Fochabers from the air
Present day Fochabers from the air

The Murdoch family can be traced back to Fochabers, Moray, Scotland where Peter Murdoch was born in 1769. A small village in the Parish of Bellie it is located on the East bank of the river Spey. However, the present day Fochabers dates from only 1776. Previously, the village of Fochabers was slightly to the North, nearer to Gordon CastleGordon Castle. The fourth Duke of Gordon wasn't too keen on the town being quite so close to Gordon Castle and at the beginning of 1776, he executed a plan to move its inhabitants to a new site, the planning of which was undertaken by the architect John Baxter of Edinburgh.

For unknown reasons Peter Murdoch, a customs house officer, moved down to London, where his son William Murdoch went on to become a widely respected General Practitioner and surgeon. Studying medicine in Paris William returned to England to become advisor to the local council and held many an esteemed post, one of which was his appointment as Surgeon to the Thames Tunnel Works. Reportedly a man of almost exceptional genius he was conversant in an astonishing number of languages, including but not limited to, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portugese, Dutch, Norwegian, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian. Dr William Murdoch married Harriet Beatson, daughter of the Rotherhithe shipbreaker David Beatson and went on to have a number of children, all of which but one went on to pursue a medical career. The one that didn't, Peter, decided to enter a career in advertising. For some reason he also moved to Cheshire, albeit only for a brief period, where his son Douglas Charles Stuart Murdoch was born.

After this brief spell in Cheshire the family move north to Manchester, and then on to the Toxteth Park area of Liverpool. Douglas Murdoch and his wife Josephine (nee Tipping) have quite a few children here, two of which they name after the famous jockeys Mornington and Kempton Cannon. Presumably there was an obvious interest in horses at this point in the family because at some point between 1910 and 1920 the whole family move down to Newmarket in Suffolk.