Clan Hannay

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Clan Hannay
File:Clan member crest badge - Clan Hannay.svg
Crest: A cross crosslet fitchee issuing out of a crescent Sable[1][2]
Motto Per Ardua Ad Alta (Through difficulties to Heaven)[1][2]
File:Hannay of Kirkdale arms.svg
Dr. David R Hannay
Chief of the name and arms of Hannay
Historic seat Sorbie Tower

Clan Hannay is a Lowland Scottish clan.[1]


Origins of the clan

The Hannays are from the ancient princedom of Galloway.[1] The name appears to have originally been spelt Ahannay but its origin is uncertain.[1] It could derive from the Scottish Gaelic O'Hannaidh or Ap Shenaeigh.[1]

Wars of Scottish Independence

In 1296 Gilbert de Hannethe appears on the Ragman Rolls submitting to Edward I of England.[1] This could be the same Gilbert who acquired the lands of Sorbie.[1] The Hannays were suspicious of Robert the Bruce's ambitions and instead supported the claim of John Balliol.[1] Balliol was descended from the Celtic Princes of Galloway through his mother, Lady Devorgilla.[1]

15th & 16th centuries

File:Sorbie Tower.JPG
Sorbie Tower, ancient seat of Clan Hannay.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the Hannays extended their influence over the surrounding area including the building of Sorbie Tower which remained the seat of the Clan Chief until the seventeenth century.[1]

17th century

At the beginning of the 17th century the Clan Hannay was locked in a deadly feud with the Clan Murray of Broughton.[1] It resulted in the Hannays being outlawed.[1] The consequences of this were that many Hannays emigrated to Ulster, where the name is still found in large numbers in County Antrim, County Down and County Armagh.[1]

Patrick Hannay had a distinguished military career and was patronised by Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, daughter of James VI of Scotland and sister of Charles I of England.[1] After the death of Queen Anne who was the wife of James VI in 1619 Patrick Hannay composed two eulogies and in return had many published on his own death, one of which said: 'Go on in virtue, aftertimes will tell, none but Hannay could have done so well'.[1]

Possibly the best known Hannay was James Hannay, the Dean of St Giles' in Edinburgh who had the claim to fame of being the target of Jenny Geddes' stool.[1] In an infamous incident in 1637 the Dean had begun to read the new liturgy when with a cry of "Thou false thief, dost thou say Mass at my lug?" was heard and a stool came flying from the congregation, thrown by an incensed Jenny Geddes. The incident began a full-scale riot which took the town guard to control.[1]

Sir Robert Hannay of Mochrum was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia In 1630.[1] From the Sorbie roots the Hannays of Grennan, Knock, Garrie and Kingsmuir also evolved.[1]

The modern Clan Hannay

In 1582, Alexander Hannay, a younger son of the chief, Hannay of Sorbie, purchased the lands of Kirkdale which were in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.[1] His son was John Hannay of Kirkdalewho established the line which is today recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms as the chief of the name and arms of Hannay.[1]

A younger son of Hannay of Kirkdale was Alexander Hannay who was a professional soldier who served in India, rising to the rank of colonel.[1] His elder brother was Sir Samuel Hannay of Kirkdale who succeeded to the title and estates of his kinsman, Sir Robert Hannay of Mochrum, Baront.[1] The next Baronet was Sir Samuel Hannay who entered the service of the Habsburg Emperors and built himself a mansion on his family lands.[1] It is this mansion which is said to have provided the inspiration for Walter Scott's novel, Guy Mannering.[1] Sir Samuel died in 1841 and the estate passed to his sister, Mary, and from her to her nephew, William Ransford Hannay, from whom the present chief is descended.[1]

Clan Chief

Clan chief: Chief Ramsay William Rainsford Hannay Died 10 January 2004 – Gatehouse-of-Fleet, Scotland and was succeeded by his son, Dr. David R Hannay.

Clan castles

In 1965 the ancient clan seat, Sorbie Tower, was presented to the clan trust and a maintenance scheme was put in place.[1]

External links


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 Way, George and Squire, Romily. Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). Published in 1994. Pages 162 - 163.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Clan Hanay Profile Retrieved 6 September 2013.