Nicholas Thorne's Family History Pages.
The BMI-baby flight to Edinburgh was not that late getting off the ground - amazing when you think of all the extra security that the summer of 2006 has brought. I had an aisle seat on the Boeing 737, which meant there were two businessmen between me and the window.
Most of the way we were in clouds but as we started our descent into Edinburgh, however, I could see the Lammermuir and Moorfoot Hills through the right-hand aircraft window and knew that these were just to the south of Gifford and the Yester Estate. My research shows that this estate once belonged to a branch of the Hay family. Tracing my maternal grandmother's line means that I believe, through her father, that these Hays of Yester could well have been ancestors of mine.
As the plane banked left I looked out of the other side, across three of my
fellow passengers, to see that it was a beautiful sunny morning in Edinburgh.
Our approach took us over the Firth of Forth and, in the summer light, the sandy
coloured buildings of the city.
My last visit to Scotland and its capital was as a boy of 14 going on 15. It
was the 17th April 1973 and my father, John Thorne and (step-)mother, Ann Thorne
had commissioned a sailing yacht to be built on the Firth of Forth at Aberdour
Marine. This 'Victory 40' was a ketch rigged forty-foot sailing yacht with a
British racing green hull and tan and lemon sails. She had a custom built interior,
to my parents' design, in mahogany and finished to the highest standard by the
Scottish craftsmen of Aberdour. Her name was “Tigress of Deben” pronounced
Deeben after the Suffolk River where she was to be kept for some years before
going down to play in Portugal and the Mediterranean.
I can remember the launch on a cloudy steely-blue, near grey spring day. As
she slipped into the water and my father let out a cheer.
This was my first visit to Scotland and I have a memory of taking tea at a rather
swish hotel in Edinburgh. I have no idea which one it was, or what else we did
on our visit to the capital city. Presumably it was not just for tea, but to
do shopping and take in the sites. Fourteen year old boys, regrettably, are
not impressed by history unlike the 48 year old who was making this return visit!
The aircraft pulled onto its stand and after a delay in the jetway corridor, caused by the door into the airport being locked, someone realised our plight and let us in to Scotland!
Finding the correct desk for my hire car, I was greeted by the first of many welcomes from the Scottish people. It was 8.30 am and the man at the car-hire desk gave me what certainly seemed to be a genuine smile and a cheery greeting. He battled with my Jersey driving licence with good grace. It seems that my licensing authority, The Parish of St.Helier, do not know my correct post code and have dreamt up an incorrect one to confuse the likes of the Scottish car-hire representative. We processed the credit card and I elected to purchase a full tank of petrol at an advantageous rate rather than having to bring it back full.
“Now you make sure you use up every last drop and only get it back to
us on the fumes in the tank!” he smiled. This canny Scottish advice
being well received by a Jersey born and educated boy, with our equal abhorrence
of waste! Some even say that we are tight.
I took the bus to the compound where I was issued with my key and the bay number where I could find my vehicle. My car was to be a little silver Vauxhall Corsa. In the next three days I would drive it for 473 miles in search of relevant geographical sites that in some way or other pertained either to the Hay family, Edward Hay's Father's side, or the Wemyss and Rattray on his mother's side.
Hay of Hopes and Maternal line Family Tree.
Click image to open as a pop out.
Tigress of Deben in the Aberdour Marine Yard 1973
Aberdour Harbour 1973
Images from the photographic album of Nicholas Thorne aged 14 3/4.
Click image to enlarge.
Three days in Scotland, August 2006