Merlin Hay, 24th Earl of Erroll

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The Earl of Erroll
Official portrait of The Earl of Erroll crop 2.jpg
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
30 June 1978
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byThe 23rd Countess of Erroll
Personal details
Merlin Sereld Victor Gilbert Hay

(1948-04-20) 20 April 1948 (age 72)
Spouse(s)Isabelle (née Astell), Countess of Erroll
MotherDiana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll
FatherSir Rupert Iain Kay Moncreiffe, 11th Baronet
ResidenceWoodbury Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire

Merlin Sereld Victor Gilbert Hay, 24th Earl of Erroll (born 20 April 1948) is a crossbench member of the House of Lords, chief of the Scottish clan Hay, and hereditary Lord High Constable of Scotland.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Lord Erroll is the son of Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll and Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk. He was page to the Lord Lyon in 1956. He was educated at Eton College and at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Earl of Erroll[edit]

He succeeded his mother, the countess, in 1978 as Earl of Erroll, and in 1985, his father as a Baronet. He is a member of the Council of the Hereditary Peerage Association.[2] As Lord Erroll was Chief of Clan Hay by virtue of his mother's title, his younger brother Peregrine took over from their father as Chief of Clan Moncreiffe.

Marriage and family[edit]

He married Isabelle Jacqueline Laline Astell Hohler (b. Brussels, 22 August 1955; died 13 January 2020), daughter of Major Thomas Sidney Hohler and heiress to the family of Astell, of Everton House, Bedfordshire,[3] in 1982. The Countess was a patroness of the Royal Caledonian Ball [4] and served as High Sheriff of Bedfordshire in 2015.[5]

The couple has two sons and two daughters:

  • Harry Thomas William Hay, Lord Hay (b. Basingstoke, 8 August 1984), married to Clementine Travis in 2017. [6]
  • Lady Amelia Diana Jacqueline Hay (b. Basingstoke, 23 November 1986)
  • Lady Laline Lucy Clementine Hay (b. Basingstoke, 21 December 1987), married to Major Jeremy Sudlow in 2017. [7]
  • Hon. Richard Merlin Iain Hay (b. Basingstoke, 14 December 1990); took the surname of Astell by Royal Licence in 2015.[8][3]

Military and business career[edit]

The Earl of Erroll has been a lieutenant at the Atholl Highlanders since 1974, and is a Member of the Royal Company of Archers. He served in the 21st SAS Artists Rifles (V) Territorial Army from 1975 to 1990, and was an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Military Police (Territorial Army) from 1992 to 1997.

Erroll has worked as a marketing and computer consultant, is a Freeman of the City of London and a Member of the Court of Assistants of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, of which he was Prime Warden in 2000–2001. He continues to head the club, Puffin's Club, founded by his father. He is also President of ERADAR the Chamber for Electronic Business,[9] and Chairman of the Digital Policy Alliance (EURIM).[10]

He is a director of Lasseo, a not-for-profit technical standardization and interoperability membership organisation for smartcard technologies.[11]


Lord Erroll was one of 90 excepted hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords following the House of Lords Act 1999. A programmer and system designer by trade he sits as a crossbencher and usually speaks on matters relating to cybersecurity and information technology. He was a member of the Science and Technology Committee and criticised Tony Blair's government for the failure to curb cyber crime after various government agencies, including the Ministry of Defence and HM Revenue and Customs, reported massive losses of data in 2008.[12] Most recently he was a member of the Information Committee from 2007 to 2012.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Tomlinson, Richard (20 December 1992). "They also serve, who only ush". Independent.
  2. ^ "Hereditary Peerage Association - Notices". HPA. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2009.
  3. ^ a b Kingsley, Nick (20 May 2016). "Landed families of Britain and Ireland: (217) Astell of Everton House and Woodbury Hall".
  4. ^ "Patronesses". Royal Caledonian Ball. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Baden Powell's granddaughter opens road". Biggleswade Today.
  6. ^ "Lord Hay engaged to Clementine Travis". Peerage News. 18 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Major Jeremy Sudlow and Lady Laline Hay's wedding". Tatler. 18 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Warrants Under the Royal Sign Manual".
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Digital Policy Alliance". 18 December 2014.
  11. ^ Earl of Erroll; Dr John Gill; Geoff Doggett; Mick Davies. "LASSeO". LASSeO. Archived from the original on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  12. ^ "One lord leaping on the government's IT flaws". The Guardian. 10 April 2008.


External links[edit]

Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Diana Hay
Earl of Erroll
Heir apparent:
Harry Hay, Lord Hay