Origins and history

The surname Muir is a topographical name meaning someone who lived on a moor. The name is derived from the Scots form of the Middle English word “more” which means moor or fen.



Mures of Rowallan



The family is said to have come from Ireland and the name to be of celtic origin. 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 Cumyn 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.

The conjoined arms of the first Muir of Rowallan were visible on the oldest part of the castle up until the 18th century.

Elizabeth Mure, daughter of Sir Adam Mure of Rowallan and Jannet Mure, was mistress to Robert Stewart (who later became Robert II of Scotland in 1371). Later on November 22, 1347 she married him by Papal dispensation to legitimize their previously born children. After their legal marriage, Elizabeth Mure was styled Countess of Atholl, and her surname became Stewart. Elizabeth died sometime before 1355.

Sir J. Gilchrist Muir built two chapels, one at the Well named for Saint Laurence and the other at Banked named for Saint Michael. The vestiges of these were still visible in 1876. He also built the chapel of Kilmarnock, commonly called Muir’s Isle (sic).

One of the Sir Robert Mures was slain at the Battle of Sark. His namesake was called the Rud of Rowallane, being large in stature, very strong and prone to pugilism; these characteristics neatly define the meaning of this archaic Scots word. He wasted his inheritance and during his lifetime a protracted feud took place with the house of Ardoch (Craufurdland) which resulted in much bloodshed. The ‘Rud’ resigned his lands in favour of his son John, who married a mistress of James IV.



Campbells, Lairds of Rowallan

Sir William Mure was the sixteenth and last Mure of Rowallan. He served in Germany under Gustavus Adolphus. One of his daughters married Sir James Campbell of Lawers, third son of the Earl of Loudoun, who thus became Laird of Rowallan. His son, Major-General James Mure Campbell of Rowallan (1726 - 86), became the fifth Earl of Loudoun in 1782. His only daughter’s great-grandson, Charles Edward Abney-Hastings, eleventh Earl of Loudoun, succeeded in 1874 and held the lands of Rowallan as Laird.



Cadet branches

Sir Adam Mure’s three younger brothers gave rise to numerous branches of the Mure family who settled in Caldwell, Aucheneil, Thornton, Glanderstoun, Treescraig, Auchendrane, Cloncaird, Craighead Park, Middleston, Spittleside and Brownhill.



Clan motto

      Motto - Durum Patientia Franco (I overcome difficulties by patience).

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