5th Friday Meeting with Partners

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Fri Sep 30th 2011

This was an evening meeting with partners at the Bannatyne Spa Hotel. Our speaker was Club President Brion Purdey speaking on General Murray

  General James Murray


Our speaker tonight was our own President, Brion Purdey, who gave us the history of our current venue previously known as the Beauport Park Hotel prior to it being purchased by the current owners Bannatyne's.

Brion explained that Beauport Park was built by General James Murray who was borne in 1721, in Ballencrieff, East Lothian, Scotland the younger son of Alexander Murray, 4th Lord Elibank, and his wife Elizabeth (Betty) Stirling Known as "Bare Betty" a nickname she acquired when she  tried to insist on being called by her proper title .

As a professional soldier he had a long a distinguished career. He joined the 3rd Scots Regiment (in Dutch Service) in 1736 and took part in many notable campaigns including the War of the Austrian Succession, he was  severely wounded during the Siege of Ostend in 1745, and distinguishing himself in the Raid on Lorient in 1746.

Having been posted to Hastings, being very much the fornt line with the French, he married Cordelia Colliern in December 1748, a very famous Hastings family, sadly the marriage was childless.  He was subsequntly made a Jurat, but that's another story.

In the French and (American) Indian War he commanded the 15th Regiment of Foot on the Raid on Rochefort in 1757. Then in 1758 he commanded a battalion in the Siege of Louisbourg. In 1759 he famously served under General James Wolfe at the Battle of Quebec on the Plains of Abraham. Following the defeat of the French, and local militia, he became military governor of the district of Quebec. Beauport now a north-eastern suburb of Quebec City is where he obtained the name for his house "Beauport Park".

Murray was subsequently governor of Minorca from 1774 to 1782 where he married his second wife, Ann Witham, in 1780 and together they had six children. Notably, in 1781, he defended Mahon for seven months, during the American War of Independence, against a Franco-Spanish siege.

He returned to his home, Beauport Park, in Hollington, Sussex, where he died in 1794.

Brion's talk was supported by an excellent slide show containing many portraits of the principle characters in Murray's life as well as old maps and houses of Hastings, many of which are still standing.

Brion's knowledge of local history as demonstrated is extensive and it was fascinating for all of us to hear and understand the connections and the standing that Hastings has within our country's history, other than a Saxon battle in 1066.

RD 1/10/11

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