George Hay was born into a family of the Episcopalian faith in 1727. He was a medical student in Edinburgh at the time of the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, and went out to help the wounded after the Battle of Prestonpans. He followed the Jacobite army down into England and on its retur
n to Scotland. He returned to his family in Edinburgh, so he did not go as far as Culloden.
He was advised to report into the authorities that he had been a medical orderly with the Jacobites just to keep himself right. Since he had not borne arms, he was assured, he would not incur any punishment. That was bad advice. He was sent south to a prison ship on the Thames.
Eventually freed, on his return to Edinburgh’ he was advised that the authorities were still on the lookout for Jacobite supporters and his spell in prison would not exclude him from another possible spell inside. So, he went off to family friends, the Montgomerys in Kilbride (now East Kilbride). It was here in his enforced leisure that he read “Popery: Represented and Misrepresented” which set him on course to be received into the Church.