Ne oarcas nec sperna, Neither spare no dispose.
Azure, a lion rampant Argent, armed and langued Gules.
A dexter hand couped at the wrist Proper.
The Chief's crest, encircled by a band containing the motto, with the three eagle feathers of a clan chief.
A sprig of crab-apple slipped Proper.
round 500 AD, a migration to southwest Scotland from the Irish kingdom of Dal Riata in northern Ireland took place. Our oral traditions and written history state that this invasion was led by the three sons of Erc, the King of the Irish Dal Riata. This action was the start of the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. During this time it is said that the Stone of Destiny was taken to Scotland by the Gaels that migrated to Argyll, and it became the Coronation Stone of the early Dalriadan kings at Dunstaffnage. Then, in the ninth century, the stone is believed to have been transported to Scone, the capital of the Southern Picts. It is here that the Picts and the Scots became unified in 844 under the direction of Kenneth MacAlpine.
Among the clans that dwelled within this Dalriadan kingdom (including the Outer and Inner Hebrides, and the region of Argyll) were : The Lamonts, The MacNeils, The MacEwens, The Gilchrists and MacLachlans.
According to Skene in the Table of the Descent of the Highland Clans, he separates what is known as the Gallgael to give five major clans, from which nine smaller clans are said to have sprung forth. One of these, the Siol Alpin, for instance, is considered the Royal line from which Kenneth MacAlpine came from. Considered the second of these great clans is the Siol Gillevray and within the sphere of influence of this group is clan MacNeil, MacLachlan (including Clan Gilchrist), MacEwen, and Lamont.
The Lamonts, like the MacNeils, MacEwens, MacSweens, and the Gilchrists, are said to descend from the royal line of the O'Neill High Kings of Ireland (who mainly resided in great numbers in Tir Eoghain [Tyrone], northern Ireland). The Lamonts are believed to descend directly from Anrothan O'Neill, who gave up his rulership in Ireland and moved to Argyll. From Anrothan's line came a man named Aodha Alainn O'Neil who had three sons: Gillachrist, Neill, and Dunslebhe. Gillachrist had a son, Lachlan, who is the ancestors of the MacLachlans; Neill, who is the ancestor of the MacNeills; Dunslebhe had two sons, Fearchar, who is the progenitor of the Lamonts, and Ewen, the ancestor of the MacEwens.
From Fearchar came a son named Laumon and it is from him that the Clan Lamont received it's name. Some sources say that these same Lamonts were known at one time as MacErchar from Fearchar (as in the original Dal Riata MacErc). It is clear that this clan has very old roots in the Kingdom of Dalriada, evidenced not only by the previous name MacErchar and the tie with the original kingdoms of northern Ireland, but also from centuries old conflicts with the Clan Diarmaid, or Campbell
In 1235,Sir Laumon, signed a charter granting lands to the Paisley Abbyll This charter isstill in existence. Few clans can document their existence at such an early date. Sir Walter Scott refers to Sir Laumon 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.More on the Lamont Memorial
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.
Name Variations: Turner, Turnor.
One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
Scottish Clans and Tartans; Neil Grant - 2000.
Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia; George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire - 1994.
Scottish Clans and Tartans; Ian Grimble - 1973.
World Tartans; Iain Zaczek - 2001.
Clans and Families of Scotland; Alexander Fulton - 1991.
The beautiful heraldry artwork for this family is available to purchase on select products from the Celtic Radio Store. We look forward to filling your order!