Clan Lamont is a Highland Scottish clan. The clan is said to descend from Ánrothán Ua Néill, an Irish prince of the O'Neill dynasty. As a part of this lineage, the clan claims descent from the legendary Niall Noigíallach, High King of Ireland. Clan Ewen of Otter, Clan MacNeil of Barra, Clan MacLachlan, and Clan Sweeney are also descendants of Anrothan, and thus are distant kin to Clan Lamont. Lamont and associated kinsmen are thus descendants of Conn Cétchathach.
Clan Lamont's historical domain was a prominent one; for centuries, they powerfully ruled almost all of the rugged lands of the Cowal peninsula in Argyll. However, Clan Lamont was severely crippled by the Dunoon Massacre in 1646, when Campbell clansmen brutally murdered around 200 Lamont clan members. As a result of this and other events, Clan Lamont was repressed into smaller areas of Cowal. Many Lamonts moved to different parts of Scotland, particularly to the lowland areas. Today, Lamonts are widespread across the globe (Canada, Australia, Britain and more.) <ref>http://www.clsna.us/clan.html (accessed 13th July 2014)</ref>
The 26th and current chief of Clan Lamont is Rev. Fr. Peter Noel Lamont, Chief of the Name and Arms of Lamont.<ref>http://www.clanlamontsocietyofaustralia.org/chief.php (accessed 13th July 2014)</ref>
This name is associated with southern Argyll. The chiefs were once described as 'The Great Lamont of all Cowal'. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia (Barnes and Noble, 1994) 188</ref> Some believe the name to be Norman or French. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 188</ref> However the family almost certainly came from Ulster. Logmaor, meaning in old Norse 'lawman' or 'law-giver' became the Gaelic 'Ladhman'.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 188</ref> The Lamonts are said to descend from a son of the O'Neill princes of Tyrone.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 188</ref>
The first record of the chiefs is found in the early thirteenth century.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 188</ref> Laumanus, son of Malcolm, granted to the monks of Paisley lands at Kilmun as well as the church of Kilfinan. These grants were confirmed in 1270 and again in 1295 by Malcolm, son of Laumanus.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 188</ref>
Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries
In 1400 three followers of King Robert II- then based at Rothesay Castle- crossed into Cowal on a hunting trip. They assaulted and raped three local women and afterwards, were killed by the Lamonts. In retribution Robert II gave eight miles of Lamont territory to the rival Campbells. <ref>http://www.scotlandmag.com/magazine/issue41/12008895.html</ref>
The Lamonts established castles at Toward and Ascog, which they held until destroyed by the Campbells during the seventeenth century.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 188</ref>
An incident involving the chief of the Lamonts is widely quoted by historians of clanship as the classic example of Highland laws of hospitality. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 189</ref> Lamont is said to have been hunting with some Macgregors when a dispute broke out.
Macgregor the Younger of Glenstrae was stabbed to death by Lamont, who then fled, chased by chief's son's men. He asked MacGregor for shelter and protection, which was willingly given. The chief refused to allow Lamont to be harmed in any way because he had given his word of protection and not even personal grief could overcome this sense of honour and obligation.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 189</ref>
Conflict with Campbells
Sir James Lamont of Lamont was chief in 1643. He was a popular and well-regarded leader.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 189</ref> Declaring for the royalist cause during the War of the Three Kingdoms, he was brought into conflict with the clan's powerful Campbell neighbours. They had steadily encroached on Lamont land in Cowal. Following Montrose's victory over Covenanting forces at Inverlochy in 1645 the Lamonts laid waste to the Campbell lands at Kilmun. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 189</ref>
In 1645 a powerful Campbell army invaded the Lamont lands and besieged the castles of Toward and Ascog. Sir James surrendered, having apparently reached honorable terms, but the Campbells ignored these and imprisoned him for life in terrible conditions and massacre over two hundred clan members, including children.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 189</ref>
The massecre of the Lamonts was one of the charges brought against the Marquess of Argyll following the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1661. The Lamont chief presented a petition to Parliament in person and narrated that the Campbells 'acted with inhuman barbarism'.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 189</ref> Argyll was already facing charges of treason but the Lamont charges were in many ways more damaging to his reputation. In 1661, the ringleader of the Dunoon Massacre, Sir Colin Campbell, was brought to justice. He stood trial on charges of High Treason, was found guilty, and then beheaded. <ref>Stephen C. Manganiello, The Concise Encyclopedia of the Revolutions and Wars of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1639-1660, (Scarecrow Press, 2004) 29-30</ref>
Despite these executions the Lamonts remained oppressed by the Campbells.
Clan Lamont, though they still retained their lands, were functionally incapacitated in the 18th century. Their holdings in Cowal were surrounding by strong Campbell fortresses, and thus, the largely Roman Catholic Lamonts were unable to travel north and participate in the Jacobite Rising of 1715 or the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Since the Lamonts did not participate in the Jacobite Risings, they were spared the brutal annihilation of the clan system in the Highlands. Even still, the clan system of Scotland was effectually crushed after the Battle of Culloden in 1745. The power of the chiefs was destroyed and with it the need for dedicated clansmen. <ref>http://www.clanlamontsocietyofaustralia.org/history.php (accessed 13th June 2014)</ref>
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. They 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). <ref>http://www.clanlamontsocietyofaustralia.org/history.php (accessed 13th June 2014)</ref>
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. <ref>http://www.clanlamontsocietyofaustralia.org/history.php (accessed 13th June 2014)</ref>
The last of the clan lands were sold in 1893 and the chiefly family emigrated to Australia. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 189</ref>
The present chief is the Rev. Fr. Peter Noel Lamont of that Ilk. He is a member of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs and a parish priest in Australia. In 2011 he celebrated 25 years in the priesthood. <ref>http://www.clanlamontsocietyofaustralia.org/chief.php (accessed 13th July 2014) </ref> In 2007 clan members assembled for the gathering held that year in Edinburgh.