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The Scottish Nation

LAMOND, or LAMONT, the name of a small clan of great antiquity in Argyleshire, included under the name of Siol Eachern, and supposed to have been originally of the same race as the Macdougall Campbells of Craignish. According to Highland tradition, the Lamonts were the most ancient proprietors of Cowal, and the Stewarts, the Maclachlans, and the Campbells obtained their possessions in the district by marriage with daughters of that family. Their chief, Lamont of Lamont, has still a portion of their ancient inheritance. The ancestor of the Lamonts is traced by Skene to Angus Macrory, who is said to have been lord of Bute, whose granddaughter, Jean, married in 1242, Alexander, the high steward of Scotland. Between 1230 and 1246 Duncan, son of Ferchar, and his nephew, ‘Laumanus,’ son of Malcolm, granted to the monks of Paisley the lands which they and their predecessors held at Kilmun, and also the church of Killinan or St. Finan, now Kilfinan, which grants were, in 1270, confirmed by Engus, the son of Duncan, and in 1295 by Malcolm, the son and heir of ‘Laumanus.’ In 1456 John Lamond was bailie of Cowal, and in 1466 John Lamond of that ilk and the monks of Paisley had a controversy relative to the right of patronage to the church of St. Finan, when the former renounced it only on the production of the charters granted by his ancestors, but with respect to the lands of Kilfinan it is expressly stated that these lands had belonged to the ancestors of John Lamont; hence, it is evident that the ‘Laumanus’ mentioned in the previous deed must have been one of the number, if not indeed the founder and chief of the family. “From Laumanus,” says Mr. Skene, “the clan appear to have taken the name of Maclaman or Lamond, and previous to Laumanus they unquestionably bore the name of Macerachar and clan ic Earchar. There is one peculiarity connected with the Lamonds, that although by no means a powerful clan, their genealogy can be proved by charters, at a time when most other Highland families are obliged to have recourse to tradition, and the genealogies of their ancient sennaches; but their antiquity could not protect the Lamonds from the encroachments of the Campbells, by whom they were soon reduced to as small a portion of their original possessions in Lower Cowal, as the other Argyleshire clans had been of theirs.” [Skene’s Highlanders, vol. ii., part 2, chap. 4.] About 1463 the lands belonging to Lamont of that ilk fell to the crown by reason of non-entry, and for nearly a century were held by a branch of the family, known as the Lamonts of Inveria. Smibert says, “For the name of Lamont we must either conclude that it originated in some chief of the hills (De Le-Mont) who had gained celebrity in his day and generation, or that it is simply a version of Lomond, near to which lake they dwelt.” [Clans of Scotland, p. 34.]

      According to Nisbet, the clan Lamont were originally from Ireland, but whether they sprung from the Dalriadic colony, or from a still earlier race in Cowal, it is certain that they possessed, at a very early period, the superiority of the district. Their name continued to be the prevailing one, till the middle of the 17th century. In June 1646, certain chiefs of the clan Campbell in the vicinity of Dunoon castle, determined upon obtaining the ascendency, took advantage of the feuds and disorders of the period, to wage a war of extermination against the Lamonts. The massacre of the latter by the Campbells, that year, formed one of the charges against the marquis of Argyle in 1661, although he does not seem to have been any party to it. On his arrest at the Restoration, and arrival in Edinburgh, the Laird of Lamont presented a supplication to parliament, craving warrant to cite the marquis and some others, to appear and answer for crimes committed by him and them as specified in the bill given in. His indictment bore that certain of his clan having besieged and forced to a surrender the houses of Toward (the old castle of Toward, now a ruin, being the residence of the chief of the clan Lamont) and Escog, then the property of Sir James Lamont, and having violated the terms of the capitulation on which the surrender was made, “did most treacherously, perfidiously, and traitorously fetter and bind the hands of near two hundred persons of the said Sir James’ friends and followers,” and after detaining them prisoners for several days “in great torment and misery,” did, “after plundering and robbing all that was within and about the said house, most barbarously , cruelly, and inhumanly, murder several, young and old, yea, and sucking children, some of them not one month old.” And again, “The said persons, defendants or one or others of them, contrary to the foresaid capitulations, our laws and acts of parliament, most treacherously and perfidiously did carry the whole people who were in the said houses of Escog and Towart, in boats to the village of Dunoon, and there most cruelly, treacherously, and perfidiously cause hang upon none tree near the number of thirty-six persons, most of them being special gentleman of the name of Lamont, and vassals to the said Sir James.”

      An interesting tradition is recorded of one of the lairds of Lamont, who had unfortunately killed, in a sudden quarrel, the son of MacGregor of Glenstrae, taking refuge in the house of the latter, and claiming his protection, which was readily granted, he being ignorant that he was the slayer of his son. On being informed, he escorted him in safety to his own people. When the MacGregors were proscribed, and the aged chief of Glenstrae had become a wanderer, Lamont hastened to protect him and his family, and received them into his house.

      Archibald James Lamont, Esq. of Ard Lamont, chief of the clan, born in 1818, son of Major-General John Lamont, m. 1st, Adelaide, daughter of James Hewitt Massy Dawson, Esq.; issue, a daughter; 2dly, Harriet, daughter of Col. Alexander Campbell of Possil; issue, a son, John-Henry, born in 1854, and 4 daughters.

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