Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Angus Malcolm Wolfe Murray 1937-2023

 Angus Malcolm Wolfe Murray, who died 15 January, 2023, aged 85, was a scion of the Murray baronets, of Blackbarony, a novelist, film critic and amateur cricketer.

He was born 20 May, 1937, son of Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Victor Alexander Wolfe Murray (1908-1985), and his first wife the Lady Grizel Mary Boyle (1913-1942), eldest daughter of the 8th Earl of Glasgow (1874-1963). His mother died in a wartime disaster. Onboard the SS Laconia when it was attacked, she was first rescued by a German U boat flying a red cross flag, but pushed off in a lifeboat when the U boat was attacked by a US bomber and had to dive. Most passengers, including the pregnant Lady Grizel, perished. Angus Wolfe Murray was five. Subsequently, he was brought up in the extended family, initially by his grandmother the Countess of Glasgow, at Kelburn Castle, until his father, Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Alexander Wolfe Murray, remarried, to Polish aristocrat Zofia Jaxa-Chamiec (1919-68).

As a young man, Angus was hailed as one of the most promising writers of his generation when his first novel, The End of Something Nice, a poignant tale about two lonely children, was published in 1967. A large advance and high expectations lead to a long personal struggle with the follow-up. After two years of writing, he tore the manuscript into tiny pieces and started again. Eventually, Resurrection Shuffle was published in 1978. A more experimental novel influenced by the ideas of that era, it was a flop and he never published another novel.

On 11 Nov, 1961, he married Stephanie Todd (born 1941, who died 27 June, 2017), daughter of Maj Hadden Royden Todd (1910-44), and his wife the former Wendy Robins, by whom he had four sons, Kim (b 1962), Rupert (b 1963), Gavin (b 1966) and Magnus (b 1968).

The family home was Glenternie House in Peebles, owned by his father.

In the Nineties, Angus moved to a remote off-grid cottage called Hopehead, miles from a gravel road, on the Stobo Castle estate, where he lived a Spartan existence, mostly without electricity. In later life, he had a fifth son, Calum. Angus remained close to Stephanie and spent increasing periods of time with her until, in 2010, they moved back in together at Glenlude House in the Borders.

After Stephanie’s death in 2017, Angus was seriously injured in a car accident. Life became more difficult after that. He eventually moved to a cottage near Kelburn, where he had spent part of his childhood.

A funeral and memorial was held at Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, at 11am on 9 February, 2023, followed by interment in Traquair Cemetery.


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