The Aberdeenshire town of Turriff is close by the Clan Hay Centre at Delgatie Castle. Although the castle has been in Hay hands since the mid 15th century, the family connection with the town extends back still further, for Sir William Hay of Erroll was granted the feudal superiority of Turriff as early as 1412.
For more than 40 years, the Turriff and District Heritage Society has been collecting material, conducting research and running events on the history of the town and its people. Their museum is situated in the town’s High Street, in the old municipal buildings that were the headquarters of the Town Council before local government was centralised. The modern Tesco supermarket adjacent to the museum was in times gone by the site of the Erroll Lodging, the Earl of Erroll’s town house in Turriff, tragically demolished to provide for road-widening in the 1970s.
The museum contains much of interest to students of Clan Hay and it is a “must visit” location for anybody in search of their Hay forebears from Aberdeenshire. The museum’s terms of reference include Turriff and the area 12 miles around, which takes in the parishes of Fyvie, Auchterless, New Deer, Monquhitter, Forgue, Forglen, Banff, King Edward and others, all with historic connections to Hays and where many of today’s Hays will find their forebears.
Further attractions associated with the museum are the ‘Doric Neuk,’ a facility dedicated to the study of Doric, the variety of Old Scots still spoken in the north east, and the Session House, the cottage occupied by the Session Clerk, the principal administrator of the parish, lovingly maintained as it would have been in the mid-19th century. Close by is the historic parish church, now ruinous but dating from the 12th century and containing many monuments of historic interest to the Turriff district and the Hays.
The museum is through the summer months from 26 May, from Wednesday to Saturday, between 11.00 am and 3,00 pm. As part of Clan Hay’s gathering in August, we hope to arrange a private visit to the museum.