Murray the Outlaw


Murray the Outlaw lived at Hangingshaw, in a castle, well hidden in the depth of Ettrick Forest, and from there he ruled a great swathe of land, and its people.

Murray was a huge man, said to be seven feet high and, although feared, was respected by the people who depended on him for their well-being and safety. 

He made his own laws and saw that they were kept. Likely wrongdoers would be aware that Murray had his very own hanging tree, which he kept in good working order. 

Now the king, James IV, was well liked, and was a tolerant man. Yet he was not prepared to continue to allow no-go areas within his kingdom and decided that it was time that Murray must fall in line. 

He sent his Earl of Arran to Hangingshaw and invited Murray to come back to Edinburgh under safe conduct to declare his allegiance to the king. 

Murray declined. He wasnít prepared to risk his neck in Edinburgh and elected to remain in the security of Hangingshaw. 

Disappointed, but not surprised, the king assembled an impressive force and declared his intention of leading a hunting expedition in Ettrick Forest. Murray got the message and he offered to meet the king to settle their differences. Being reluctant to challenge Murray in his own ground and very anxious to avoid bloodshed, the king agreed. 

A meeting was held at Permanscore, a remote spot, in the hills between the Tweed and the Yarrow. 

The meeting was a great success and both men apparently enjoyed each otherís company. As a gesture of submission, Murray offered the king the keys to his castle, whereupon the king appointed Murray Sheriff of Ettrick Forest with all the powers that went with it. 

The poacher made a good gamekeeper and the arrangement worked well for both parties and, for many years, Murray served the king, and himself well, until one day he was killed by a Scottís arrow near Newark Castle. The Scotts of Buccleuch had long been at feud.


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