Cedar Rapids, Iowa
My father told me that the name HUGH in our family is derived from the French Huguenots that were driven out of France for religious persecution and then went to Scotland. From there, my Great great Grandparents came over to America and ended up in Apple River Illinois and then to Iowa from there. I am deeply interested in the Lamont Clan and would welcome any info regarding Lamonts in Iowa or anywhere. There are links in the bottom of my webpage to help you do your own detailed Lamont family tree. Now some background info*:
Clan Lamont is one of the oldest of Scottish clans, with an oral tradition of descent stretching back to the Kings of Ireland. The name is derived from a chief in the 13th century, Sir Laumon, whose charter granting lands to the Paisley Abby, is still in existence. Few clans can document their existence at such an early date. Although the name comes from the 13th century chief, the clan is much older, being known as MacKerracher before Sir Laumon's time. Sir Walter Scott refers to him in Antiquary as "Lamon mor ", or the Great Lamont in English. Sir Laumon's mother is believed to have been a daughter of the great Somerled, ancestor of the MacDonalds. Tradition, supported by a genealogical work of 1682 found in Inveraray Castle, maintains that a son of Sir Laumaon, had to flee Cowal as a result of a murder; and founded the Lyons of Glamis. He took the name of Lyon from the Lamont arms, and chose as his arms, the reverse of the Lamonts, a blue lion on a silver field.
As the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, is a Lyon of Glamis, if this tradition is correct, the Queen Elizabeth II is a Lamont on her mothers side !
In the early 1300s, came a great down turn in the Clan's fortunes. Laumon's grandson, Sir John, supported the MacDougalls of Lorne against Robert the Bruce. The Lamonts of Ardlamont, however, who held their land as vassals of the High Steward in Bute, may have fought in Bruce's bodyguard at Bannockburn. When Bruce was secure on the Scottish throne the Lamont Chief suffered with the House of Lorne and the Clan's land was claimed by the king's loyal supporter, Campbell, Black Knight of Lochawe. By the end of the 14th century a great deal of the original territory of the clan had been lost ; and thus began a feud between the Lamonts and the Campbells which continued on and off for centuries in spite of considerable intermarriage .
In the 17th century wars of Montrose, Sir John, 14th chief. who had been knighted by King Charles. after much shilly-shallying, joined Argyll's Covenanting army and in the inglorious rout of that force at Inverlochy he and his brother were taken prisoner. He then threw in his lot with Montrose the Royalist general. Archibald, the chiefs brother, with Colkitto's fighting Irish, crossed Loch Long in boats provided by the Lamonts and landed at the Point of Strone. After defeating a Campbell force in the heights above the point the Royalist army mustered at Toward and then harried far and wide in the Campbell lands. The Lamonts had their share in this killing and plundering particularly in North Cowal, and they attacked the old tower of Kilmun and the bishop's house in Dunoon. Dunoon is a place of grim memory for the Lamonts. There the Campbells carried out one of the massacres which stain their clan's history.. In 1646 the Campbells made a concentrated attack on the Lamont castles of Toward and Ascog, and, when the garrisons surrendered under written guarantee of liberty, the Campbells ignored the terms of capitulation. The survivors of the defenders were carried in boats to Dunoon and in the church were sentenced to death. About 100 were shot or stabbed to death and another 36 of 'the special gentlemen' of the Lamonts were hanged from a tree in the churchyard and dead and dying were buried in pits. The Chief and his close kin were hustled away to Inveraray, where some were hanged The Chief and his brothers being kept prisoner for five years. It was 16 years before the ringleaders of the massacre were brought to justice, and Sir Colin Campbell was beheaded.. The Clan Lamont Society in 1909 raised a monument on the spot where so many met their deaths. Links to memorial are below.
After 1646, the much reduced Clan Lamont had a fairly peaceful history, finally having the good sense or luck to not get involved with any more losing causes. We stayed out of both the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite uprisings. This may have been due to the fact that they were now pretty well surrounded by Campbells, who always sided with the English government (To their great profit).
With the destruction of the Clan system in 1745, the structure of Highland society was changed for all time. When the power of the Chiefs was eliminated, so was their need for dedicated clansmen to protect and expand the clan lands. The result of this, in time, was the infamous Highland clearances; where chiefs cleared the land of crofters, and substituted the more profitable sheep. As was the case with the Lamonts, some chiefs tended to sell off the clan lands instead of shifting to sheep. Sadly, as a result of this policy, there are now none of the ancestral lands in Lamont hands. Starting very early, even before 1600, Lamonts have tended to disperse, and are now one of the most widespread of clans.
On a more positive note, over the years, the Lamonts have tended to devote the energy once expended in battling Campbells, to achievements in science, government, the military, and the arts. Colin Lamont (1754-1851) a famous Astronomer, Major General John Lamont, (1773-1829) 19th Chief, Thomas W. Lamont Wall Street financier, John Swainson (1926-1994) Governor of Michigan 1960's, and Norman Lamont British Chancellor of the Exchequer in the early 1990's are just a few examples.
Another version -More: Here's a short history of the clan:
One of the oldest Scottish clans, members of Clan Lamont can trace their history back to the Celtic tribe of Dal Riata in Ireland. When Fergus Mor Mac Erc, leader of the Scots and founder of the kingdom of Dalriada in Scotland arrived in Cowal, there came with him decendants of Anrothan O'Neill, the last King of Tara. Of the line of Anrothan, there was born Aodha Alainn O'Neil. He had three sons: Gillachrist, Neill, and Dunslebhe. Dunselbhe's sons were Ewen (progenitor of the MacEwens) and Fearchar, progenitor of the Lamonts.
Originally called MacErchar, the name Lamont came from Sir Laumon, chief of the clan in the early 1200's. (in Gaelic, the clan name can be rendered Mac Laomain Mor Chomhail Uile - The Great Mac Lamont of All Cowal). Clan Lamont has one of the earliest documents confirming its existence - a deed granting land to the monks of Paisley Abbey signed by Sir Laumon in the early 13th century and surviving to this day. Soon after, fleeing a charge of murder, one of the sons of Laumon founded the Lyons of Glamis, from whom the Queen Mother is decended. One the stories illustrating the principles of highland hospitality involves the Lamonts as well - in the early 17th century, the chief of the clan was out hunting with the MacGregors. When a fight broke out, he stabbed MacGregor the Younger of Glenstrae , killing him. Fleeing for his life from enraged MacGregor clansmen, he arrived (without his knowledge) at the house of the slain youth's father, MacGregor the Elder of Glenstrae. Informing MacGregor that he was being pursued by a band of men intent on taking his life, MacGregor offered him protection. When the men arrived at Glenstrae to inform MacGregor that his son had been murdered, both discovered the truth. In accordance with the rules of hospitality, however, MacGregor the Elder let the chief go free.
Unfortunately, the history of the clan tends to be a history of poor decisions. When Robert the Bruce was pressing his claim to the Scottish throne (as dramatized in Braveheart), the Lamonts threw their weight behind the MacDougalls of Lorne in their bid for the crown. Following the victory of Robert the Bruce in the Battle of Bannockburn, the Lamonts lost much land to the Campbells, with whom there had always been much ill will, in spite of considerable intermairrage. Later, in the time of Sir John, 14th chief of the clan, the Lamonts fought on the side of Charles I in the English Civil War. This decision would lead to the worst disaster faced by the clan. In 1646, following the Battle of Naseby and the surrender of King Charles to the Scots, the Campbells (who had opposed King Charles' efforts to reform the Scottish church) laid siege to the Lamont stronghold of Ascog and the clan seat at Toward. After some time, the Lamonts agreed to surrender under terms of safe conduct and release. The Campbells, in one of the many acts of betrayal which darken their history, ignored the terms which had been agreed to and slaughtered several hundred (some sources say 200 total, others say 900 with 200 of those being "special gentlemen" of the clan, while still others say 100, with 26 of those being "special gentlemen" of the clan). Sir John himself was imprisoned in Dunstaffnage. The chief's immediate family, however, was more fortunate. Mary Lamont was able to flee with her sons to Northern Ireland, changing her and her sons' surnames as they hid from Campbell retribution. As a final blow to the clan, thirty years after the massacre of 1646, a group of Lamonts on the Isle of Mull were slaughtered by government forces for their beliefs. They were the last practitioners of the Druidic religion , keeping the traditions alive since they came to Scotland. Upwards of fifty Lamonts were killed, with only a few escaping the slaughter.
Following the massacre at Toward and Ascog, the clan seat moved to Ardlamont , and the clan finally had the sense and/or good luck to stay out of any further losing causes, avoiding both the first and second Jacobite uprisings. In turn, the Lamonts produced many fine members of society, including Colin Lamont (Astronomer - 1754-1851), Major General John Lamont (1773-1829), Thomas W. Lamont (Wall Street financier in the early 20th century), John Swainson (Governor of Michigan in the 1960's), Norman Lamont (British Counsellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher), John McCain (Arizona senator and U.S. presidential candidate), and - according to tradition - Queen Elizabeth II (the Queen Mother is a Lyon of Glamis).
The clan crest is a dexter hand, coupled at the wrist, surrounded by the clan motto Ne parcas nec spernas (Neither spare nor spurn). The origins of the hand as the crest can be traced back to our descent from the line of Ui Naill. As the story goes, when the Celts first set sail for Ireland, it was agreed that the first person to lay his hand on the new lands would be the ruler. As the shore grew near, Naill, whose ship had fallen behind, cut off his right hand and flung it onto the beach, thus claiming the kingship for himself and his line. In token of this, most families decended from the O'Neill (Ui Naill) line incorporate a right hand in their crest. Also of note is the similarity of Naill (First king of Ulster, lost his right hand to win the kingship) to the legendary figure of Nuada (First King of the Tuatha De Danan, lost his right hand fighting for the kingship).
*some information courtesy Clan Lamont Association of North America
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