The name Hay comes from La Haye in
The first of the Scottish Hay family
was William de Hay who was Royal butler (a more important role than in modern
times) during the reign of William the Lion 1165-1214. As such he was given
title of Baron of Erroll. He married into the old Pictish line in Eva of
Pitmilly and his sone david Hay married Ethna, daughter of the Celtic Earl
Sir Gillbert Hay of Erroll was made
Lord High Constable of Scotland by Robert I (the Bruce) in 1324.
One branch of the family, the Hays
of Leys were based at Megginch Castle east of Perth. In 1452 the family were
raised to the title of Earls of Erroll.
The 5th Earl of Erroll was created
Lord Lieutenant of this part of Scotland while Mary I (Queen of Scots) was
in France and her mother, Mary of Lorraine, was Regent.
Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll plotted
with the Earls of Huntly and Angus to depose Elizabeth I of England with
the young James VI and create a united Britain. This was a Catholic plot
where James was to be converted to Catholicism. However James went against
them in 1595.
George Hay of Kinnoull was knighted
by James VI in 1609, was made Chancellor in 1622, Viscount Hay in 1627 and
became Earl of Kinnoull in 1633.
A good number of Perthshire castles
and tower houses are associated with the Hays. Kinnoul Castle in
Perth (nothing remains) was a property of the Hays
from 1340. Balhousie Castle in Perth (now a regimental museum) belonged to
the Earls of Kinnoul from 1625 and shortly after they also acquired Dupplin
Castle. Megginch Castle was their property from the 15thC until sold to the
Drummonds in 1664.
George Hay, 3rd Earl of Kinnoull fought
at the Battle of Tippermore in 1644 with Montrose in support of Charles I.
The Earl of Erroll, 13th and last male
in the line, opposed the Union of Parliaments with England in 1707.
In 1745 Mary Hay, Countess of Erroll
in her own right raised forces to fight in the Jacobite rebellion of Bonnie