Thomas Hay, 9th Earl of Kinnoull

Scottish earl and British politician (1710–1787)

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The Earl of Kinnoull

Portrait by David Martin
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
Member of Parliament
for Cambridge
In office
Preceded by Sir John Hynde Cotton, Bt
Succeeded by Soame Jenyns
Personal details
Born (1710-07-04)4 July 1710
Died 27 December 1787(1787-12-27) (aged 77)
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Constantia Ernlie

(m. 1741; died 1753)​

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Thomas Hay, 9th Earl of Kinnoull PC (4 July 1710 – 27 December 1787), styled Viscount Dupplin from 1719 to 1758, was a Scottish peer, British politician, and scholar.

Family and education[edit]

Hay was the eldest son of George Hay, 8th Earl of Kinnoull, and Abigail, daughter of Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer.[1]

He was educated at Westminster School and then at Christ Church, Oxford.[2]

On 12 June 1741, at Oxford Chapel, Marylebone, he married Constantia Ernle, the only daughter and heiress of John Kyrle Ernle of Whetham House, near Calne, Wiltshire. Her great-grandfather was Sir John Ernle, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1676 and 1689.[3]

They had a son, born 12 August 1742, who died 14 October 1743. She died in July 1753, and was buried in Calne.[1] She had left her money to James Money, son of her first cousin, Elizabeth. A lengthy lawsuit followed between Kinnoull and Money.[3]

He succeeded to the earldom upon his father’s death on 28 July 1758.


As Viscount Dupplin, he was elected for Scarborough in 1736, but his election was overturned on petition. He sat as Member of Parliament (MP) for Cambridge from 1741 until 1758. As an MP, he gradually rose to a position of influence. In the final two parliaments, he served as chairman of the committee of privileges and elections. In 1741, he was appointed one of the commissioners of the revenue in Ireland, and in 1746 was made a lord of trade and plantations. In 1751, Horace Walpole described the earl as “fond of forms and trifles,” but “not absolutely a bad speaker.”[4] He took a prominent part in the efforts to improve the condition of Nova Scotia. In 1754, Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle made him a Lord of the Treasury. He also served joint Paymaster of the Forces from 1755 until 1757.

He was well known in political and literary circles, and his friends included Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke, William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, and the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Secker. He was also acquainted with Alexander Pope, who used him as a model for the character Balbus in his Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot.[4]

He served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1758 to 1762. In 1759, he served as special envoy to Portugal, returning the next year. After the Duke of Newcastle resigned his posts in 1762, Kinnoull told George III he would support whatever minister the King should name. However, when the William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire was dismissed, Kinnoull resigned his posts from his “inviolable friendship” to Devonshire.[2]

He then retired to the country. His final post was as Chancellor of the University of St Andrews from 1765 to his death on 27 December 1787. He was buried in Aberdalgie.[1]

The earldom passed to his nephew, Robert Hay-Drummond.


The 9th Earl built a modest castle near the highest point of Kinnoull Hill, its tower overlooking the Tay. It was inspired by castles he saw along the Rhine in Germany, during his Grand Tour. Jane Austen described Kinnoull Tower in Lesley Castle, a story she wrote in 1790, the year after she stayed there with D’Arcy Wentworth, during their ramble through Scotland :[5][6][7]

I continue secluded from Mankind in our old and Mouldering Castle, which is situated two miles from Perth on a bold projecting rock, and commands an extensive view of the Town and its delightful Environs… You can form no idea sufficiently hideous, of its dungeon like form. It is actually perched on a Rock to appearance so totally inaccessible, that I expected to have been pulled up by a rope.[8]

Today, Kinnoull Tower is more easily accessible, via a winding footpath through Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park. Another of the 9th Earl’s lasting legacies is the Perth Bridge over the River Tay, “the Auld Brig” in the local Scots dialect, which he helped fund. Construction commenced in 1766 and was completed in 1771.

Duplin County, North Carolina, was named for Viscount Dupplin, as the 9th Earl was known when he served on the Board of Trade and Plantations in the 1740s.[9] Lempster, New Hampshire, was briefly named Dupplin from 1753 to 1767.


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  1. ^ a b c .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a,.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F} .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){ .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}Paul, James Balfour (1908). The Scots Peerage : founded on Wood’s edition of Sir Robert Douglas’s Peerage of Scotland; containing an historical and enealogical account of the nobility of that kingdom. Vol. 5. Edinburgh: David Douglas. p. 234.
  2. ^ a b “HAY, Thomas, Visct. Dupplin (1710–87)”. History of Parliament Online. Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b “The Money – Kyrle Family”. The National Archives (United Kingdom). Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1891). “Hay, Thomas” . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 25. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  5. ^ “Jane & DʼArcy – the Secret Romance Revealed”.
  6. ^ W.W.Walker, Jane & D’Arcy: Jane Austen & D’Arcy Wentworth, Volume 1, Folly is not always Folly, Arcana Press, 2017, page 143.
  7. ^ V.S.Rutherford, Jane Austen had a Life! Amazon Books, 2020, page 107 to 120.
  8. ^ Jane Austen, Juvenilia, Volume the Second.
  9. ^ “A Brief History of Duplin County, NC”. Duplin County, North Carolina. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by

Member of Parliament for Cambridge
With: James Martin 1741–1744
Christopher Jeaffreson 1744–1747, 1748–1749
Samuel Shepheard 1747–1748
Charles Sloane Cadogan 1749–1754, 1755–1758
Hon. Thomas Bromley 1754–1755
Succeeded by

Political offices
Preceded by

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Jt Paymaster of the Forces
With: The Earl of Darlington 1755–56
Thomas Potter 1756–57
Succeeded by

Academic offices
Preceded by

Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by

Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by

Earl of Kinnoull
Succeeded by