Clan Hannay and Sorbie Castle, Scotland.

This post was a bit of an unexpected link for me, and I wish I had known about this link earlier… A few years ago in 2018 I went to Edinburgh for a conference, and I *loved* Edinburgh and Scotland. I had always wanted to go, and I liked the wild ruggedness of Scotland – its a bit more like Australia compared to England which is much more manicured and formal (and tamed by humans for centuries). I really wished that I was connected to a scottish clan so I could buy tartan and kilts and brooches….. In 2019, I got my Ancestry DNA results back, and it showed 51% English, 25% Irish and 14% Germany (still a mystery!), 8% Scottish and 2% Wales. but I didnt know where DNA link could possilby have come from – Hapgoods are English, Waddells were from Northern Ireland, and my Mums family is all from England. But I forgot to consider the Hanney family…

Hester Hanney b1817 is my 3rd Great Grandmother, and the wife of Thomas Hapgood b1817, who came out to Australia from Marksbury in 1854 on the LadyAnn ship with their 4 children. Her father was Charles Hanney b1784 in Compton Dando (not far from Marksbury) in Somerset. In 1812 he married Hannah Branch b1788 (born in Clutton Somerset) in Marksbury.

Marriage record for Charles Hanney marriage to Hannah Branch, in Marksbury, Somerset 1812 [1]

The Hapgoods and the Hanney families are entwined in Marksbury for a couple of generations – in Marksbury, Wales and the USA (see my previous blog post). Its not clear where the link to Scotland comes in – tracking Charles Hanney’s ancestors back to 1700 (not really verified so not writing this part up in this blog yet) seems to keep the family squarely in Publow, Somerset area for many generations.

What is exciting is that the Hanneys from Marksbury are officially considered part of the Scottish Hannay Clan – and therefore “we” have a family castle!!

Clan Hannay Society Facebook banner

Although the direct link between the Hanneys of Marksbury and the Hannay clan from Sorbie Scotland is unknown, the Marksbury branch of the Hanney family is officially listed in the book “The Hannays of Sorbie” by Stewart Francis and Frank Lawler available at Amazon (hardcopy and ebook) on p359. The book shows the tree of James Hanney and Hannah Hapgood from Marksbury and talks about the Hanney Band. This is definitely the right Hapgoods & Hanneys. This is the history of the clan and official genealogy, so if its good enough for the official Hannay Clan genealogist, its good enough for me!

The Hannays of Sorbie, 4th edition. Purchase hardcopy or ebook via amazon.

The Hannay clan – which includes the last names Hannay, Hanney, Hanna, Hannah etc – dates back to about 1309 near the village of Sorbie, in an area known Dumfries and Galloway, southwestern Scotland.on the south west of Scotland close to the border with England [2].

Sorbie Tower was built in the 16th Century, and the outer walls still survive [2]. It is currently an A grade heritage listed building and the Clan Hannay society holds annual gatherings there and is working on restoring the tower to its former glory [2, 5].

Sorbie Tower, prior to the restoration project, from wikipedia
Sorbie Tower – restoration in progress, photo by Galloway Tours
Sorbie Tower, 1590 vs today (before restoration began). Restoration is an ongoing project

There are loads of blog posts about visiting Sorbie Tower with photos – take a virtual trip here or here or here with former visitors who wrote it all up in their blogs, a video tour on Youtube led by the convener of the Clan Hannay society, or TripAdvisor or a local tour company . Clan Hannay gives directions and tips on where to stay – start planning! Especially if you want to attend the annual clan gathering once covid clears…

There is of course no shortage of opportunities to deck yourself out in traditional Hannay gear – there is a special Hannay tartan (below), buy all sorts of merchandise from the Clan Hannay shop, you can become an official member of Clan Hannay, join their Facebook page or donate to the Sorbie Tower restoration project.

I know its a very distant link, but it explains the 8% Scottish DNA result, and it adds a terrific destination to a future trip to Scotland to see Sorbie Tower one day…..


[1] Somerset, England, Marriage Registers, Bonds and Allegations, 1754-1914

[2] Clan History, Clan Hannay Society and Sorbie Tower


[4] Clan Hannay Society Facebook page

[5] Sorbie Tower Restoration Project

[6] Image uploaded to Pinterest by R Hanna

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