George Hay, 7th Earl of Erroll PC (c. 1508 – 30 January 1573) was a Scottish nobleman and politician.
Hay was the grandson of William Hay, 3rd Earl of Erroll; George's father Thomas was killed alongside his older brother, William Hay, 4th Earl of Erroll, at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.
After his cousin William Hay, 6th Earl of Erroll died in 1541 leaving only a young daughter, George succeeded to the earldom and with it the family title of Lord High Constable of Scotland. The sixth earl, who inherited the earldom as a toddler, died under the age of 21; by the time George inherited the titles, the barony had been in the possession of the crown for 19 years, four months.
In September and December 1741, the crown transferred into the new earl's hands the lands and baronies of Errol, Capeth, Inchiref, and Fossoquhy in Perthshire; Cowie in Kincardine, Cassingray in Fife; Dronlaw and Innerpeffer in Forfarshire; and Slains in Aberdeenshire.
The Peerage of Scotland is unique in that it allows the titles to descend along the female lines; Jean, the young daughter of the sixth earl of Erroll, could have conceivable inherited the earldom as Countess of Erroll. Instead, the crown negotiated for George to inherit, with the condition that he pay 4,000 merks to Helen, Dowager Countess of Erroll and to marry one of his sons to Jean Hay "at the King’s pleasure."
Following the death of James V of Scotland—leaving only six-day old Princess Mary as his successor—Erroll was one of the Scottish nobles who signed an agreement to support taking the regency from the Earl of Arran in favour of the Queen Mother by suggesting that his father's divorce and second marriage were invalid, making Arran illegitimate. In April 1567, Erroll was a signatory to Ainslie's Tavern Band agreeing to the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots to the Earl of Bothwell.
He was a member of the Privy Council of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1561. He side with the Hamiltons in the interest of the captive Queen Mary in 1569, but did not forfeit his titles in his support of the queen.
Marriage and issue
In 1528, Hay married Margaret Robertson, daughter of Alexander Robertson of Struan, 24th chief of Clan Donnachaidh, and granddaughter of John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl and by her had nine children:
- Lady Elizabeth Hay (b. 1531), married firstly Sir William Keith, Lord of Keith, son of William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal and secondly Cuthbert, baron Coulhart
- Andrew Hay, 8th Earl of Erroll, married his cousin Jean Hay, daughter of the sixth Earl of Erroll
- Lady Margaret Hay, married Laurence Oliphant, 4th Lord Oliphant
- John Hay of Muchall
- Laurence Hay, who reportedly destroyed the manse at Findo Gask
- George Hay of Ardlethen
- Lady Beatrix Hay (b. c. 1560), married William Hay of Delgatie
- Thomas Hay, parson of Turriff
- Alexander Hay
In 1561, the earl married Helen Bryson, daughter of Walter Bryson of Pitcullen, and had two more children:
- Eupham Hay (likely died young)
- Lady Elizabeth (Isobel) Hay, married Sir John Leslie of Balquhain, and divorced him for adultery; married second, James, Lord Balfour, Baron of Glenawley
- Balfour Paul, pp. 569-571.