Burgess Hay and a very personal Jacobite heritage

Glenbuchat Castle as it is today

The first lecture of 2022 took place on 19 February when we heard from Burgess Hay on the theme of, We were aye Jacobites.  Burgess gave a delightful exposition of the adherence of most - but not quite all - branches of the Hay kindred to the Jacobite cause, following the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and ending in disaster at Culloden Moor on 16 April 1746.

Burgess creatively used his presentation to imagine the 1745 Rebellion through the eyes of his direct ancestor, his 6x great grandfather William Hay, of Badenyon in the Aberdeenshire parish of Strathdon.  Burgess's ancestors were farmers in Badenyon for generations and his ancestor carried arms throughout the Forty Five, up to and including the Battle of Culloden, in the regiment of local laird Colonel John Gordon of Glenbuchat.

Glenbuchat was, in Burgess's words, "the ultimate Jacobite."  He fought in every Jacobite engagement, beginning as a teenager in the army of Bonnie Dundee in 1688, witnessing Dundee's death in the wake of his victory at the Battle of Killiekrankie the following year, through the risings of 1708, the Battle of Sherrifmuir in 1715, Glenshiel four years later, and throughout the Forty Five with Bonnie Prince Charlie, by which time he was near 70 years old.

Burgess deployed his very extensive research into his family to deliver a very real picture of what the rebellion may have been like for a real Jacobite soldier on the ground, from the high hopes of the early days, the securing of Scotland for the Prince, the apparently relentless march through England towards London, then to see those hopes dashed with the retreat from Derby, the catastrophic and entirely avoidable defeat at Culloden, and the relentless, xenophobic persecution of the Highlanders that followed, at the hand of the Duke of Cumberland, the king's son.

An audience of Hays from every corner of the world enjoyed Burgess's talk, which was followed by a lively debate on the thought provoking and, in some respects, controversial themes any serious look at the Jacobite movement always involves.  We are grateful to him for leading us in getting the 2022 lecture series off to such a flying start.

We reconvene on Saturday 19 March to hear from Professor Gillian Black of the University of Edinburgh, who will speak on succession to clan chiefship, coats of arms and peerage in Scotland, and how these things are impacted by changing legal status of issues of legitimacy of birth, gender, surrogacy, adoption and gender reassignment.  Email alan.hay@carreraslathane.com for an invitation to the Zoom meeting.  Please note, as always, that these invitations are limited by numbers, with priority given to members of the Clan Hay Society.