The Lamonts of Ascog and Stronalbanach, 1477-1759

Though never the equals of the Monydrain or Ardlamont cadets, nor styled "barons" as those of Knockdow and of Coustoun, the Ascog Lamonts were namely from the 15 th century for the aids military and naval which they rendered to the tartan. If their old writs are all perished, to the loss of their ancient history, their old fortress is still to the fore, and that is more than any others can boast forbye the chiefs. Alone among the lairdships Ascog had its castle of Kerry stone, which like Toward was manned and stood siege in the civil wars, and it was the only estate taken bound to provide a birlinn as an escort in the firth. If not before, these clansmen had the lion on their seals in 1516, and from 1540 at least were reckoned sib to the chiefs. Their patronymic seems to have been "Mclnnes" ("the son of Angus"), but they were Lamonts from their first entry in record in 1477, and perhaps descended of the McSorleys (who had many an Angus). From 1554 they represented their kin of Ardlamont, whose vassals they may once have been, and were the strongest cadets till in the civil wars they lavished for Sir JAMES XIV their blood and gold, and never recovered. Yet he usurped their patrimony to ease his own straits, and part only was regained by an off-shoot, settled at Stronalbanach in Glassary, when the main line was extinct. In 1759 it was all by with the old days, the last even of the younger line died lamely in Rothesay, and there was no male left of Ascog nor any heir of Ardlamont.

Ascog-Lamont in Kerry is, of course, quite other than Ascog-Stewart by Rothesay in Bute, with whose lairds the chiefs had dealings in the 17th century. To the west of Millhouse, formerly Mecknock, lurks in a hollow among low hills a lochan with islands, and jutting out into its waters stands the battered pile of Ascog keep. Its topmost walls, from which once floated the lion flag, can just be seen from the crest of the Karnes road. Some cottages are clustered about it, and their folk yet keep the heather from the old highway past the castle yetts to the forgotten ferry athwart Loch Fyne to Tarbert. The situation is a fine one, fronting the lochan, with a view of the Arran peaks to the south through a gap in the hills, and within rumour of the sea. Here is indeed a retreat such as the seannachies would picture "back of wind and face of sun" (cul gaoith' 'us aghaidh greine).

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©2011 The Clan Lamont Society of North America