Variants, Learmont, Learmond, Leirmonth. An old surname
in the Merse of local origin derived from the lands of Learmonth,
Berwickshire, meaning 'of Learmonth.' This name is of Scottish descent and
is found in many ancient manuscripts in the above country. Examples of such
are a William de Leirmonth who was a juror on an inquest held in Swinton in
1408 and Alexander Leyremonth was clerk of works of the town and castle of
Berwick in the year 1434. Names were recorded in these ancient documents to
make it easier for their overlords to collect taxes and to keep records of
the population at any given time. When the overlords acquired lands by either
force or gifts from their rulers, they created charters of ownership for
themselves and their vassals. Other examples of this name were found in the
person of William of Learmonth who was summoned in 1479 to answer to
Parliament for treason and other crimes and John Learmont published a volume
of Poems in Edinburgh in 1791.
From: Tatiana Molchanova,
11405 Commonwealth Dr.#104,
Rockville, MD 20852, USA.
September 5, 2008
“Learmonths-Lermontovs. Origin &History of
the Surname and Families
by Tatiana Molchanova, Russia & Rex Learmonth, Great Britain, 2008.
Copyrights are preserved at the Copyrights Office,
Library of Congress, Washington DC, USA, 2007.
This is the first study
devoted to the Scottish Clan Learmonth and the origins of the Russian
Lermontov family who are derived from this clan.
The main object of this research which resulted in a book
is to identify the origin of the name Learmonth and the history of
the family from its beginnings to the present day.
The name Learmonth is one of the most
ancient Scottish surnames and has a history going
back to the year 1057. The surname Learmonth and its multiple
spelling can be divided into two parts for example Lear+month or Leir+mouth.
Both parts fit well together to classify the
surname Learmonth as topographic. The surname has a French origin.
But in XI century this name would
have been written as Leuremue or possibly Leuremuere (Leure+mue and
Leure+muere) and not spelt as in the manuscripts of the XIV-XVI centuries
namely Leirmonth / Leirmouth/ Leirmond. The first root Leure (also spelt as
Leir, Leira, Leiro, Leire, Lyuer, Leyre, Leure, Lejre) had the meaning of
“clear water” something that is “shining, glittering” and sounds similar to
an old French surname Luyrieux. The Luyrieux
family was known in France from the XI
century and had a coat of arms which could very likely be the pre-Leirmouth
coat of arms: “Or, chevron sable”. The second root mue/muere the
ancient Leuremue surname fits well with the meaning “merge” in old
French. As a result we interpret Leuremue: (Leure and mue) as
the merging of two waters or the merging of
In 1057, when Malcolm III
required fighting men in his war for the Scottish crown, Edward the
Confessor encouraged knights under his influence to support Malcolm with the
promise of a land grant as payment for their
services. The land granted to the knight with the name that sounded as
Leuremue (Luyrieux) in payment for his
service was where the villages of East and West Learmouth are today. The
place was probably called by the name of its new owner who kept the first root
Luyr/Leure and added the second root “mue”
because the granted land was situated at the
mouth of a stream which merged with the River
The very first record of the
Learmonth surname was found in the Great Rolls of the Exchequer: Feet of
Fines in the Public records office of the Seventh and Eighth years of King
Richard I, A.D. 1196 to A.D. 1197, London. The surname was spelt as Leuremue
/ Leuremuere/ Luiremuere, which illustrates that the spelling of the place
name and the surname in the XII century was very similar.
Analysis of the records where
the Learmonth surname was register in XII-XXI centuries shows that the
evolution of the spelling of the village of Learmouth was approximately
parallel with that of the evolution of Learmonth surname:
Learmouth/Learmonth. The second root ‘mouth’ was substituted with ‘month’ in
the name. This was a very common occurrence
for English / Scottish surnames. Later in establishing himself as a member
of the nobility of Scotland Leirmonth designed his coat of arms with the
same chevron and colour as that of the
Luyrieux family but adding three muscles over the chevron
awarded to him for his special talent - a
tactic of fighting, which then made it an individual bearing.
Historians generally agree
that the legendary Scottish prophet and poet Thomas Rhymer (1220-1297) was a
member of this ancient family. Ten generations from 1420 to 1657 of the
Learmonth family of Fife held the highest
administrative positions in the city of St Andrews and played an historical
role in the struggle between the Catholics and Protestants during the period
of the reformation. The mother of the Scottish martyr George Wishart
(1513-1546) was a member of the Fife Learmonth family who eventually became
relatives of the Scottish Monarchy through their marriages. The children of
Sir George Learmonth of Balcomie (c. 1525-1585) were the fourth cousins of
Mary Queen of Scots. George Leirmont (c. 1580-1634) - the progenitor of the
Russian Lermontov families and the Great Russian poet Mikhail Yurievich
Lermontov was a member of this Fife Learmonth family. Sir John Learmonth of
Balcomie (c. 1560-1625) was Lady Diana's twelve-Great Grandfather. The
Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, has an Avenue, a Terrace, a Grove, a hotel
and other places named after John Learmonth (1789-1858) a Provost of the
city. The unforgettable Scottish composer George Learmonth Drysdale
(1866-1909) was called the Scottish Grieg. Sir James Learmonth (1895-1967)
is called the father of the modern neurosurgery. Sir James Learmonth was a
personal doctor to the King George VI and also to Queen Elizabeth II during
their visits to Scotland.
Learmonth families were among the pioneer
settlers in Australia, New Zealand, and USA. There are a number of locations
named Learmonth in Australia. The Learmonth’s
impact is notable in the progress of many countries.
The genealogy of the huge family of
Russian Lermontovs who originated from the Scottish Learmonths is well
live not only in Russia but also in Brazil, Morocco, France, Spain
and the USA.
The books cover is decorated with the
Russian Lermontov Tartan. This Tartan is registered with “The Scottish
Tartans Authority” and was presented in August 2007 to the Lermontov family
at Serednikovo, Moscow Region, Russia, by Mr. Brian Wilton, the Director of
“The Scottish Tartans Authority”. The Lermontov’s
are the first Russian family of Scottish origins who have
their own registered tartan.
The presentation of the book
took place at Serednikovo, Russia, at the opening ceremony dedicated to the
950th Anniversary of the Learmonth-Lermontov Surname (06.08.07),
then in the Central Library by name poet M. Yu. Lermontov in St. Petersburg
(09.08.07). The book was also presented at the TV channel Petersburgskie
The publication of this book received
support from the Association “Lermontov’s
Hereditary”, Moscow, Russia. The short version of this book has been
published in Russian, Publishing House: University Book, Logos, 96c.,
illus.., Moscow, Russia, May 2008.
“The lives and Characters
of the most Eminent Writers of he Scots Nation” by George Mackenzie
(1636-1690), MD, published in Edinburgh, 1708, last edition 1971; v. II,
chapter “The life of William Elphinston” (1431-1514), page 72.
Scotorum historiae a prima gentis origine, cum aliarum et rerum et gentium
illustratione non vulgari, Libri XIX. Hectore Boethio Deidonano auctore. Duo
postremi huius historiae libri nunc primum...
Paris. Vaenundantur a Iacobo du Puys sub
signo Samaritanae, prope collegium Cameracense, 1574.”
Beauvois and Felix
Henri Antoine “Research
on the Geographical Field: The derivatives and compounds of an
international phoneme, Leir, Leira, Leiro, leire, Leyre, Leure, Lejre and
Saint Paul-Fontaudin, 1967.
Kuykendall. Papers, 1881-1931”, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special
Collections, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections.
Camps in England - The Field Archaeology by the R.C.H.M.E"; Temporary
Marching Camp East Learmouth, Northumberland»; The Oxford Dictionary of
English Place-Names by A.D. Mills, Oxford 1991; Guy De La Bedoyere Roman
Britain: A New History, 2006).
The Great Rolls of
the Exchequer: Feet of Fines in the Public records office of the Seventh and
eighth years of King Richard I, A.D. 1196 to A.D. 1197, London: printed by
Wyman & Sons. Lim., Great Queen Street, Lincoln’s
Inn Fields, 1896; page 43, Suffolk, Ric. I, № 24, 3 Dec. 1196.
Rotuli de libertate ac de
misis et Praesttitis, Regnante Johanne”. Cura T. Duffus Hardy, London, 1844,
pages: 52, 72, 95.
The oldest extant pipe
roll dates from the 31st year of the reign of Henry I (1130).
Pipe Rolls and Assize
Rolls for Northumberland 12th and 13th centuries.
Calendar of memoranda
rolls (Exchequer) preserved in the Public Record Office: Michaelmas 1326,
Michaelmas 1327. London, H.M.S.O., 1968, pages 382-385, 2271: xxiv.
Surnames of Scotland. Their origin, meaning, and history" by George F Black,
PhD, first printing 1946.
The Scottish Nation; Or
The Surnames, Families, Literature, Honours. & Biographical History Of The
Castle. Its lairds and their times” by A.M.W. Stirling, 1928, edited and
updated in 2005 by Sue Coburn.
“St Andrews Kirk
Session Register 1559-1600”,
Vasilii Storozhev, “Georg
Lermont. The Progenitor of the Russian Lermontov Family” , Moscow, Russia,
government source of genealogical data for Scotland»
“History of the
county of Fife” by John M.
Leighton published by Joseph Swan. MD CCCXL; pp. 260-261”
Achievements of the Scots Nation” by P. Abercromby,
Edinburgh, 1711, v. 1, page 161
Proceedings of the
Society, 9th April 1900, page 418
# 134, Christmas 2004, pp. 8-9
Protocol book of Sir
Alexander Gaw, 1540-1558. Ed. by the Rev. John Anderson and William Angus.
Edinburgh, Printed for the Society by J. Skinner, 1910
pictorial and historical; its people, burghs, castles, and mansions” by A.
H. Millar. Cupar-Fife, A. Westwood & son; [etc., etc.] 1895, pages 383-384
George Buchanan “Rerum
Scoticarum Historia”, Paris, 1582.
“Protocol books” of
Dominus Thomas Johnsoun, 1528-1578, Edinburgh, 1917.
“Life of George Wishart”,
Book of Martyrs”, USA, Whitaker House, 1981, pp. 236-262
National Library of
Scotland: Learmonth family, of Dairsie & Balcomie, Fife: 3 documents
relating to, 1620-51 (Acc. 10940). Round Genealogy of the Clan Learmonth
1473-1600, St. Andrews, Fife. The document is dated 1620-1652.
Steve Murdoch and Alexia
Grosjean in the well known records “Scotland, Scandinavia & Northern Europe,
1580-1707”, 1998-2006 (SSNE Database).
Many others documents and
September 5, 2008
Tatiana Molchanova & Rex Learmonth.