This illustrious family, and that of Hay, Earls of Erroll, are descended from a common ancestor, namely,
WILLIAM II DE HAYA, who settled in Lothian more than eight centuries ago, and filled the office of royal butler during the reigns of MALCOLM IV of Scotland and WILLIAM THE LION of Scotland.
From the youngest son of this personage lineally descended
JOHN HAY (1450-1508), who was raised to the peerage, in 1488, as Lord Hay of Yester; which barony descended, uninterruptedly, to
JOHN (1593-1653), 8th Lord, who inherited, at the decease of his father, in 1609, and was created, in 1646, Earl of Tweeddale.
This nobleman married firstly, Lady Jean Seton, daughter of Alexander, 1st Earl of Dunfermline, in 1624; and secondly, Lady Margaret Montgomerie, daughter of Alexander, 6th Earl of Eglinton, in 1641.His lordship died in 1653, and was succeeded by his son,
JOHN (1626-97), 2nd Earl. This nobleman was advanced, in 1694, to the dignities of Viscount Walden, Earl of Gifford, and MARQUESS OF TWEEDDALE.
He married Lady Jane Scott, daughter of Walter, 1st Earl of Buccleuch, by whom he had five sons and two daughters. His eldest son,
JOHN (1645-1713), 2nd Marquess, who wedded, in 1666, Lady Anne Maitland, only daughter and heiress of John, Duke of Lauderdale, by whom he had three sons. The eldest son,
CHARLES (1670-1715), 3rd Marquess, was succeeded by his son,
JOHN (1695-1762), 4th Marquess, whose son,
GEORGE (1758-70), 5th Marquess, died a minor, when the family honours reverted to his uncle,
GEORGE (1700-87), 6th Marquess, who died without issue, when the family honours reverted to his kinsman,
GEORGE (1753-1804), 7th Marquess, great-grandson of John, the 2nd Marquess (through his youngest son, Lord William Hay).
This nobleman married, in 1785, Lady Hannah Charlotte Maitland, daughter of James, Earl of Lauderdale, by whom he had issue,
GEORGE (1787-1876), 8th Marquess.
The heir presumptive is the present holder's younger brother Lord Alistair James Montagu Hay, Master of Tweeddale (b 1955).
- George Hay, 8th Marquess (1787–1876)
- George Hay, Earl of Gifford (1822-62)
- Arthur Hay, 9th Marquess (1824-78)
- William Montagu Hay, 10th Marquess (1826–1911)
- William George Montagu Hay, 11th Marquess (1884–1967)
- Lord Hay (1928–1928)
- David George Montagu Hay, 12th Marquess (1921-79)
- Edward Douglas John Hay, 13th Marquess (1947–2005)
- Charles David Montagu Hay, 14th Marquess (b 1947)
YESTER HOUSE, near Gifford, Haddingtonshire, was built by the architect James Smith for John, 2nd Marquess of Tweeddale.
Smith was assisted by his partner Alexander MacGill and although work began in 1697, progress was slow and the house was not completed for more than 20 years.
The saloon, by William, John and Robert Adam, was described by painter Gavin Hamilton (1723-98) as "the finest room at least in Scotland".
None of Smith's original interior remains today, but the Adam work is of remarkable quality.
Robert Adam was commissioned once again to restyle the exterior (1789), but only the north side was completed due to Adam's death in 1792.
The architect Robert Brown re-oriented the interior in the 1830s, moving the main entrance to the West. To achieve this, the West wing was demolished.
The original entrance was converted to a dining-room and the garden parlour to a fine drawing-room.
Robert Rowand Anderson made further changes (1877).
The estate was sold after the death of the 12th Marquess in 1967.
In 1972, it was bought by the Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti. After Menotti's death, the house was marketed by his family with a price of between £12 million and £15 million.
The house is said to have a gross internal area of 34,580 square feet.
In September, 2010, the guide price was reduced to £8 million, with the exclusion of 120 hectares (300 acres) of woodlands from the sale; and two months later, it was reported that the house was being purchased by the musician Lady Gaga, although this was denied by the estate agent.
Yester was built on the site of a previous 16th Century tower house, which itself had been a replacement for the original 13th Century Yester Castle, the ruins of which are still to be found a mile to the south-east.First published in December, 2013. Tweeddale arms courtesy of European Heraldry.