James Moray

Born of a distinguished landed family, Moray left Abercairny with neither wealth nor heirs. He was, however, an important member of Perthshire society during this period, and appointed two ministers who later played an interesting part in the events which led to the Disruption.

18 Oct 1780 - 1840
Charles Moray of Abercairny d.1810. His father, also James Moray of Abercairny, died in 1777 and was commemorated with a fiddle tune by Neil Gow (you can listen to it here).
The eldest daughter and heiress of Sir William Stirling bart. of Ardoch, d.1820 (3)
He doesn't appear ever to have had a townhouse in Edinburgh.
Abercairney, Perthshire
Religious views
He was patron of livings in Perthshire: in 1815 he presented John Clark to Blackford parish, and in 1817 Alexander Maxtone (probably a relation of Margaret Maxtone) to Foulis Wester. (5) The Minutes of Blackford United Free Church (documenting the reasons for disruption) describe how in 1775 the talented evangelical Sir Henry Moncrieff (a native of Blackford) was translated from that charge to St Cuthbert's in 1775, and from that day 'the darkness began to come down upon the Parish of Blackford' with a succession of 'true Moderates of the old school':
'Under their Ministry the parish fell asleep. People in general became careless, Sunk in Carnal Security and other indifference. The work of the Holy Spirit was denied, Conversion laughed at. Asking the prayers of the Congregation for the Sick considered an old Superstition, Ministerial visitation given up and Ministerial examination a mere mockery. The pure Gospel was never preached but in its stead a cold heartless morality. Such was the state of the matters when the Evangelical party got the majority in the General Assembly held in Edinburgh in 1834.' (6)
Clark, who was still minister in 1843, preached the sermon at the induction of Rev Robert Young, presented to Auchterarder by the Earl of Kinnoul, a call signed by two families and vetoed by 287 in the congregation: the Presbytery of Auchterarder (including Clark and Maxtone (8)) were then obliged to reject the call, but it was upheld ultimately by the House of Lords, precipitating the Disruption. (7)
Magistrate and Lieutenant Depute for Perthshire (4)
Wealth at death
His furniture etc at Abercairney was valued at £3000. The rest of his wealth had been put in trust in 1831 for payment of his debts.
Chapel connection
1806 (wedding)
Married on
1 May 1806
Elizabeth Erskine
Archibald Campbell, Margaret Maxtone and Mary Anne Erskine were from neighbouring estates around Crieff.


  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory
  3. Blackwoods, vol 7 (1820) p.363
  4. Bernard Burke, Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry fifth edition (London, Harrison, 1871) p.883
  5. Caledonian Mercury 22 April 1815 and 23 January 1817
  6. Extract from the minute book of Blackford United Free Church 1843/4 quoted on Blackford Parish Church Website accessed 24 October 2011
  7. W.B. MacDougall, Chronicles of Strathearn (David Phelps, Crieff, 1896)
  8. Charles Robertson, Report of the Auchterarder case (Black, Edinburgh, 1838) vol.1 p.10

Back to index