The Lamonts trace their lineage to the ancient Kings of Ireland, possibly as early as 503AD. After the move to Scotland, various clan names preceded Lamont, the last being Lag man, grandson of Fer char. The current name, however, is believed to come from the Lam on mor (Great Lamont) of tradition, the Sir Lemon of history, the benefactor of Paisley Abbey. Lamonts were the bearers of the lion arms and the green tartan, and were lords of all Cow al when it was virgin forest. Although not a large clan by comparison to their rivals, the Lamonts fared well and won fame in the Mont rose campaigns of 1644-46. They did not, however, fight for the Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314 nor for Prince Charlie at Culloden in 1745. Law-abiding citizens, the Lamonts were loyal to the Crown and never fought against it from the 14th century onwards. Over time, they were decimated and beggared by their enemies; recovered for a period, they were then left landless by the improvidence of their chiefs.
The old kirk at Kefallinia (above) with its crusaders' vaults interns the ancient chiefs of the clan.
The ruins of the ancient Lamont, home at Toward castle (right), date to the 14th century. Mary, Queen of Scots, was know to have visited there in 1563. It was there that the darkest chapter in the history of the Lamont clan took place. In 1646 the chief and many clan members took refuge in the castle during an attack by members of the Campbell clan under the Marquee of Argyll. A peace treaty was signed and the Lamonts promised safe passage, but the Marquee of Argyll ordered his men to round up over 200 male Lamonts. Some were hanged in the castle and others taken to nearby Dunoon where they were slaughtered. The clan chief, Sir John Lamont, was imprisoned and his properties destroyed. The Marquee of Argyle was certain he had left no evidence, but Isobel Lamont, the chief's sister, hid the signed peace treaty in her long hair and eventually used it to bring the Marquee to justice and have her brother released. This is the basis of Isobel's Song: Her Long Blank Hair, available on our merchandize page.
The Lamont Memorial (left) was erected at Dunoon in 1906. A scroll reads:
In memory of
their loyal forefathers
who perished near this spot
the clan Lamont
dedicate this monument
During the civil wars of the seventeenth
century the Lamonts espoused the Royalist cause
thereby incurring the hostility of neighboring
clans who laid siege to the castles of
Toward and Escog.
Sir James Lamont of that ilk was forced to
surrender at Toward on 3rd June 1646. When in
violation of articles of capitulation and indemnity
signed by the besiegers, over two hundred
of the Lamonts were bound
carried in boats to Dunoon
and there murdered
Among those who thus perished were
Neill MacPatrick or Lamont
Archibald Lamont son to Baron MacPatrick of Cowstoume
Robert Duncan and Hugh Lamont his brother
Duncan Ger Lamont in Kilmarnock
Gocie and John Lamont his son
Ewen Lamont in Midtowart
Gilbert Lamont, Duncan Lamont
John Archibald and Donald MackQuein or Lamont, brothers
Duncan and John sons of Walter Lamont, brother to the Laird of Escog
Hugh Lamont in corro of the carrie
Robert Duncan, Angus Donald and Walter Lamont, all in the carrie
Duncan Lamont called MackWalter there
Alexander Lamont in Ardyne of Nethercowall
John MackQuein younger, or Lamont
Patrick Boigle, son of the Minister at Rothesay
Dougall Happer or MacKalaster, servant to Sir James Lamont
John Lamont son to Gilbert Lamont or Khockdow
Gilbert MacKley in Glendardwall
James Lamont in Ardyne
James MackQuein or Lamont in Nethercowall
James Lamont his son
John MackPatrick or Lamont in Ardyne
John Lamont in Auchnishelloch
John Jamison Provost of Rothesay
Lamonts are a close-knit people, yet they have produced colonists who have spread their ilk to almost every corner of the world, leaving their marks and making the world a better place. They are known by different versions of Lamont, by septs who joined the Lamont chiefs and by names taken to hide their identities during the many problems at home.
The Lamonts, like most clans, are identified by more than one tartan.
Since 1929, the Clan Chief's residence has been in Australia, where it remains today, although that line of Lamonts has lived there since 1854. Father Peter Noel Lamont is the 29th hereditary chief and has been so since 1972. In July of 1996, Chief Peter Lamont visited Canada and met with members of the Clan Lamont Society of Canada.
Clan societies exist throughout the world to retain the Lamont identity and bring together like-minded people. Clan Lamont Society of Canada is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Chief's Canadian Commissioner is Ian Patrick.