Local historian Jill McWilliam is creating a video encyclopaedia on the history of Cruden Bay in Aberdeenshire, for centuries the principal territory of Clan Hay and the location of Slains Castle, seat of the Earl of Erroll, Chief of the Hays. (Google YouTube Jill McWilliam for the full video collection.)
The series is entitled Historians of Cruden Bay and it takes the form of interviews with local people about the life of the village and its hinterland, covering all aspects of the area, both past and present. In the fulness of time, it will form the basis of a comprehensive oral history archive, free to access and available to all who are interested in this remarkable part of Scotland.
Recently, Jill inerviewed Alan Hay, the archivist of Clan Hay and himself a local man from the Aberdeenshire coast, on the subject of the castle. The interview can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl5t431W3fw&t=4s
The ruin of Slains Castle is one of the most familiar images of the Aberdeenshire coastline and a much visited and well loved local attraction. However its history is little known by many of those who visit it. Alan’s comments take the viewer on a journey from its first appearance as an unremarkable tower house, to its 16th century expansion into the main residence of the Earl of Erroll, Lord High Constable of Scotland, through its reconstructions in 1664 and 1836, its critical role in the Jacobite movement of the early 18th century, to its sad demise in the 20th.