Wolverhampton BTW

Edward William Auriol Drummond-Hay

Drummond-Hay, Edward William Auriol, 1785—1845

by Benjamin Colbert

Edward William Auriol Drummond-Hay, antiquary and later Consul-General at Tangiers, Morocco, was born on 4 April 1785, the son of the Reverend Edward Auriol Hay-Drummond (1758-1829) and Elizabeth de Vismes (d.1790). He was educated at Christ’s Church, Oxford, earning his B.A. on 4 June 1806.

In 1808, he took up a commission as lieutenant in the army; by 1812, he had been promoted to captain of the 61st and 73rd regiments, and aid-de-camp to Major-General Robertson. In these various roles, he served in the peninsular war, France, the Low Countries, and was present at the Battle of Waterloo. On 11 December 1812, he married Louisa Margaret Thomson (1792-1869), daughter of John Thomson (d.1824), Deputy Commissary General of the Eastern District. Their second son, Sir John Hay Drummond (1816-1893; ODNB) was born at Valenciennes, while Drummond-Hay served in the British forces then occupying France.

When Drummond-Hay retired from active service, he took up residency in Gorleston, near Great Yarmouth, where he took a passionate interest in antiquarian research. He locally published a letter to the Committee of the Essex and Colchester General Hospital on a recently discovered Roman sculpture representing the Theban sphinx, and subsequently recrafted it as an article in the October 1821 issue of the Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature, and the Arts, published by John Murray. Not long after, he began corresponding with Murray over a new project, a translation of Frederika Freygang and Wilhelm von Freygang’s Letters from the Caucuses, possibly instigated by his wife who appears to have been the principal translator.

As the Murray correspondence demonstrates, Drummond-Hay took upon himself the business of superintending negotiations on the production of the volume and subsequent editorial decisions. The letters suggest, too, that money was tight in the household, notwithstanding Drummond-Hay’s relocation to Edinburgh in August 1823 after being appointed Principal Keeper of Records in the Court of the Lord Lyon (the heraldry office of Scotland), secured through his cousin, Thomas Robert Hay-Drummond, 11th Earl of Kinnoull (1785-1866).

After the publication of the Freygang translation in 1823, Drummond-Hay turned his attention more fully to his antiquarian pursuits (although he continued to take an interest in the sales of the translation, enjoining Murray as late as 5 October 1828 to promote sales of the book in Edinburgh and on the continent). On 8 March 1824, he joined the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and later became its Secretary (1827-29), moving in circles that included John Gibson Lockhart. But on 8 May 1829 he announced his retirement from that post to take up his appointment as Consul-General to Tangiers, and he appears to have lost little time in setting out. His private journals of that journey to Morocco, now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, cover the period from 1829-30.

Drummond-Hay spent the remainder of his life serving in Morocco, his remit from the Foreign Office being to counter French expansionism in the region (particularly after the French invasion of Algiers in 1830) and to protect British shipping. Drummond-Hay proved a highly competent administrator, but his exertions led to serious illness and his death in 1845, after which his son, Sir John Drummond-Hay (1816-1893; ODNB) was appointed to continue his work.


Archaeologia Scotica, or, Transactions of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Vol. 5. Edinburgh: Printed for the Society, 1890. Print.

Ben-Srhir, Khalid. Britain and Morocco during the Embassy of John Drummond Hay, 1845-1886. Trans. Malcolm Williams and Gavin Waterson. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005. 18-20. Print.

‘Death of Drummond Hay, Esq., British Consul-General in Morrocco’. The Morning Post, no. 23139 (Thurs. 13 Mar. 1845). Gale Databases: British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900. Web. 28 Sept. 2017.

Drummond-Hay, Edward William Auriol. Letters to John Murray, 1822-1828. MS.40535. John Murray Archive. Nat. Lib. Scotland.

Lockhart, John Gibson. Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart. 7 vols. Edinburgh: Robert Cadell, 1837. Lord Byron and His Times 2011. Web. 28 Sept. 2017.

‘Marriages’. Jackson’s Oxford Journal, no. 3113 (Sat., 26 Dec. 1812). Gale Databases: British Library Newspapers, Part I: 1800-1900. Web. 28 Sept. 2017.

Notebook relating to history of the Drummond-Hay Family 1776-1830 [1830]. MS. Eng. hist. d. 506. Bodleian Lib., Oxford.

Lundy, Daryl, comp. The Peerage: A Genealogical Survey of Britain as Well as the Royal Families of Europe. 2013. Web. 28 Sept. 2017.

Rigg, J. M., and Lynn Milne. 'Hay, Sir John Hay Drummond- (1816–1893), diplomatist'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 24 May 2007. Oxford University Press. Web. 28 Sept. 2017. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/8091


Title Published
Letters from the Caucasus and Georgia 1823 Editor

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