Back further in 1357 the Tweeddale Hays had obtained the Midlothian estate of Yester through marriage to the daughter of Sir Hugh Gifford. They built a courtyard castle there and it became their principle seat, with Neidpath retained as a second home, in their role as Sheriffs of Peebles.

1478 saw John Hay created “Lord Hay of Yester” His descendant became the Earl of Tweeddale and his son was promoted Marquess of Tweeddale in 1694. If we are to believe the Hay family-tree then the Marquess' half brother was Edmond 1st Laird of Hopes and from him is descended great-grandfather Edward Hay.

It struck me as I headed north and then east to Haddingtonshire, or present day East Lothian, just how far it must have been on horseback. In a modern car it took me an hour and some, but back then? Who knows how long?

The countryside is different from Tweeddale, it is gentle rolling farmland but with the Lammermuir Hills to the south. First I was looking for Gifford and a desire to see Yester House and the ruins of Yester Castle, built by the Hay's when they obtained the land through marriage in 1357  - now where have we heard that before? Neidpath was obtained by marrying the daughter of  Sir Symon Fraser and now Yester by marrying the daughter of Sir Hugh Gifford. Those canny Norman/Scots!

I found the gates of the Yester Estate but for the first time in my quest I was confronted by a sign that read: PRIVATE PROPERTY. I back tracked to the village shop and got into conversation with two ladies  who were, as usual, incredibly friendly to the visitor. One lady had, in the past, trespassed on the land in order to take photographs of the ruin. The estate was now in the ownership of the Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who was in his nineties. His son, young Mr Menotti, was probably in residence and would chase you off if he caught you going to look at the castle.

I think there might be some belief in the area that the ruins belonged as much to the heritage of the village as to the landowner. It was emphasised, however, that it was out of bounds to the visitor. Anyway, they advised me, summer was not the best time to crawl over the ruins as the weeds would be as tall as a man and I would be in danger of falling into the burn! I was, however, able to buy a greeting card with a pen and ink drawing of the castle as compensation for my trek and I duly added £1.70 to the local economy.

With this disappointment, of being denied a look at the pile of bricks that is Yester Castle, I took myself off to view the village church and to note the number of Hay's that had their final resting place there. Being encouraged to look inside, by a villager, I was to see a really typical example of a Church of Scotland Kirk. Unlike the Cathedrals of Brechin and Dunkeld, that had retained or replaced their stained glass windows and had an altar table, this church had a raised pulpit in the centre. It was described as being of “Dutch influence” and to my eyes, most definitely none from the Church of Rome.

What it did have, of interest to me, was a private gallery, upstairs, for the Lords of Yester to hear the word of God without mixing with their villagers!

Take a look at the village's community website called Gifford On-line

As the evening set in, I got back into my car and drove on to the next village of Garvald.  I knew, from my research, that various of the Laird's of Hopes, as our line of Hay's descend from, had had their children baptised here and one at least married here. So I searched out the ancient church and looked in vain for any sign of the Hays. Unlike Gifford, not a single one seemed to have a headstone in the graveyard, which makes me believe the family burial plot for the Hay of Hopes is elsewhere.

My time in Scotland was running out. It was now after 6 pm and I was flying home in the morning. My last visit was to the coast to the east and Dunbar where, according to information I had found on the Internet, Charles Crosland Hay was either born or baptised. In the early evening summer sun the town looked sleepy, but fresh, as all seaside towns do. I had no where to actually search out connected to the Hays and so fairly soon I had turned the car around and was returning in the evening sun west to Edinburgh and South Queesnferry.

The next morning I was up at 7 and by 8.45 was patiently queuing for the long drawn out security check at Edinburgh Airport. My flight to Jersey was direct using Flybe, British European, and passed uneventfully. My three days in Scotland were at an end and I was home in Jersey.








Next: Charles Crosland Hay & Jeannette Hay in Cheltenham.

Nicholas Thorne's Family History Pages.

Three days in Scotland, August 2006
Click to Enlarge: Village of Yester, East Lothian, Scotland, 2006

Village of Gifford.

Click to Enlarge: Gifford, East Lothian.


Click to Enlarge:  Yester Estate, the gates in Gifford.

Yester Estate, Gates.

Click to Enlarge:  Gifford Kirk.

Gifford Kirk, 2006.

Click to Enlarge: Interior of Gifford Kirk.

Interior of Gifford Kirk

Click to Enlarge: The Lords of Yester's gallery.

Lords of Yester's Gallery.

Click to Enlarge:  The Lord's gallery.

Lord's gallery.

Click to Enlarge:  Monument in wall of church to Lord Hay.

Monumet to Lord Hay in Gifford Church wall

Click to Enlarge:  Two Hay graves.

Two Hay graves

Click to Enlarge:  East Lothian countryside.

East Lothian countryside days in Scotland-Introduction.html Castle.html Cartwheel.html House.html Castle.html
Introduction to Three Days in Scotland. Cuttlehill, Fife. Craighall Castle, Perthshire. Hay family tree in the form of a cartwheel. Auchindinny House Neidpath Castle, Tweeddale. Yester, Gifford and Garvald.
Click to Enlarge: Garvald Church where many of the Hays of Hopes were baptised.

Garvald Chruch.

Click to Enlarge: Garvald village, East Lothian.

Garvald Village.