Alexander Murray (1775-1813)

Alexander Murray (1775-1813)

Orientalist

Alexander Murray was the son of a shepherd who, despite barely two years of schooling, went on to become the greatest linguist of Scottish origin. He was appointed Professor of Oriental Languages at the University of Edinburgh in 1812 but died six months later at the age of 38. An obelisk erected at his birth-place is known locally as "Murray's monument".

Birth in 1775

Alexander Murray was baptised on 27 October 1775, the son of Robert Murray and Mary Cochran in Donkittrick. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Minnigaff has been annotated with a note that Alexander was the future professor of oriental languages at the University of Edinburgh. 

Baptism entry for Alexander Murray

Baptism entry for Alexander Murray in the OPR for Minnigaff (37 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 876/1, page 70

Death in 1813

Reverend Dr Alexander (abbreviated to Alexr) Murray, professor of orientals, was buried on 19 April 1813.  The Old Parish Register for Edinburgh records in the final column that the place of interrment was 'at his own monument'.

Burial entry for Alexander Murray

Burial entry for Alexander Murray in the OPR for Edinburgh (10 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/99, page 179