Hays of Yester

1592 to 1695

Margaret, the daughter of Mark Ker, 1st Earl of Lothian, married James, 7th Lord Hay of Yester, in June 1592. We surmise that Monkton House was part of her dowry and that this is how it passed into the hands of the Hays of Yester, a very influential and powerful aristocratic family. Their winged ram’s head motif is carved over massive double studded doors next to the entrance courtyard.

In the late 17th century they commissioned Sir William Bruce to remodel the property extensively. The bolection panelling in the room that is now the Chinese Room is similar to that in the oldest part of the Palace of Holyrood, also remodelled by him, and very rare.

The last member of the family to own Monkton House, Alexander Hay, fell into debt and his creditors brought an action against his widow, which resulted in a court order to sell. One must wonder whether employing the foremost architect of the time might have had something to do with the decline in his finances.