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Hannay of Sorbie arms as shown in Nisbet's System of Heraldry (1722)

Clan Hannay

Clan Hannay is a Scottish chiefly family


The Hannays are from Galloway. The name appears to have originally been spelt Ahannay but its origin is uncertain. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 162</ref> It could derive from the Scottish Gaelic O'Hannaidh or Ap Shenaeigh. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref>

Variations of the name are: Hanna, Hannah and Hanney. <ref>https://www.clanhannay.com/concrete5/</ref>

Gilbert de Hannethe appears on the Ragman Roll among the Scottish Barons submitting to Edward I of England in 1296. This may be the same Gilbert who acquired the lands of Sorbie. The Hannays were suspicious of the ambitions of the Bruces, and supported the claim of John Balliol who, through his mother, Lady Devorgilla, was descended from the Celtic Princes of Galloway.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref>

Sorbie Tower

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries they extended their influence over much of the surrounding countryside, building a tower on their lands at Sorbie around 1550. The tower was the seat of the chief family of this name until the seventeenth century.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref> Alexander Hannay of Sorbie (d.1612-13) may have been the builder of Sorbie Tower, also known as the Old Place of Sorbie. His violent feuding with other prominent families in Galloway such as the Kennedys brought about the initial decline of the family fortunes. <ref>http://www.sorbie.net/sorbie_tower.htm</ref> The family was outlawed during the seventeenth century.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref>Many of their estates were sold in 1626 to Sir Patrick Agnew of Lochnaw, and later passed to the Stewards of Garlies in 1677. <ref>http://www.sorbie.net/sorbie_tower.htm</ref> The last resident was Brigadier-General John Stewart, M.P. for Wigtownshire. (d.1748) After his death the tower fell into ruin, and was eventually presented to the Clan Hannay Society by Mrs. Jean Cummings in 1965. <ref>http://www.sorbie.net/sorbie_tower.htm</ref>

Seventeenth Century

Sorbie Tower

Patrick Hannay (d.1630) was a soldier, poet and courtier at the courts of James IV and I and Charles I. He was the grandson of Donald Hannay of Sorbie.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref> He entered the service of Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, sister of Charles I. He published two eulogies on the death of Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of James IV.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref> In 1621 he visited Sweden. He recieved, along with his brother, Robert, lands in Longford, Ireland, as part of Jacobean attempts at Plantation in the area. On returning from Sweden he received a clerkship in the office of the Irish Privy Council in Dublin. He survived attempts by political opponents to remove him from the post. In 1627 Hannay became Master of Chancery in Ireland. He is said to have died at sea around 1630. <ref>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Hannay</ref>

Another member of the Hannay of Sorbie family was James Hannay, the Dean of St. Giles in Edinburgh, who passed into legend as the minister who attempted to read Charles I's new liturgy in July 1637. It was at his head that a stool was thrown during the service by disgruntled members of the congregation. A full scale riot had to be suppressed by the town guard.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref> A consequence of the family's feuding and misfortune in the seventeenth century was the emigration of large numbers of Hannays to Ulster, where the name is still widely found in Co. Down, Co. Armagh, and Antrim. The Hannay's of Newry is reckoned to be the senior branch of the emmigrant families.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref>

Hannays of Kirkdale

In 1582 Alexander Hannay of Sorbie, a younger son, purchased the lands of Kirkdale in Kirkcudbright. His son established the chiefly line which is now recognised by the Lord Lyon.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref> Sir Samuel Hannay of Kirkdale (d.1841) entered the service of the Habsburg Empire and built a large mansion house on the family lands and is said to have provided the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott's novel, Guy Mannering.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref> The present chief is a descendant of William Rainsford Hannay of Kirkdale, the nephew of his sister.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 162</ref> The current chief is Professor David R. Hannay, who suceeded on the death of his father, Ramsey Hannay, in 2004. <ref>http://www.clanhannay.com/archive/localhost/ClanHannay/Home/2What's_New/1New_Chief.html</ref> Prof. Hannay is a senior medical doctor and lecturer who lives with his family in the ancestral home of Kirkdale. <ref>http://www.clanhannay.com/archive/localhost/ClanHannay/Home/2What's_New/1New_Chief.html</ref>

Clan Hannay Society

Clan Hannay has an active international Clan Society. It was formed in 1960 and its stated purposes are to:

  • Promote and strengthen a mutual interest and fellowship throughout the world between all persons bearing the Family Name of Hannay, Hannah, Hanna or Hanney and their relatives.
  • To collect and preserve records, relics and traditions of the Clan for mutual benefit.
  • To preserve for all time as a Clan possession Sorbie Tower and grounds, the ancient stronghold of the Clan in Galloway.