Origin of the name

The family name is derived from that of several villages called La Haye in the Cotentin peninsula of Normandy, France. The word, haye comes from haia, a hedge, which in modern French is haie. It can also mean stockade, but it may have been used here because this part of Normandy is characterized by centuries-old interlocking hedgerows.



Origin of the Clan

Clan Hay descends from the Norman family of de la Haye (de la Haya). The progenitors of the Scottish clan were William II de la Haye and his wife, Eva of Pitmilly, a Celtic heiress. William II de la Haye was the son of William I de la Haye, who married another Norman, Juliana de Soulis Ranulf I de Soules, and therefore they cannot be considered the progenitors of Clan Hay because the family was entirely Norman, having no Scots connections. In contrast,the marriage of William de la Haye II to Eva founded a Norman-Scots family that became the Scottish clan. William de la Haye II was cupbearer cup-bearer Ranulf I de Soules to Kings Malcolm IV Malcolm IV of Scotland and William I ( William the Lion)William I of Scotland. The two Williams de la Haye are often confused in the literature, because so little is documented about William I de la Haye.

Concerning the Norman family of de la Haye, Thurstin Haldup, a Norman nobleman of the first half of the eleventh century, i.e., just before the Norman conquest of England in 1066, held two baronies, one of which was La Haye du Puits in the Cotentin. On becoming a Christian, he changed his name to Richard and became known as Richard de La Haye. Richard’s eldest son, Eldoun, apparently fought at the Battle of Hastings. Richard died in 1096 and was succeeded by his nephew, Robert, who was the ancestor of the Hays who became Norman barons in England.

It is Robert’s younger brother, Hue, who is most important to the Scottish Hays. He had a chateau near St Lo, also in the Cotentin, which was known then as La Haye Hue, but is now La Haye Bellefonde. He was also held other seigniories nearby. La Haye Hue was just across the small Soules River from the chateau of Soules, south of St Lo. This close proximity to Soules is important in the historical relationship of the Hays with the de Soulis family.

Early on, the Haye-Hue family adopted for their arms, argent three inescutcheons gules(a silver shield containing three smaller red shields). These are the same arms as presently used by the Earl of Errol in Scotland and are completely different from those used by the de la Hayes of England. This is good evidence that the first recorded de la Haye in Scotland, William II de la Haye, who used these same arms, was from the Haye-Hue family. However, his genealogical descent has not yet been traced to them.

The Hays were linked to the powerful Soulis family. As evidence, first, there is the close proximity of the chateaus of the two families in Normandy. Second, the Soulis name, rare in England, and the more common Hay, are both found in the records of Dover Castle in the early 13th century. Third, William II de la Haye’s mother was Juliana de Soules and he was the nephew of Ranulf de Soulis, Pincerna or butler to King David I of Scotland.



William II de la Haye

The First Hay to arrive in Scotland was William de la Haye, who befriended King Malcolm IV and was made the 1st Baron of Erroll in 1178.



Wars of Scottish Independence



Slains Pursuivant, Peter Drummond-Murray of Mastrick, is the private officer of arms of the Chief of Clan Hay

During the Wars of Scottish Independence, Sir Gilbert Hay, the 5th Lord Erroll, was an ally of Robert the Bruce and he and the Clan Hay participated in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. For his service, he was made the Lord High Constable of Scotland, a title the Clan Hay continues to hold to this day, which gives them ceremonial precendece in Scotland ahead of anyone aside from the royal family.

The Chieftain of the Clan Hay, known as the MacGaraidh Mor, was traditionally the Commander of the Royal Bodyguard, and this fact caused numerous Hay chieftains to die in battle while protecting their king. The 6th Earl of Erroll was killed leading the Clan Hay at the Battle of Neville’s Cross in 1346.



16th century and Anglo Scottish Wars

During the Anglo-Scottish Wars the Clan Hay suffered very heavy casualties in the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Another Hay, also named Sir Gilbert, was a Scottish knight who fought for Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years’ War.

Following the Reformation, the Hays remained loyal to Catholicism and thus were allies to Mary, Queen of Scots, who appointed George Hay, the 7th Earl of Erroll, Lord Lieutenant of all central Scotland. Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll, was involved in a conspiracy with King Philip II of Spain, to overthrow Queen Elizabeth of England, convert King James VI to Catholicism and thus make Britain a Catholic stronghold. With the defeat of the Spanish Armada, however, the conspiracy came to nothing.



17th century and Civil War

During the Civil War James Hay led his forces as Royalists against the Covenanters at the Battle of Aberdeen in 1644 where they were victorious.



18th century and Jacobite Uprisings

Following the Act of Union in 1707, the Hays were sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. The ruins of their fortress of Slains Castle, on the northeast coast of Scotland, was a frequent meeting place for Jacobite conspirators. In 1745, the Clan Hay supported Bonnie Prince Charlie and assisted in financing his rebellion.

With the collapse of Jacobotism, the Hays became loyal British subjects, and many Hays were involved in expanding the British Empire.



Clan profile



Clan Plant Badge: Mistletoe

      Gaelic Names: MacGaraidh (Surname) & Clann ‘icGaraidh (Collective).

      Motto: Serva Jugum (Keep the yoke).

      Slogan: “A Hay! A Hay!”.

      Pipe Music: “Delgaty Castle”.

      Crest: Issuing out of a Crest Coronet, a falcon volant Proper, armed, jessed, and belled Or.

      Plant Badge: Mistletoe.

      Animal Symbol: Falcon.

      Arms: Argent, three escutcheons Gules



Clan Chief

      Merlin Sereld Victor Gilbert Moncreiffe, 24th Earl of Erroll




      Delgatie Castle, Aberdeen, Scotland was given to the Clan Hay after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

      Slains Castle was owned by the chiefs of Clan Hay from 1597 to 1916.

      Dupplin Castle, Perth, Scotland

      Inshoch Castle, Inverness, Scotland

      Meggich Castle, Perth, Scotland

      Neidpath Castle, Peebles, Scotland

      Park Castle, Galloway, Scotland

      Yester Castle, East Lothian, Scotland

      Castle Park, Scotland.



Clan Septs and Tartans



One of the Hay tartans. From Vestiarium Scoticum.

Clan Hay has several recognized tartans:

The septs of Clan Hay include:



























Clan branches

      Hay of Alderston

      Hay of Delgatie

      Hay of Duns

      Hay of Haystoun

      Hay of Tweeddale

Category posts

Search the Information Centre.

Need help? See our Search Tips