22. And back again – George Keir (Sr.)(1705-1788) & family return to Scotland (and what happened after that…)

Welcome back to a new blog from The Keir Collective – which returns to the main-line narrative. Recall that we left George Keir (Sr.) [see Blog #11] as he left Yorkshire to return to the country of his birth – Scotland. This blog (and future blogs) therefore deals with what happened next… read on.

We see from Blog #11 that George Keir Senior returned to Scotland to take up the role as Factor to the Earl of Kinnoull by, at least, the 6th of July 1773 (but probably a year or more earlier than this…) and that he died on the 15th of May, 1788 at Goodlyburn, Perthshire where he presumably had retired to farm. (His wife, Catherine Hinscliff had pre-deceased him; dying in 1783 at the same place.)

Goodlyburn itself no longer exists – eaten by the city’s urban sprawl (Google maps does show where Goodlyburn Primary School and Goodlyburn Place are however) –  but in the 18th century it was a Suburb of Perth situated near Balhousie castle and the assumed farm of which we speak, would have been owned by the Earl. Kinnoul Hill, a lightly forested park just across the river and Balhousie Castle itself (bought in 1625 by Francis Hay, now the Black-watch Museum) are all that remain of the Balhousie ‘Old Town’ to the North of Perth City centre proper, (of which Goodlyburn Farm would have been a part).

The Hay family (Hay Clan) are ancient – it is said deriving from the Norman-born knight Guillaume de la Haye, who was pincerna (cup bearer or butler) to Malcolm IV and William the Lion. English King Charles I advanced Sir George Hay to the Scottish peerage on 4 May 1627 under the titles of Lord Hay of Kinfauns and Viscount Dupplin. On 25 May 1633, Hay was created the Earl of Kinnoull by the same King.

The Hay family share a common ancestor with the Earls of Erroll – Gilbert de la Hay (who died April 1333) was the older brother of William de la Hay, (who was the direct ancestor of the Earls of Kinnoull). In 1251, William received a charter of two carucates of land from his brother, which was confirmed by King Alexander III.

In 1711, the unofficial prime minister Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, made his son-in-law, George Henry Hay, Viscount Dupplin, Baron Hay of Pedwardine in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. George Henry Hay was the father of Thomas Hay (1710-1787), the Earl of Kinnoull [see above] and his own father, Thomas Hay (Sr), married Lady Elizabeth Drummond, daughter of William Drummond, the 1st Viscount Strathallan, on 20 December 1683. They had five children: Lady Margaret Hay (30 September 1686 – 26 April 1707), who married John Erskine, the 6th Earl of Mar on 6 April 1703); Lady Elizabeth Hay (d. 1723, who married James Ogilvy, the 5th Earl of Findlater); George Henry Hay (23 June 1689 – 28 July 1758), who married Lady Abigail Harley [as stated above]; William Hay, who died early (before 1711) and John Hay of Cromlix (1691–1740) who was later created the Earl of Inverness.

From the above we might expect that George Keir (Jr.) (1737-1804), (following in his own father’s footsteps), was factor to the Earl of Kinnoull from (at least) 1783. Old Thomas Hay, the Earl of Kinnoull died on the 27th of December 1787, aged 77 years and was succeeded by his brother’s son (Thomas’ nephew) Robert Hay-Drummond.

Wikipedia states that  Robert Auriol Hay-Drummond (born 18th, March, 1751 – died 19th, April, 1804) was a Scottish peer and Lord Lyon King of Arms. His titles were Earl of Kinnoull, Viscount Dupplin and Lord Hay of Kinfauns in the Peerage of Scotland; and Baron Hay of Pedwardine in the Peerage of Great Britain. He was the eldest son of the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Robert Hay Drummond, the Archbishop of York, and Henrietta Auriol. (In 1739, Robert Hay (Sr,) took on the Drummond name extension and arms as heir of entail of his great-grandfather [see above].) Incidentally Robert Hay-Drummond (Sr.) was patron of the Innerpeffray Library and when he passed away (10 December 1776; aged 65), his son Robert Auriol Hay-Drummond donated his father’s private book collection to the Library.

In 1785 George Keir (Jr) factor to the Right Honourable Earl of Kinnoull issued a “notice of Protest” against Alexander Neilson (wright) & John Robertson (indweller) (both of Perth) for the said Earl in the Perth Courts. [Source: Ancestry.com – on-line Perth, Scotland, Register of Deeds, 1566-1811] and three years later in 1788 David Young, Author of National (Agricultural) Improvements, Published Edinburgh & London, confirms that George Keir (Jr) was Factor to the (new) Right Honourable Earl of Kinnoul. [Source: Ancestry.com US & UK on-line Directories]

The public record also states that George Keir (Jr) married Julia Watson (1752-1808), the 2nd Daughter of Robert Watson of East Rhynd, on the 3rd of June, 1775 in Aberdalgie Parish, Perthshire, Scotland. They subsequently had at least 11 children; Margaret (1776–?) Married Dr George Gordon, a surgeon with the Rutland Fencible Cavalry regiment – 20 Oct 1798, Aberdalgie, Perth, Scotland; Mary (1777–1859); Thomas (1778–1800); Ann (1779–1800); Julia (1780–1846); Robert (1782–1867); Katherine (1783–?); Charlotte (1786–1862); George Keir (1789–1836) – a soldier; and Sarah (1790–1868). This family lived in the Dupplin Castle gatehouse during this time. The Edinburgh Advertiser (Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland) Newspaper of the 4th of November, 1794 states that a Mr. George Keir was “residing at Dupplin” at this time. [Source: Newspaper Archives ® Ancestry.com repository :Web Address: search.Ancestry.com.au/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=news-uk-midl-ed_ad<br/>&h=416649219&ti=5544&indiv=try&gss=pt Publisher: Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Original data: Edinburgh Advertiser. Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper.]


In the next Blogs we discuss what happened to Thomas (1740-1821), William (1746-1814) and John Keir (1749-1830) the other sons of George Keir (Sr) who all found gainful employment as factors in Scotland.

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