James Murray of Kilbaberton, (d.1634), was a Scottish master wright and architect. He served as the King's Master of Works under James VI, and Charles I. He was one of the first men in Scotland to be called an architect.
His father James Murray (d.1615) was a master wright and was appointed Overseer of the King's Works in Scotland on 4 May 1601 and on the same day James Murray younger was made principal master wright and gunner, as his father had been. The younger James was appointed Overseer in 1605, when his father resigned the post, and two years later was appointed principal Master of Works in Scotland, succeeding David Cunningham of Robertland.
Murray was granted land near Juniper Green, outside Edinburgh, in 1612. Between 1622 and 1623 he designed and built Baberton House as his home here. The innovative symmetrical u-plan house still stands, although it was extended in the 18th century, and now serves as offices. Murrays initials, together with those of his wife, Katherine Weir, appear on the house.
The north range or quarter of Linlithgow Palace had collapsed in 1607. In February 1619 Murray received permission to demolish part of the remaining masonry adjacent to the north-west corner. November 1619 there was a dispute amongst his workforce at Linlithgow, the Privy Council of Scotland intervened and the mason John Service was imprisoned in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and ten other masons were ordered to work for Murray under the conditions he set. Murray was asked by the Privy Council to calculate how much lead would be needed to cover the roof of the new north range at Linlithgow, and he arranged to buy 3,000 stone weight of lead from an Edinburgh merchant.
Murray drew up plans for Parliament House in Edinburgh in 1633, and the building was constructed to his design over the following years. As Master of Works he was also in charge of works at Linlithgow Palace, the reconstruction of Holyrood Palace prior to the coronation of Charles I, and additions to the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle.
- McWilliam, p.54
- Colvin, p.567
- Letters to King James the Sixth from the Queen, Prince Henry, Prince Charles etc (Edinburgh, 1835), p. lxxxvi
- Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, vol. 8 (Edinburgh, 1887), 166, 673.
- (Historic Environment Scotland & LB6129)
- Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, vol. 11 (Edinburgh, 1894), p. 522.
- Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, vol. 12 (Edinburgh, 1895), p. 120, 335.
- Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, vol. 12 (Edinburgh, 1895), p. 374, 428, 439-40.
- Colvin, Howard (1978) A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840 John Murray
- McWilliam, Colin (1994) The Buildings of Scotland: Lothian, Penguin
- Historic Environment Scotland. "Baberton House, including gates, gatepiers and boundary walls (Category A) (LB6129)". Retrieved 28 March 2019.
David Cunninghame of Robertland
| Master of Work to the Crown of Scotland
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