Around 1540 this area of Wigtownshire was known as
HANNAY - HANNAH - HANNA - HANNEY
The Clan Hannay Society is one of the longest established of such societies in Scotland and, for the past 40 years, has an annual clan gathering at Sorbie Tower in the Machars of Wigtownshire, which used to be known as "Machars Hannay". The Clan is represented on the council of clan chieftains, and has a registered coat of arms and a clan tartan.
"... a family which has dealt many blows in time of war from Flodden Feild to the gates of Rhodes and for some such service bore heraldic device of a crescent and a fitched cross ..."
The name Hannay may have originally been spelt Ahannay, possibly deriving from the Gaelic word `O`Hannaidh` or Ap Shenaeigh`- "Son of Senach". The family can be traced back to Galloway in South-West Scotland. The name `Gilbert de Hannethe` appears on the Ragman Rolls of 1296, submitting to King Edward 1 of England. The Hannay`s lands of Sorbie in Wigtownshire were reportidly acquired by the same Gilbert de Hannethe.
It is believed that the lands of Sorbie were originally owned by a family named Sorbie, who disappeared without a trace, as has happened with other families who were in Galloway. The chartulary of Dryburgh informes us that Robert de Veteripont gave to that abbey the church and lands of Lesser Sowerby (Sorbie), and that the priory and convent of `Candida Casa` agreed to pay 20 marks for the fruits, revenues and dues of the churches of Sowerby and Kirkfolan (Fillan), of which the abbot and convent of Dryburgh appointed them procurators. There is no date in the Chartulary for the gift of Veteripont.
... The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Hannethe of Wiggetone (1296)...
"... While Robert Bruce was struggling to establish Scottish Independance, Edward Ist of England succeeded in occupying the border regions of Scotland and setting up his nominee John Balloil as King.
In a document called The Ragman Roll (now in the Tower of London) their names were entered. Among them on that August 28, 1296 were a Gilbert de Hannethe and a Gilbert de Annethe of County Wigtown (Wiggetone), or as it appears on the roll, as written by the Norman Scribes:
"... item a tous - ceans qui cestes verront ou orront Gilbert De Annethe, Gilbert de Hannethe, del counte de Wiggeton ..."
These were probably father and son. Among them were the other powerful chiefs of Galloway, the MacDowells and the MacCullochs..."
HANNAY - 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.
In 1488 the Clan Hannay fought at the Battle of Sauchieburn. Later in 1513 the Clan Hannay fought at the Battle of Flodden Field.
In 1532 Patrick Hannay was acquitted of the murder of Patrick McClellen as he had killed him in self defense.
"...The earliest known Hannay at Sorbie seems to have been Ethe Hannay of Sorbie, pre 1460 - 1485, who was succeeded by Robert Hannay, who acted for his brother-in-law, Quentin Agnew, as sheriff of Wigtownshire in 1498-99, and was certainly a person of considerable importance..."
In the early 17th century a deadly feud broke out between the Murrays of Broughton and the Clan Hannay which resulted in the Hannays being outlawed. The clan has also had previous feuds with the Clan Kennedy and Clan Dunbar. After the feud with the Clan Murray the famous tower at Sorbie fell into disrepair and was lost along with the neighbouring lands around 1640. Many Hannays moved to Ireland, in particular Ulster and the name can still be found there and in many surrounding counties, particularly in the form "Hanna". Another form of the name, "Hannah", is particularly common amongst the descendants of those that remained in Scotland. Another variation of Hannay is "Hanney". In Oxfordshire England, there are two villages called East Hanney and West Hanney.
The tower was probably built by Alexander Hannay of Sorbie, who held the lands of Sorbie from 1569 to around 1612. The Hannays were an important and infuuential family in Wigtownshire from at least the 13th century and appear to have held the lands of Sorbie from the mid-15th century. The families fortunes declined during the late 16th century due to feuds and disputes with powerful neighbours such as the Murrays of Broughton, the Stewarts of Garlies and the Kennedys.
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