This Scottish family
originate from the lands of Galloway, their original name being Ahannay from ap Sheanaigh,
son of Senach. The original owners of Sorbie Tower, the seat of the Hannays of Kingsmuir,
were the Lords of Westmoreland, the powerful Vipont family who received the lands and
manor in 1185. Records from around this date are rare but there is a strong possibility
that the change of ownership from Vipont to Hannay could have come about through marriage.
The earliest record ing of the name on Scottish records is that of Gilbert de Hannethe of
the county of Wigton. In 1296 he signed the Ragman Rolls thereby pledging allegiance to
Edward I. However they had earlier supported John Balliol, John King of Scots, who through
his mother, Devorguilla, represented the old Celtic Lords of Galloway. In 1308 they were
forced to submit to Edward Bruce, younger brother of Robert I, when he conquered Galloway.
The Hannays rose for the Battles of Sauchieburn and Flodden, and joined James IV on his
pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Ninian at Whitehorn. Around 1600, as a result of prolonged
hostilities between the Hannays and their neighbours the Kennedys, Dunbars and Murrays,
the Hannays of Sorbie were outlawed because of their behaviour towards the Murrays.
Possibly the best remembered Hannay was the Rev. James Hannay who in 1637 attempted to
read the Episcopal liturgy in St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. This sparked off a riot
reportedly started by Jenny Geddes who threw a stool at Hannay; he was eventually deposed
by the Glasgow Assembly. Sorbie Tower has been restored by the Hannay Society; Kingsmuir
Estate near Crail in Fife is the seat of the Hannays of Kingsmuir.