could have sounded out Moirson as Mwyrson by a semiliterate clerk of the church. Furthermore since at least 1600s the Morisons with Morison of Preston Grange having used the Three Moors Heads in their arms, hence I am sure we came from them. I suspect some of the sons were less bright and spelt worse and the Murisons were not the most academic of Sir Moirs offspring. Hence my heritage which stems from poor crofter Murisons from Alyth near Dundee, who sought land leaving from Aberdeen way according to our records, which supports an Aberdeen origin. I am fascinated by the Inverness connection of Murisons as my father ended up there during WWII. His Murisons escaped Alyth to make a mint on the jute trade in Dundee where James Murison ended up on Dundee’s Council as an astute jute broker having his father marry into the Thomson family of Seafield Co.
My 50th being on the 700th of the Battle of Bannockburn combined with my father’s service in the Gordon Highlanders and his secretive kanny holding onto his Murison heritage that drove us all mad, which I have only just discovered on his death and even then I had to fight the estate to attain it as he had hidden it away in trusts for donkey’s years, has led to a return to Scotland for me. The point being that I am certain we were connected to Bannockburn and the Templars fighting there and somehow the tide of battle turned to the Scots due to possibly Sir Ranald De La More and the Templar Knights giving a tactical edge in that battle, so ending English tyranny over us against massive odds; causing such a fearful rout of the English that it took them till 1700 to rule over Scotland again. And my last past life was connected to that battle, victory and Templar involvement. And once again Scotland is caught in a battle for freedom from England and as such I have come from Australia to do battle. To join up and fight for freedom! I call on all Murison, Morison, Moir, Muir and the whoever to come back to the Homeland and fight for Freedom and Independence with a pilgrimage to Spain and Toba on the 25th August when the battle was fought there! Come ye yonder Murison clan home to the fair hills of Aberdeenshire to resurrect Scotland the Brave! Email me at

James Travers-Murison on July 3 2014, 16:33

My opinion is that this Maurice origin is a misnomer, a canard due to some academic trying to relate his Latin to the name Murison and the fact of the coat of arms. In fact I assert our origin stems from Sir Kenneth Moir, a Knight Templar. I say this because this was the first known use of the Three Moors Heads. They were created after the battle of Toba in Spain for him after he distinguished himself in battle taking the heads of three Moorish princes after the rest of the Templars were slaughtered including the Sir James Douglas carrying Robert Bruce’s heart in casket to take to Jerusalem. I suspect the young Sir Ken returned to Scotland tail between his legs with Bruce’s heart and Douglas body. Ken was in fact a Norman called de la More and his name was changed to Moir meaning in Gaelic ‘brave’ for his feat with the Moor’s heads. I suspect that he settled round Aberdeen in a Templar abbey. ‘In about the year 1187, William the Lion granted part of the Culter lands on the south bank of the river Dee in Aberdeenshire to the Knights Templar and between 1221 and 1236 Walter Bisset of Aboyne founded a preceptory for the Knights Templar, so there is a possible link with the Murison name and the Templars that settled in the north east of Scotland..’ according to who doesn’t explain the link though I have asserted an hypothesis as to why which I have no proof of the Aberdeen connection only the Arms. Some of their sons adopting the name Moir-son, which due to illiteracy got changed to Morison due to an i being incorrectly placed and then Murison about 1600. Spelling was so bad in these days this is not surprising, however coats of arms tend to be less butchered. In fact Sir Ken may not have settled in Aberdeen. ‘Earliest record is 1448, in Scotland when one Simon Mwyrson was recorded as a husbandsman of Abirbothy’. This place is located not in Aberdeen – see where the name is used in a rent book of Cupar Abbey.
Two places in Scotland are designated Cupar — one a
royal burgli and the capital of Fifeshire ; the other a
town in Angus or Forfarshire, resting on the eastern
border of Perthshire, and the site of an important
abbey. To etymologists the name is a puzzle. In
his " Memorials of Angus and Mearns," Mr Jervise
remarks that it may be derived from the Gaelic
Cid-hhar, the back or end of a height or bank. " If a
Gaelic derivation is to be preferred," our correspon-
dent, Dr Charles Mackay, suggests that " the name
may have come from cohhair, a sanctuary or place of
monkish retirement." But Dr Mackay, Professor
Ehys, Dr W. F. Skene, and Dr Thomas M'Lauchlan
are all disposed to think that the name is not Celtic.
It has been suggested that as David I. and his royal
successors brought into Scotland traders from the
Low Countries, the name may be derived from the
Flemish coper, signifying one who exchanges com-
modities. And in a recent publication there is a list
of religious houses in Great Britain that, in the
thirteenth century, sent wool to Flanders.
This could mean the Moirsons originated near Perth, not Aberdeen, in fact not far perhaps from where my Murisons came from. Of course this is mere conjecture and either way Mwyrson may not even be connected to Murison. Again bad spelling could have sounded out Moirson as Mwyrson by a semiliterate clerk of the church. Furthermore since at least 1600s the Morisons with Morison of Preston Grange having used the Three Moors Heads in their arms, hence I am sure we came from them. I suspect some of the sons were less bright and spelt worse and the Murisons were not the most academic of Sir Moirs offspring. Hence my heritage which stems from poor crofter Murisons from Alyth near Dundee, who sought land leaving from Aberdeen way according to our records, which supports an Aberdeen origin. I am fascinated by the Inverness connection of Murisons as my father ended up there during WWII. His Mursons have escaped Alyth to make a mint on the jute trade in Dundee where James Murison ended up on Dundee’s Council as an astute jute broker having his father marry into the . My 50th being on the 700th of the Battle of Bannockburn combined with my father’s service in the Gordon Highlanders and his secretive kanny holding onto his Murison heritage that drove us all mad, I have only just discovered on his death and even then I had to fight the estate to attain it as he had hidden it away in trusts for donkey’s years. The point being that I am certain we were connected to Bannockburn and the Templars fighting there and somehow the tide of battle turned to the Scots due to us ending English tyranny over us against massive odds. And once again Scotland is caught in a battle for freedom from England and as such I have come from Australia to do battle. To join up and fight for freedom! I call on all Murison, Morison, Moir, Muir and the whoever to come back to the Homeland and fight for Freedom and Independence with a pilgrimage to Spain and Toba on the 25th August when the battle was fought there! Come ye yonder Murison clan home to the fair hills of Aberdeenshire to resurrect Scotland the Brave! Email me at

Dacota Babcock on September 12 2012, 14:55

My grandfather is John Henry Murison, Direct descendant of Murice Murison. My family has been trying to view the family tree through this website using IE and still can't view it.
- I have checked the family tree page & it is working. Please can you try again - DM