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My Life: Robert Moray

Robert Moray

Sir Robert Moray

Military Man – Scientist – French Spy

Royal Society Founder – Freemason

Robert Moray was born on the 10th March 1609 at Craigie, Perthshire, Scotland.  The son of Perthshire laird; Sir Mungo Moray, and his mother the daughter of George Halket of Pitfirran, Dumferline.

Moray was educated firstly at St.Andrew’s University in Scotland, and continued his education in France.

In 1633, Moray served with the Scots Guards of Louis XIII.  He became a spy for Cardinal Richelieu.  In 1638, the General Assembly of Scotland’s Covanters rebelled against Charles I.  Richelieu promoted Moray to Lieutenant Colonel in Louis Scots Guards, and sent him to Scotland.  His commission was to recruit Scottish soldiers.  He also had a personal objective, assisting fellow Scots in their dispute with Charles, which would cause trouble for England.

Moray, appointed quartermaster – general of Covanter’s Army in 1640, marched south with Scottish forces, and defeated Earl Stafford’s Army at Newcastle.

On the 20th May 1641 Robert Moray was initiated as a Freemason in Newcastle by General Alexander Hamilton, commander of the Covenanter’s and John Mylne, Master Mason to King Charles I.

By 1643, acted as liaison officer between Covenanter’s Army and Charles I from his Oxford home.  On the 10th January 1643, Charles knighted him, and upon return to France, he was promoted to full Colonel of the Scots Guards.  On the 24th November 1643, was captured by the Duke of Bavaria and held prisoner for eighteen months.  On the 28th April 1645, freed after ransom of £16,500 was paid by the French for his release.

Following the execution of Charles I. Moray opened talks at the bequest of the Earl of Lauderdale, that saw Charles II be crowned King of the Scots at Scone in 1650. Charles campaign against the English and Cromwell lay in shatters at the “Battle of Dunbar.”

Charles had no option but to flee to the safety of France, leaving Moray in Scotland.

In 1652 Robert Moray married Sophia Lindsey and, in the July, returned to Scotland, to drum up support… pushing that Charles should sit on the English throne, it was to be a failed attempt.  Sophia, Robert Morays wife died on the 2nd January 1653, in child birth.

Cromwell defeated Scottish forces in July 1654 at the “Battle of Loch Garry.”  Moray was accused of betrayal towards the King, and cleared of any wrong doing upon appeal.  With this chapter in his life over, returned to France and would never remarry.

Aged forty-six, Moray resigned from the Scots Guards, and spent his time in Maastricht studying science.

In the September, attended Charles in Paris, where he took part in negotiations to have him take his rightful place on England’s throne.  In late June of 1660 the King returned to England, with Moray following up at a later time.  Charles greeted his friend warmly, and gave him quarters in the Palace of Whitehall, near Horse Guards Gate.

Following Charles II’s restoration Moray became one of the Royal Society’s founders, and their first official meeting was held on the 28th November 1660 at Gresham College, Bishopsgate, London, with Moray as its first president.

In February of 1661, Moray became a Privy Councillor and later Lord of the Exchequer.

On the 4th July 1673, Robert Moray died at his London residence, and buried in Westminster Abbey by order of the King.

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