went through my spiel about my ancestor Charles Hay living in the house and
pointed to the copy of the 'Extract of Old Parochial Records', that I had
in my hand, as evidence to back up my story. She asked me to repeat the date
and, pointing to the words and numbers in the bottom right hand corner of
the document and under the seal of The General Register Office Scotland, I
said: “June 1832.”
She told me that it tied in correctly. The house had been in her husband's family since it was built in between the years 1701 to 1707, except for being let out for approximately a hundred years up to the 1920's.
So Charles Crosland Hay had taken a lease on this gentleman's villa with its gardener's house and stable wing. It is where his and Jeanette's first born, Charles Selkrig Hay came into this world on the 25th April 1833 and who was destined to become, I believe, a District Judge in Ceylon. The owner of the house told me that many of the gentlemen taking a lease of the house in this time were officers in the local regiment which were then known as “The Royal Scots” the First of Foot - it has just been amalgamated in the latest defence cuts into the Royal Regiment of Scotland. I do not think that Charles Crosland Hay was in the army, but I do not know either way for sure.
The lady of the house seemed to know much about its architecture and explained that, in great-grandfather Hay's time, it would not have had the dormer windows, nor would it have had the “bathroom wing” at the back, as she referred to the 1930's extension in the centre of the rear façade. The house was an example of an early 18th century Palladian Villa designed by Sir William Bruce who lived from 1630 to 1710. It was one of his last commissions and was one of his smallest. With a smile my hostess explained that Sir William was responsible for the rather larger property, the rebuilding of Hollyrood Palace!
I was shown the heavy stone staircase with its solid walls.
“This house was one of the first built in Scotland after they no longer needed to build fortified houses,” my hostess explained. “Thus they were still making staircases as they had in the past and had not introduced the more delicate wooden stairs, or banisters yet.”
A word on why the house name is spelt differently from the village today. The house name, it seems, is spelt with an 'i' - Auchindinny House. This is because that was the original spelling of the village name. In the 19th century, however, the village name had the 'i' replaced with an 'e' to become Auchendinny. The reason? The arrival of the railway and the printing of the timetable using the 'e' ! The owner of Auchindinny House likes to be keep to the old version.