Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Lexicographer James Murray's Belfast wedding, Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, 12 August 1862

James Murray
was the Scotsman of humble origin who – through talent, graft and resolve – made his way into the academic élite and delivered the ailing Oxford English Dictionary project – I've blogged about him here before. I've just found in the biography Caught in the Web of Words, which was written by his grand-daughter K. M. Elisabeth Murray, that in 1862 James married Hawick-born Maggie Scott. She was an infant school mistress, "refined and talented" and was "resident in Ireland" at the time. The wedding took place on 12 August at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast.  Their wedding photograph is in the biography (shown above).

James applied for the post of headmaster of the Parish school at Ashkirk near Hawick, but was unable to apply as "the school managers would only consider a member of the Established Church". The newly weds relocated to Hawick anyway, where they both were employed by Hawick Academy.

Tragically their infant daughter Anna died in 1864, and Maggie died in 1865. (The recent film of James Murray's life – The Professor and the Madman – is excellent).