History of Rannas Estate
The Hays of Rannas (or Rannes as it was formerly known) had long been in possession of the Estate of Rannas when Andrew Hay was born in 1713.
He, as eldest son, took sasine (Scots Law term for registration of heritable property) on the Estate of Rannas in 1733 on a Crown Charter, which made him virtual owner of the estate, while receiving the life rents of his father and mother.
Andrew Hay of Rannas
He is perhaps best known for his devotion to the Jacobite cause and, in 1745, went on horseback to Holyrood to join Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) in the Rising of 1745. Andrew, though called "Hay, younger of Rannas", as his father was still alive, was looked on as a man of means and a promising recruit for the cause.
Having taken part in many battles, including Prestonpans, Derby and Falkirk, his final battle was to be at Culloden on 16th April 1746 where the Jacobites were completely defeated. Andrew escaped and after many wanderings returned to his native lands.
One of the most notable things about Andrew was his height - 7 feet 2 inches in his stockings! Giving evidence against Andrew at his trial was Samuel Maddock, one of the Government informers, who said, "The first man to enter the town (Manchester) was Hay of Rannes, who was remarkable, being 7 foot high". His appearance greatly impressed the English and gave the inhabitants of Manchester a real dread of the Highlanders!
Once back in Banffshire, a county he knew so well and loved dearly, he remained successfully guarded and hidden by his mother and estate tenants. Andrew "lurked" in the vicinity of Rannas, sometimes in farm houses, at other times in woods, hills and caves on the surrounding Bin Hill and Hill of Maud and was a fugitive and hunted rebel for a further 5 years until his father's death in 1751. It was now considered wiser for Andrew to retire to the continent, which he did in 1752 after saying farewell to his beloved mother, family and home.
Rannas House was destroyed by fire in 1759 while Andrew was away and nothing could be saved except the family papers - which were stored in a specially built vault - and the walls of the two wings of the great house.
Within two years the house was rebuilt, albeit on a less grand scale, and was occupied by Andrew after he made his peace with the authorities and was pardoned. Andrew never married and lived at Rannas with his sister Jean until his death in 1789.
The Estate, however, had been sold to the neighbouring Seafield Estate and the Earl of Findlater in 1781 for the vast sum of £22,467. Andrew used his fortune to aid his nephew's financial problems at Leith Hall in Kennethmont. In return, Andrews' family name Hay was perpetuated by being incorporated in the name Leith-Hay of Leith Hall.
The current owner of Rannas is David Boyd who purchased the house and land in 1998 from the Earl of Seafield. He has subsequently purchased further areas of woodland and ground and has extensive shooting rights over Rannas and neighbouring farms.
Rannas House has been restored and is now a much-cherished family home.
For further information please refer to 'A Jacobite Exile' by Alistair and Henrietta Tayler, published in 1937.