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The Scottish Nation

HANNAY, a surname originally Ahannay, and also met with as De Anneth, belonging to an old family in Galloway, supposed to be of Scandinavian origin, which is first mentioned about the end of the 13th century, cut without any lands named as belonging to them at that period. In the Ragman Roll, amongst those barons who swore fealty to Edward I. In 1296, occurs the name of Gilbert de Hanyethe. The family early obtained the lands of Sorby or Sorbie, from which the parish of that name is called, and which they retained until the latter part of the 17th century. Their arms occur in the celebrated MS. Volume of emblazonments of Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, lord lion king at arms. Sorbie-place, the seat of the family from the reign of James IV., was anciently a tower of some strength, and is now a picturesque ruin, surrounded with wood, about a mile east of the village of Sorbie. The lands of Sorbie at present belong to the earl of Galloway.

      Various personages of the family of Hannay occur in the public records; – as John de Hanna, 1424, Robert Hannay of Sorbie, son of Odo Hannay of Sorbie, 1488, Alexander Hannay of Sorbie, 1500, &c. Patrick Hannay sat for Wigtown in the Scottish parliament in 1581; and another Patrick Hannay in 1637. One of them married a daughter of Stewart of Garlies, ancestor of the earl of Galloway, early in the sixteenth century, another of the race was James Hannay, dean of Edinburgh, in the time of Charles I., the same who, on reading the liturgy, by appointment of the king, on July 23, 1637, in the Cathedral church of St. Giles, Edinburgh, was assailed by sticks, stones, bludgeons, joint-stools – the day of the “Jenny Geddes” riot. Another, Sir Patrick Hannay, was director of the Chancery in Ireland in the same age.

      In 1630, Sir Robert Hannay of Mochrum, descended from the Sorbie family, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia. He left a daughter, Jane, married to Sir Robert Reading of Dublin, whose blood flows in the noble houses of Hamilton and Abercorn.

      After the Sorbie estates went to the earl of Galloway in the latter part of the seventeenth century, there still survived some junior branches holding lands of less value in Wigtownshire. Of these were Kirkdale, – the pedigree of which is given below, – and Grennan. Hugh Hannay of Grennan occurs in 1612; and another Hugh in 1631; and John Hannay in Grennan was fined for nonconformity in 1662. Grennan ultimately devolved, through a co-heiress, on Dr. Alexander Hannay of Glasgow, whose widow (daughter of James Hannay of Blairinnie) only sold it in our time. Robert Hannay, Esq., East India merchant, Maxwell Hannay, and others, are of the doctor’s family. A male scion of Grennan, sprung from a marriage in Charles the Second’s reign with one of the M’Cullochs of Myrton, was settled at Knock and Garrarie in Wigtownshire, before 1700, as kinsmen to the Maxwells of Monreith. Alexander Hannay, Esq., Banker, Dumfries, and Elliott Hannay, Esq., War Office, London, descend from the Knock branch. Of this line, too, Robert Hannay, son of John Hannay of Knock, and born in 1720, married a daughter of Maxwell of Newlaw, a lady who was fifth in descent from the great John Maxwell, Lord Herries, of Queen Mary’s time. Descended from this marriage are, Captain Hannay of Ballylough, Antrim, Ireland; John Hannay, Esq. of Lincluden, Kirkcudbrightshire; James Lennox Hannay of the English bar, and many others; also, James Hannay, Esq., appointed in 1860 editor of the Edinburgh Courant, whose father and grandfather both possessed land in Galloway, and who, besides the Maxwell descent, has a descent also from the old M’Dowalls, Irvings, and Browns of Carsluith. Born at Dumfries, February 17, 1827, he was partly educated in England. He entered the royal navy in 1840 as a midshipman, and served for the following five years on the Mediterranean station. In 1845, he left the service, and settling in London, devoted himself to literature. At the general election of 1857, he became a candidate for the representation in parliament of the Dumfries burghs, which his father had twice contested in other days, but was defeated, – polling 185 votes. The following is a list of his works: –

      Sketches in Ultra-Marine: a Collection of Naval Papers. (1848-52).

      Singleton Fontenoy. A Naval Novel. 1850, 3 vols. 8vo. 1853, cheap edition.

      Satire and Satirists. Six Lectures, delivered in the summer of 1853, in London, 1853-4.

      Eustace Conyers, A Novel. 1855, 3 vols. 1857, cheap edition, 12mo. Translated into the German.

      Essays contributed to the Quarterly Review. 1861.

      Patrick Hannay, M.A., of the Sorbie family, published, in 1622, a book of curious poems which once had reputation, but are now very rare and almost forgotten. He was the grandson of Donald Hannay of Sorbie, and is supposed to have employed his sword in the service of the unfortunate but high-spirited queen of Bohemia, the daughter of our James VI., and wife of the elector Palatine. These poems procured him some celebrity, and among his eulogists were “Edward Leuenthorp, Robert Hannay, Johannes Dunbar, John Marshall, John Harmer, J.M.C., William Lithgow, and Robert Alane.” The following is a specimen of the laudatory epistles which were dedicated to him. Galdus, therein referred to, is the celebrated Galgacus, the leader of the confederated Caledonians against the Romans. From his having been thought to have learned the art of war in South Britain, he was called Galdus or Gallus, the British work Gal signifying a stranger. In Scottish history he is known by the name of Corbredus Galdus (History of Galloway, 1841, vol. i. p. 66, Note.) Some accounts affirm that he was slain in a battle on the banks of the Cree, and interred at Cairnholy. The poem is given as originally printed:


                  “Hannay, thy worth bewrayes well whence thou’rt sprunge,
                  And that that honour’d Name thou dost not wrong;
                  As if from Sorby’s stock no branch could sprout,
                  But should with rip’ning time bear golden fruit.
                  Thy Ancestors were ever worthy found,
                  Else Galdus’ grave had grac’d no Hannays ground.
                  Thy father’s father Donald well was knowne
                  To the English by his sword, but thou art showne
                  By pen (times changing) Hannay’s are
                  Active in acts of worth be’t peace or warre,
                  Goe on in virtue, Aftertimes will tell,
                  None but a Hannay could have done so well.

      “King Galdus (that worthie) who so bravely fought with the Romans, lies buried in the lands of Patrick Hannay of Kirkdale in Galloway. Jo. Marshall.”

      The titles of his works are: – ‘Two Elegies on the Death of Queen Anne; with Epitaphs.’ London, 1619, 4to. ‘A Happy Husband; or Directions for a Maid to choose her Mate. Together with a Wife’s Behaviour after Marriage,’ London, 1619, 8vo. ‘Philomel, or the Nightingale, Sheretine and Mariana; A Happy Marriage; Elegies on the Death of Queen Anne; Songs and Sonnets.’ London, 1622, 8vo. Of the latter collection, Mr. Lowndes, in his bibliographer’s Manual (Part iv., p. 992), says, “A remarkable volume in five parts; engraved title by Cyprian Passe, in eleven compartments, the bottom centre occupied with a portrait of the author.” The last portion, ‘Songs and Sonnets,’ was reprinted in 1841, in square 12mo, 42 pages, by Mr. E. V. Utterson, at his private press at Beldornie, Isle of Wight, 12 copies only. One of them is in the Advocates’ Library. In 1858 a copy sold for £1 19s. An original copy of the ‘Two Elegies on the Death of Queen Anne,’ small 4to, (London, 1619) is also in the Advocates’ Library.

      A copy of his Poems, the rare collection in 5 parts, published in 1622, with the original frontispiece by C. de Passe, and portraits of the author and Anne of Denmark, and a copy of it cleverly executed by H. Rodd, sold at the sale of Archdeacon Wrangham’s library for £40. The same work, with a portrait of Anne of Denmark, by Crispin de Passe, inserted, brought at Bindley’s sale, £35 14s. It was resold at Perry’s sale for £38 6s. Again, at the sale of the books of Sir M. M. Sykes, it brought £42. Again, at the sale of the library of Rev. M. Rice, it brought £21. At Heber’s sale, the same book, wanting title and frontispiece, sold for £3 9s.

      A person of the same surname, Robert Hannay, published at London in 1694 ‘An Account of the Proceedings of the Quakers, at their Yearly Meeting in London, on the 28th of the Third Month,’ 1694, 4to.


      In 1582, Alexander Hannay, a younger son of the family of Sorbie, purchased the lands of Kirkdale, stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and obtained a charter of the same, from his nephew, Patrick Hannay, Esq. of Sorbie, paternal ancestor of the Hannays of Mochrum.

      This Alexander Hannay of Kirkdale left a son, John Hannay, who inherited that estate.

      John’s son, Patrick Hannay of Kirkdale, married Ann, daughter of Patrick Mackie, Esq. of Larg.

      Their son, also named Patrick Hannay of Kirkdale, by his wife, Agnes, daughter of Gavin Dunbar of Baldoon, had a son, William Hannay of Kirkdale. This gentleman married Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Gordon, Esq. of Castranian, a cadet of the ancient family of Lochinvar (afterwards viscounts of Kenmuir).

      His son, Samuel Hannay, Esq. of Kirkdale, married Jane, daughter and coheiress of Patrick Mackie of Larg (by his wife, Agnes, daughter of Sir Patrick Mackie of Larg), with issue.

      Their eldest son, William Hannay of Kirkdale, married Margaret, daughter of Rev. Patrick Johnston of Girthon, with issue. Alexander Hannay, a younger son of this marriage, entered the army, and fought at Minden. He afterwards went to India, and became very famous there as “Colonel Hannay” in Warren Hastings’ time.

      His eldest brother, Sir Samuel Hannay of Kirkdale, was, on Sept. 26, 1783, served and retoured male heir of Sir Robert Hannay of Mochrum, knight, who was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, March 10, 1630, with remainder to his male heirs whatsoever. In 1768 he married Mary, daughter of Robert Mead, Esq., and had 4 sons and 4 daughters. The eldest son, Samuel, succeeded his father in December 1790. The 3 other sons all died unmarried. The daughters were, 1. Margaretta, died unmarried; 2. Eliza, wife of George Woodroffe, Esq., without issue; 3. Jane, married Thomas Rainsford, Esq., and had a large family; 4. Mary Hastings.

      The eldest son, Sir Samuel Hannay, the next baronet, born August 12, 1772, was in the service of the emperor of Austria, and held an official post in Vienna. He built a large mansion on his property which forms a fine object from the Wigtownshire side of the bay. The property is supposed to be the principal scene of Sir Walter Scott’s novel of Guy Mannering; and Dirk Hatterick’s Cave, once noted for smugglers, is below the house. Sir Samuel died in 1841, when the title became again dormant.

      He was succeeded in the estate of Kirkdale, by his sister Mary Hastings Hannay, in virtue of a deed of entail, made by Ramsay Hannay, brother of the first Sir Samuel Hannay, he having purchased the estate on the death of his brother. Mary Hastings Hannay died unmarried in 1850, and was succeeded in the estate of Kirkdale by her nephew William Henry Rainsford Hannay, in right of the said deed of entail, when he assumed the additional name of Hannay. On his death, without issue, in 1856, his brother Frederick Rainsford Hannay, succeeded to the estate.


      The family of Hannay of Kingsmuir, Fifeshire, claim to be the representatives of the Hannays of Sorbie, and are so described by Nisbet. As the name implies, the lands of Kingsmuir, – at one period a common muir, on which almost all the neighbouring proprietors had a right of pasturage, and many a right of cutting turf, – originally belonged to the crown. About the beginning of the 18th century, Kingsmuir became the property of the ancestor of the present proprietor, George Francis Hannay, Esq. In 1710, when Sibbald published his “History of Fife,” the possessor of the estate was named Peter Hannay, Esq. of Kingsmuir. Ann Hannay, who possessed it shortly after, was married to Erskine of Dun; but dying without issue, left the estates to a kinsman, from whom the present proprietor descends. George Francis Hannay, born in 1788, succeeded his brother, Peter Hannay, lieutenant R.N. (Who fought at Trafalgar in the Defiance) in 1819. He married Robina, only child of Robert Cunningham, Esq. of Pittarthie, captain in the army. Heir, his son, George, captain Fife artillery, born 1824.


      The family of Hannay of Rusko, Kirkcudbrightshire, was formerly from Wigtownshire. Robert Hannay, Esq. of Rusco, born in 1807, married Bridget, daughter of Thomas Smith, Esq., London, with issue. Heir, his son, Robert, born in 1836.

      The Hannay arms are, Three roebucks’ heads couped, Azure, collared, Or; with a bell pendent thereat, Gules. On the frontispiece of Mr. Patrick Hannay’s book of poems are his arms in Taliduce, with his picture, being Argent. Three roebucks’ heads, couped, Azure; with a mollet in the collar point, for his difference, his father being a younger son of Hannay of Sorbie, with a croslet fitched, issuing out of a crescent, sable; for crest and motto relative thereto, Per ardua ad alta. The family of Kingsmuir, Fifeshire, carries the last blazon without the Mollet, and the same crest, with the motto, Cresco et spero. (Nisbet’s Heraldry, vol. i. p. 335).

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