TV star’s Hay ancestry revealed

Readers may like to look up the first episode of the new ITV television programme, DNA Journey, which broadcast last week and can be located on  It looks at the family history of TV quiz show supremo Anne Hegerty, who found fame as one of the 'chasers' on the popular quiz show, The Chase.

Anne's DNA journey was revealing in more ways than one.  Although she herself is as English as roast beef, her DNA make-up shows she is 41% Scottish, which is by a very long way the biggest part of her ancestry.

The Clan Hay Society was contacted back in October about the programme and provided a lengthy commentary on Anne's Hay connections.  She is the great, great, great granddaughter of Sir John Hay of Park, seventh baronet, in the direct female line.  Sir John was the only (and posthumous) son of military engineer and war hero, Lt. Col. Lewis Hay, who was killed at the Battle of Den Helder in 1799.  As General Sir Ralph Abercromby was unaware of the future baronet's existence when he arranged financial support for the colonel's widow and children, Sir John did not benefit from his father's pension arrangements and had to make his own way in the world.  He trained as a lawyer and ultimately became a respected judge, as Sheriff Substitute of Stirling.  He died in 1862.

Anne is, therefore, the fourth cousin once removed of Sir John Hay of Park, the 11th and last baronet.  He was the last of his line and the title became extinct on his death in 2020.