William Mure (1718–1776)

William Mure (December 1718 – 25 March 1776), known as others of his family as William Mure of Caldwell, was a Scottish lawyer and politician. He became a baron of the Scots exchequer, and was a friend of Prime Minister Lord Bute and David Hume.[1][2]

William Mure
William Mure b1718.jpg
Lord Rector of Glasgow University
In office
Preceded by1st Baronet Miller
Succeeded by4th Earl of Selkirk
Baron of the Court of Exchequer in Scotland
In office
Member of Parliament
for Renfrewshire
In office
1742 – 1761
Preceded byAlexander Cunninghame
Succeeded byPatrick Crauford
Personal details
BornDecember 1718
Died(1776-03-25)25 March 1776
Spouse(s)Anne Graham
ParentsWilliam Mure
Anne Stewart
RelativesSir James Stewart (grandfather)
Sir James Stewart, Bt. (uncle)
Sir James Stewart, 2nd Bt. (cousin)
William Mure (grandson)
David Mure (grandson)
William Mure (great-grandson)
4th Baron Ribblesdale (2x great-grandson)
Alma materGlasgow University

Early lifeEdit

Mure was born late in 1718, the eldest son and successor to William Mure of Caldwell in Ayr and Renfrewshire, by his wife Anne Stewart, daughter of Sir James Stewart (1635–1713),[3] Lord Advocate, and widow of James Maxwell of Blawarthill. His mother's brother was James Stewart, 1st Baronet (1681–1727).[4] Through his father, he was descended from William Mure (1594–1657), the writer, and a descendant of the Mures of Rowallan.[5] He had one sister, Agnes Mure (d. 1758), who married Rev. Patrick Boyle (1717–1798), son of John Boyle, 2nd Earl of Glasgow.[6]

His father dying in April 1722, he was brought up at home by his mother, under the tutorship of William Leechman; later Mure helped Leechman to his position of Principal of Glasgow University.[2]


Mure graduated from Glasgow University in 1730, studied law at Edinburgh and Leyden, and travelled during 1741 in France and Holland. Returning to Scotland in November 1742, he was elected Member of Parliament for Renfrewshire, a seat which he held without opposition during three parliaments till 1761, when he was appointed a baron of the Scots exchequer.[7][3] He spoke rarely, and attended irregularly, his principal interest lying in agricultural improvements.[1][2][8]

He is best known as the friend of Lord Bute and David Hume.[9] He helped Bute with the management of the Bute estates, became a close friend and adviser, and as Bute rose in politics was eventually one of the most influential men in Scotland, with input into its local affairs and the distribution of Scottish patronage.[9] He corresponded much with Hume from 1742, and Hume visited Mure's house at Abbey Hill, near Holyrood. Apropos of his History Hume wrote Mure in 1756: ‘If you do not say that I have done both parties justice, and if Mrs. Mure be not sorry for poor King Charles, I shall burn all my papers and return to philosophy.’[2]

In 1764 and 1765, he was Lord Rector of Glasgow University, and was again put in nomination for that post in 1776, but was defeated.

Mure was known in Scottish literary society, and published privately tracts on political economy. Letters addressed to him and other papers are published with a portrait in the ‘Caldwell Papers,’ vols. ii. and iii.[2][10]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1752, he married Anne Grahame, daughter of James Grahame, Lord Easdale (1696–1750).[11] Lord Easdale, the second son of John Graham of Dougalston (1669–1722),[12][13] became an advocate on 9 February 1723. He was appointed a Judge of the Court of Session on 3 June 1749, succeeding Robert Dundas of Arniston, and received the title of Lord Easdale. He only served briefly, as he died at Edinburgh in August 1750.[11] Together, William and Anne had two sons and four daughters. His children included:

He died at Caldwell on 25 March 1776 of gout in the stomach.[3]


His granddaughter, Catherine Rannie (1790–1821), who married John Campbell Swinton of Kimmerghame (1777–1867) in 1809,[15] was the mother of Archibald Campbell Swinton (1812–1890), the author and politician,[16] and James Rannie Swinton (1816–1888), the portrait artist.[17] His grandsons included William Mure (1799–1860), an MP for Renfrewshire from 1846 to 1855, and David Mure, Lord Mure (1810–1891), an MP for Buteshire from 1859 to 1865.[14] His great-grandson, William Mure (1830–1880), was also an MP for Renfrewshire, from 1874 to 1880. Through his great-granddaughter, Emma Mure (1833–1911), who married Thomas Lister, 3rd Baron Ribblesdale (1828–1876), he was the great-great grandfather of Thomas Lister, 4th Baron Ribblesdale (1854–1925), who married the American heiress, Ava Lowle Willing (1868–1958), the former wife of John Jacob Astor IV (1864–1912).[18]


  1. ^ a b William Mure. Glasgow University (multi-tab page)
  2. ^ a b c d e Hamilton 1894.
  3. ^ a b c Lady Haden-Guest, Edith. "MURE, William (1718-76), of Caldwell, Renfrew". historyofparliamentonline.org. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b H. Pirie-Gordon, editor, Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, 15th edition, (London, England: Burke's Peerage Ltd, 1937), page 1651. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Landed Gentry, 15th ed.
  5. ^ Wroth 1894.
  6. ^ "Person Page - Anne Steuart". thepeerage.com. The Peerage. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  7. ^ "William Mure (Mure, William, baron of the Scots exchequer, 1718-1776, bookplate)". onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  8. ^ Eddy, Matthew. The Language of Mineralogy: John Walker, Chemistry and the Edinburgh Medical School, 1750-1800. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 9780754663324. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  9. ^ a b Russell, Colin (29 October 2014). Who Made the Scottish Enlightenment?: A Personal, Biographical and Analytical Enquiry. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 9781499091052. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  10. ^ Mure, William; Mure, Hew; Robinson, Thomas; Mure, William; Jardine, George; Mure, William (1883). Selections from the family papers preserved at Caldwell . Paisley, A. Gardner. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  11. ^ a b Brunton, George; Haig, David; Lockhart, James S. (1836). An Historical Account of the Senators of the College of Justice: From Its Institution in MDXXXII. Glasgow | Aberdeen | London: Edinburgh Printing Company. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  12. ^ "John Graham b. 20 May 1669 d. 1722: MacFarlane Clan & Families Genealogy". clanmacfarlanegenealogy.info. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Dougalston". parksandgardens.org. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  14. ^ a b Moore, Dudley; Rowlands, Edward; Karadimas, Nektarios (17 March 2014). In Search of Agamemnon: Early Travellers to Mycenae. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 9781443857765. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  15. ^ BP2003 volume 3, page 3842
  16. ^ "Swinton, James Rannie" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  17. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  18. ^ "Lord Ribblesdale Dead". New York Times. 22 October 1925. Retrieved 11 August 2008. Lord Ribblesdale, who wed in 1919 the late John Jacob Astor's first wife, the former Miss Ava L. Willing, known as Mrs. John Astor after she had divorced the New Yorker, died this morning at his mansion in Grosvener Square at the age of 71. His two sons had been killed in wars, and the barony is now extinct. He gave to the National Gallery as a memorial to his sons a portrait of himself in hunter's costume, done by Sargent.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Member of Parliament for Renfrewshire
1742 – 1761
Succeeded by
Patrick Crauford