The Clan Hannay (Clan West Archive)

From the Clan West Archive – Originally published February 14, 2011.  This is part of a series of articles that were initially published by the now-inactive Clan Hannay Society West.  Many thanks to Gigi Hanna, Convenor Emerita.

Note: The original article may have had external links, but these are now lost.  The links and notes found in the republished article below were researched and added as part of the May, 2020 editorial pass. Furthermore, statements from this original article may have been superseded by newer research -FAL.


By Mrs. Rhoda Home (nee Hannah)

The Hanna family name is derived from one Annadh, or Annaidh, who was four generations in descent from Meachlin O’Loughlin who was first to bear the famous name of O’Loghlin. The O’Loughlin families were chieftains in the County Clare in the district of Burren. A Barony of Burren still exists and it is evident that the Hanna family must be accepted as having come from County Clare.

[This information linking Hanna to Annadh is apparently drawn from The Irish Nation, by John O’Hart, which was published by M. H. Gill & Son, Dublin, 1878.  It is not clear how Mrs. Home connects the Annadh family to the Hannays of Galloway. The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland (First Edition, 2016) indicates that the Annadh name is a precursor of the Hannan family name, which is unrelated to the Hannays]

The O’Laghlan family was in the great line of O’Connor of Corcomroe in the County Clare. They trace their pedigree from Corc who was the third son of Fergus Nor in the district of Ir. The O’Loughlin families were styled Kings and Princes and the territories possessed by them were called Corcamruadh, Corcoiche and Corc Galen.

The earliest known possession of Sorbie (Castle) were the powerful Anglo-Norman family, the Viponts, lord of Westmoreland, who received the lands and manor of Sorbie in 1185. Exactly when and how the Hannays or “Ahanna” as the name was formally spelt, succeeded the Viponts is a matter of conjecture as the records of the 13th Century are very sparse. Similarity of the mottoes is very interesting; Viponts, “Per Ardua ad Aspera”, and the Ahannas, “Per Ardua Ad Alta”. The succession could have been peaceable as by marriage.

Like the other native Galloway Clans the McDowalls and the McCullochs, the Hannays supported John Balliol who by his mother the Lady Devorgilla, represented the old Celtic Lords of Galloway against Bruce. In 1308 they were forced to submit to Edward Bruce when he conquered Galloway.

The first mentioned is Gilbert de Sowreby who witnessed a Charter in 1268. This Gilbert is possibly one of the Gilbert de Hannethes who signed the Ragman’s Roll in 1296 when Edward 1st of England made the feudal lords and chiefs of Scotland swear allegiance to him at Berwick.

From Sorbie, Hannays rode to Sauchieburn and Flodden. They feuded against or sided with their neighbours the Kennedys, the Dunbars and the Murrays, and joined James 4th on his pilgrimages to St. Ninian’s Shrine at Whithorn. In 1601 the Hannays were outlawed for their behaviour towards the Murrays.

Some prominent members of the family were: John de Hannah, Shipmaster to James 1st; Andrew Hannay of Scots Archer Guard of the King of France 1469; Dougal Ahanna, Falconer of James 4th; Patrick Hannay, soldier/poet who fought for the Winter Queen of Bohemia; Sir Robert Hanna of Mochrum who fought for Charles 1st; Dr. James Hanna[y], Dean of St. Giles, at whom Jenny Geddes hurled her famous stool in 1637.

Some of the Hannah clan migrated to Ireland and in Ulster, County Down, there is a senior branch of the Scots Cadets known as the Hannas of Newry.

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