Hailing from the ancient region of Galloway in south-west Scotland, this clan has deep Pict roots. Galloway is contained by sea to the west and south, the Galloway Hills to the north, and the River Nith to the east; the border between Kirkcudbright and Wigtownshire is marked by the River Cree.
Early records confirm their opposition to Robert the Bruce. Gradually, the family increased its standing, erecting Sorbie Tower in 1550 on their lands. This remained their ancestral set until the clan was outlawed in the 17th century, following a disastrous feud with the Murrays.
At this time, many Hannays fled to Ulster, where the name is still very common. In later years, the Hannays of Kirkdale became the principle branch of the family.