Source: The Daily Mail

Annie Lennox has never been one to follow social convention, often courting controversy with her outspoken views and androgynous style.

But her relatives were scandalising society long before she made a career out of it.

A new episode of BBC genealogy programme Who Do You Think You Are? will uncover the chequered family history of the 57-year-old Eurythmics star.


It reveals that her great-great-grandmother, Isabella McHardy, was hauled before the Kirk Session after giving birth to an illegitimate child.

For Miss Lennox, who knew nothing of her family beyond her grandparents and whose parents both died of cancer, it was quite a revelation.

She was shocked to discover that great-grandfather George Ferguson was born in 1852 out of wedlock.

His mother was called before the elders of the Church of Scotland, whose responsibility it was to maintain moral order among their congregation, and shamed for her transgression with William Ferguson.

The fascinating story is revealed in a preview of the programme, which will be aired on September 5. 

Miss Lennox’s episode uncovers an extraordinarily dark tale of tangled family relationships blighted by illegitimacy and poverty.

Miss McHardy, a poultry maid, never married and died aged 83 from an ‘attack of  gastritis due to over-feeding’, according to Scotland magazine.

It asked the research service Scottish Roots to look into Miss Lennox’s family tree four years ago, finding a humble heritage for a woman estimated in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List to be worth £30million.

The singer, who was born in Aberdeen on Christmas Day 1954 as Ann Lennox, is daughter of a boilermaker and a cook.

Her maternal grandparents, William Ferguson and Dora Paton, were a gamekeeper and a dairymaid. The earliest  relative found for her, James Lennox, who was born in 1760 in Glassford, Lanarkshire, was a farmer.

Miss Lennox grew up in a two-room flat in a tenement in Aberdeen and has spoken about her tough background. ‘Class is definitely part of me,’ she has said. 

Having married twice, she now lives in Notting Hill and has two daughters, Lola and Tali.

The singer has retained her links to Aberdeen, even weighing in on the plans to redevelop Union Terrace Gardens.

She returned to the city in May to launch an exhibition of her life, The House of Annie Lennox, at Aberdeen Art Gallery.