The Hannays of Kirkdale  

The Hannays of Kirkdale


     It has been already noted that in 1532, Alexander Hannay, a younger son of the Sorbie family, purchased the lands of Kirkdale in Kirkmabreck parish, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. He obtained a charter for the same from Duncan Murray, Burgess of Withorn.

     Alexander was succeeded by his son John. John in turn was followed by his son Patrick, who married Anne, daughter of Sir. Patrick Mackie of Larg and was killed on December 16th, 1610 at the Cruives of Cree while assisting the Earl of Cassilia against the Kennedys of Blairquhar. Probably this has some connection with what is known as the Carrick Vendetta.

     As this Patrick was killed before his father died he never actually possessed the Estate. He was succeeded by his son Patrick, who by his marriage with Agnes, daughter of Gavin Dunbar of Baldoon (a family now represented by Sir C. Hope Dunbar of St. Mary`s Isle, (Kirkcudbright) had a son, William.

     William came into the Estate in 1640 on the death of his father. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Gordon of Castrament, cadet of the family of Lochinvar, afterwards Viscounts of Kenmure (this peerage is now extinct).

     His eldest son Samuel next owned the Estate and was Commissioner of Supply in 1704.

     Next comes William, who married Margaret, daughter of the Rev. Patrick Johnston of Girthon (Johnstone of Carnsalloch). He had five sons, vizt. Alexander, Samuel, John, Johnston, and Ramsay.

     Alexander had a very distinguished career as a soldier. He served under the Marquis of Granby in the German Campaigns of the 18th century, including the battle of Minden. When peace was declared he offered his services to the East India Company. On his way to India he was ship-wrecked in the Bay of Bengal, but escaped with his life. In a few years he rose by sheer ability to be Adjutant-General in India. In Warren Hastings, Colonel Hannay found a strong supporter and admirer. He died unmarried in India in 1782 and left a large fortune to his brother Samuel.

     Samuel had meantime become a druggist in London. After his brother`s death, he claimed the then vacant Baronetcy of Mochrum and substantiated the claims. On Sept 26th, 1783 he was admitted heir male to Sir Robert Hannay of Mochrum to whom reference has been made in connection with the Hannays of Sorbie. He married (in 1767) Mary, daughter of Dr. Robert Mead and by her had four sons and four daughters of whom more later.
     Sir Samuel Hannay lived in a style of great magnificence in London and for many years was a Member of Parliament. He added largely to the Kirkdale Estate and built a fine mansion there, which is still standing though it sustained a serious fire in 1893. On his death in 1790, however, it was found that he had not only dissipated the fortune left him by his brother, but had also amassed debts to the extent of nearly 200,000 pounds - a vast sum in those days. Under the laws then in force Lady Hannay was enabled to save a third part of the Estate from Sir Samuel`s creditors and it would appear that Sir Samuel`s brother Ramsay Hannay purchased the remainder. Sir Samuel was succeeded by his son (also Sir Samuel) who died unmarried in 1841. He went to Australia and there became a Colonel in the Australian Guards. He also held an official appointment in Vienna under the Emperor. With his death the title to the Baronetcy of Mochrum again became dormant.

     Sir Samuel`s three brothers also died unmarried, as did also two of his sisters, namely Margaretta and Mary Hastings.

     Of the remaining two daughters Eliza married George Woodroffe, and died without issue. The second daughter, Jane, married Captain Thomas Rainsford of the 2nd Life Guards on May 31st 1793 in London. This marriage was a romantic one as Jane ran away with the Captain and was practically disowned by the family. They had several children:


Unknown Daughter b1795
Unknown Daughter b 1797
Unknown Capt Rainsford b 1799
Charles Rainsford b1801
Unknown Infant Daughter b 1803
Francis Sophia Rainsford b1805
William Henry Rainsford-Hannay b 1808
Major Frederick Rainsford-Hannay b 1810

     They were in France when Napoleon broke the Treaty of Amiens and were made prisoners along with all other Britishers in France at the time. Eventually Captain Rainsford accepted the post of Harbour Master under Sir Hudson Lowe at St. Helena and both Captain Rainsford and his wife died there.

     By a turn in the wheel of fortune, however, one of the younger children of Captain and Mrs. Rainsford succeeded to the Kirkdale Estate as will presently appear. On the death of the second Sir Samuel, the Estate passed to his sister Mary Hastings Hannay, by a deed of entail made by Ramsay Hannay above referred to. She died on March 20th 1850 and was succeeded, under the same deed of entail, by her nephew William Henry Rainsford, a younger son of Captain Rainsford, who assumed in consequence the surname of Hannay. He died without issue in 1856 and was succeeded by his brother Frederick Rainsford Hannay, Major in H.E.I.C.S. who married on November 26th, 1840, Rhoda, daughter of Oliver Charles Johnston, and had by her several children:


Rhoda Clara Rainsford-Hannay b1843 - 1887
Ramsay William Rainsford-Hannay b1844 - 1933
Percival Rainsford-Hannay b1851 - 1941
Constance Rainsford-Hannay b1852 - 1868
Frederick Rainsford-Hannay b1854 - 1950
Anna Frances Rainsford-Hannay b1858
Mary Charolette Rainsford-Hannay b1883 - 1900

     The next to succeed was Colonel Ramsay William Rainsford-Hannay, late R.A., J.P.,and D.L., for the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, who by his marriage with Helen Jane Brancker had five sons and two daughters. All five sons fought with distinction in the Great War, one, Ramsay, being killed. Children:


Mary Rainsford-Hannay
Frederick Rainsford-Hannay b1878 - 1959
John Rainsford-Hannay b 1879 - 1951
Rhoda Rainsford-Hannay b 1881 - 1941
Archibald Gordon Rainsford-Hannay b 1882
Ramsay Rainsford-Hannay b1884 - 1917
Donald Rainsford-Hannay b1885 - 1947

     Until recently the owner of the estate was Clan Chief Ramsay William Rainsford-Hannay (born 1911 - died 2004). He was the son of Frederick Rainsford-Hannay (1878-1959) and Dorothea Lititia Maxwell (1888-1981) and Grandson of Major Frederick Rainsford-Hannay (1844-1933) and Helen Jane Brancker (1847-1917).

     Carsluith Castle, on Kirkdale Estate, is supposed to have been the Ellangowan of Sir Walter Scott`s novel Guy Mannering and Dirk Hatterick`s, once the haunt of smugglers, is below this house. The mansion of Kirkdale is beautifully situated on Wigtown Bay and affords fine views. It is built of fine grey granite and was designed by Adams.

Kirkdale House, Wigtown District

Kirkdale House, Wigtown District
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Return to Various Early Hannay Families