Margaret Hay

Miss Hay, an 'excellent and estimable', 'kind and venerable' old lady, was one of the few members of the group to leave instructions in her will about the disposal of her remains. But whereas George Arbuthnot, whose life had an intimate and future-oriented focus of home, wife and children, wished to be buried 'without ostenation', Margaret's burial instructions suggest her heart was in a wider kinship network, and Jacobite past.

Lived
1734 - 25 March 1814
Origin
Restalrig
Father
John Hay Esq WS, of Restalrig, treasurer to Prince Charles, grandson of Sir John Hay of Alderston d. 6 December 1784.
Mother
Ann Elphinstone d.1739, daughter and heiress of James Elphinston of Restalrig
Address
22 Hanover Street
Religious views
Pious bequests included £50 for the Lunatic Asylum, £50 for the Indigent Blind, £50 for the Destitute Sick, and £21 'for the Clergyman and poor of the parish where I die and am buried'. She is one of few to give instructions about her funeral:
'to have my funeral conducted with decent gentility and to deposited in or as near as may be to the vault belonging to the late Countess of Dumfries at Restalrig, and in the absence of Mr Maurice Carmichael, it is my request that Doctor Thomas Hay shall carry my head, and that Baillie James Oliphant be employed as undertaker.'
She later said she wanted Maurice's son Michael to carry her head. The inscription on her monument read,
'it was the earnest wish and dying request of this excellent and estimable woman that her ashes should be laid in the same grave with those of her beloved father and mother in the adjoining burial ground, formerly the property of the family, but this request having been refused by its present proprietor, her earthly remains are laid here, as near as possible to that cherished spot.' (5 p.29)
Restalrig churchyard was the favourite cemetery of the Nonjuring Scottish Episcopalians in the 18thC when the use of the burial service was proscribed in the city burial grounds. An octangular mausoleum stands on the south side of the church, surrounded by yews, believed to have been erected by Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig (d.1489). It passed from the Logans to the Lords Balmerino until their forfeiture in 1746 and they and their families were buried there. From them it passed to the earls of Bute. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe wrote,
'I believe it belongs to Lord Bute, and that application was made to him to allow Miss Hay -- whom I well knew -- daughter of Hay of Restalrig, Prince Charles's forfeited secretary, to be buried in the vault. This was refused, and she lies outside the door. May the earth lie light on her, old lady kind and venerable!' (6)
Wealth at death
Her inventory listed a total of £540, which does not appear sufficient to cover all her legacies.
Chapel connection
1813 (funeral)
Married
unmarried
Related to
Mary Hay, sister.

Sources

  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1818
  3. Margaret Hay's Will, National Archives of Scotland SC70/1/11/583
  4. Letters of Sir Walter Scott ed. H.J.C. Grierson (London, Constable and Co. 1933).
  5. Francis Grant, Register of burials in the Churchyard of Restalrig 1728-1854 (Scottish Record Society, Edinburgh 1908)
  6. James Grant, Old and New Edinburgh (London, Cassell, 1880s) vol.5 p.131 online accessed 27 June 2011

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