The Very Rev Dr Emsley Nimmo at St Margaret’s

The Zoom lecture series which the Clan Hay Society launched during lockdown has proved to be very popular and will continue into 2023.

The schedule for the spring season is now fianlised.  It begins on Saturday 3 February 2023 when we will hear from the Very Rev Dr Emsley Nimmo.  Emsley is the Rector of the Scottish Episcopal church of St Margaret’s, Aberdeen, and is a formed Dean of the Episcopal Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney.  He is also an Honorary Fellow of the University of Aberdeen, honoured for his work on church history, in which his expertise is acknowledged.

Emsley’s talk will focus on the ecclesiastical history of Scotland, beginning with the Reformation of 1560 and continuing through the struggles of the 17th century, the dramatic changes of 1690, and the subsequent influence of the Aberdeen Doctors, among others.  He will look at the practical differences these developments made to our ancestors’ lives, so his talk will be very relevant to anybody looking at the history of their family over the last 400 years.

The series will continue on Friday 3 March, with Mike Shepherd on the Jacobite agent, Colonel Nathaniel Hooke, and his connection to Slains Castle and the Erroll family of the early 18th century.  Slains was a hotbed of Jacobite activity as the 13th Earl of Erroll and his strong-willed mother, the Dowager Countess, were staunch Jacobites, under whom the castle became one of the principal hubs for exchanging information with their supporters in France, particularly in the run-up to the abortive Jacobite Rising of 1708.  Mike is a highly regarded local historian and the author of Slains Castle’s Secret History.

Professor Sir Thomas Devine

The series continues on Saturday 1 April when with Professor Sir Thomas Devine, OBE, FRSE, FBA, arguably the finest Scottish historian of his generation, author and editor of more than 40 books on the history of Scotland from the late 17th century to the present day.  He is a former Vice Principal of the University of Strathclyde, the founder of the School of Scottish and Irish Studies at the University of Aberdeen, and was, most recently, the Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography at the University of Edinburgh.  It will be a great privilege to welcome Sir Tom to this series.  His most recent book, The Scottish Clearances, looks at the removal of the people from the land from the late 18th century onwards.  He is the leading authority on the worldwide dispersal of Scots during and after that period and his lecture will examine the Scottish diaspora, from 1800 to the present day.

Saturday 6 May will see the Coronation of His Majesty The King, and on the following Saturday, Elizabeth Roads, LVO will speak to us on the history of the Coronation rite in Scotland, going back to the reign of James VI.  Eizabeth is the Secretary of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and has recently retired after a 45 year career at the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms, most recently as Snawdoun Herad, and Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records.

Members will be invited to register for places at these in due course.

The series will then break for the summer months before reconvening in September.  Talks in place for the autumn so far include Clan Hay Archivist Alan Hay on castellated architecture in Scotland, paying particular reference to Delgatie Castle, the Clan Hay Centre in Aberdeenshire.  Later in the Autumn we will hear from Pam Rotheroe-Hay on her own family history research, her long quest to discover the history of the Hays of Megginch, from Fernand Dacquin on the story of whisky, and from Philip Stead on his doctoral research on DNA analysis of the wider Hay kindred.