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
as a hereditary peer
30 June 1978 – 11 November 1999
Preceded byThe 23rd Countess of Erroll
Succeeded bySeat abolished
as an elected hereditary peer
11 November 1999
Preceded bySeat established
Lord High Constable of Scotland
Chief of Clan Hay
Personal details
Merlin Sereld Victor Gilbert Hay

(1948-04-20) 20 April 1948 (age 74)
Isabelle Astell
(m. 1982; died 2020)
Residence(s)Woodbury 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, elder son of Diana Hay, 23rd Countess of Erroll and Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, was a Page to the Lord Lyon in 1956. He was educated at Eton College before going up to Trinity College, Cambridge.[2]

Earl of Erroll[edit]

Succeeding his mother, the Countess, in 1978 as Earl of Erroll, and in 1985, his father as a baronet, Lord Erroll now serves as a member of the Council of the Hereditary Peerage Association.[3] Whilst Lord Erroll inherited Chieftainship of Clan Hay via his mother, their father's Chieftainship of Clan Moncreiffe devolved to his younger brother Peregrine.

Marriage and family[edit]

He married Isabelle Jacqueline Laline Astell Hohler (Brussels, 22 August 1955 – 13 January 2020), daughter of Major Thomas Sidney Hohler and his wife, heiress to the Astell family, of Everton House, Bedfordshire,[4] in 1982. The Countess was a Patroness of the Royal Caledonian Ball[5] and served as High Sheriff of Bedfordshire in 2015.[6]

The Earl and Countess had two sons and two daughters:

  • Harry Thomas William Hay, Lord Hay (b. Basingstoke, 8 August 1984); married Clementine Travis in 2017.[7]
  • Lady Amelia Diana Jacqueline Hay (b. Basingstoke, 23 November 1986)
  • Lady Laline Lucy Clementine Hay (b. Basingstoke, 21 December 1987); married Major Jeremy Sudlow in 2017.[8]
  • Hon. Richard Merlin Iain Astell (b. Basingstoke, 14 December 1990); took the surname "Astell" by Royal Licence in 2015.[9][4]

Military and business career[edit]

The Earl of Erroll became a Lieutenant at the Atholl Highlanders since 1974,[2] and is a Member of the Royal Company of Archers.[10] 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.[11]

Lord Erroll has worked as a marketing and computer consultant,[2] is a Freeman of the City of London,[2] and Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers (2000–01).[12] He continues to head the Puffin's Club, founded by his father.[13] He was President of ERADAR, an e-business consultancy,[14] and is Chairman of the Digital Policy Alliance (EURIM).[15]

He was a director of LASSeO, a not-for-profit technical standardization and interoperability membership organisation for smartcard technologies.[16]


Lord Erroll was one of 90 excepted hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords following the House of Lords Act 1999.[17] A programmer and system designer by trade,[18] 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 Gordon Brown's government for what he said was a failure to curb cybercrime after four government agencies, including the Ministry of Defence and HM Revenue and Customs, reported massive losses of data in 2008.[18] Most recently he was a member of the Information Committee from 2007 to 2012.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tomlinson, Richard (20 December 1992). "They also serve, who only ush". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d "Who are Scotland's present day clan chiefs?".
  3. ^ "Hereditary Peerage Association - Notices". HPA. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2009.
  4. ^ a b Kingsley, Nick (20 May 2016). "Landed families of Britain and Ireland: (217) Astell of Everton House and Woodbury Hall".
  5. ^ "Patronesses". Royal Caledonian Ball. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Baden Powell's granddaughter opens road". Biggleswade Today.
  7. ^ "Lord Hay engaged to Clementine Travis". Peerage News. 18 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Major Jeremy Sudlow and Lady Laline Hay's wedding". Tatler. 18 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Warrants Under the Royal Sign Manual".
  10. ^ "Patrons of the Society". Keepers of the Quaich.
  11. ^ "Honorary Colonels - Royal Military Police" (PDF). Regimental Headquarters Royal Military Police.
  12. ^ "The Earl of Erroll - Registered Interests". Parliament of the United Kingdom.
  13. ^ "Our top 10 of some of Scotland's strangest clubs". Scottish Field. 13 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Welcome to E RADAR". Archived from the original on 24 January 2012.
  15. ^ "About Us". Digital Policy Alliance. 18 December 2014.
  16. ^ Earl of Erroll; Dr John Gill; Geoff Doggett; Mick Davies. "About LASSeO". LASSeO. Archived from the original on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  17. ^ a b "40 Years a Chief".
  18. ^ a b "One lord leaping on the government's IT flaws". The Guardian. 10 April 2008.

External links[edit]

Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by Earl of Erroll
Member of the House of Lords
Heir apparent:
Lord Hay
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New office
Elected hereditary peer to the House of Lords
under the House of Lords Act 1999
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by 12th Baronet
(of Moncreiffe)
Heir apparent:
Lord Hay