Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lamont, John

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

LAMONT, JOHN (fl. 1671), chronicler, was probably son of John Lamont, who was described in 1612 as 'destitute of any means for his wife and children, having been chased out of Ireland by the rebels,' and died at Johnston's Mill in 1652. His grandfather, Allan Lamont or Lawmonth (d. 1632), was minister of Kennoway, Fifeshire, in 1586, and afterwards of Scoonie conjointly. His great-grandfather, Allan Lawmonth (d. 1574), second son of Lawmonth of that ilk in Argyllshire, entered the college of St. Andrews in 1536, settled in the city of St. Andrews about 1540, and was the first of the family to associate himself with Fifeshire. The intimate acquaintance shown by Lamont in his extant 'Chronicle' with the affairs of the Lundins of that ilk has led to the suggestion that he was factor to that family, and his interest in and knowledge of the prices paid for properties purchased in Fife support the theory that he was a landed estate agent of some kind. The 'Diary' by which he is known ostensibly begins in March 1641) and terminates in April 1671, but it is evident that both the beginning and end are incomplete as published. It supplies dates of the births, marriages, and deaths that occurred not only in Fifeshire families, but also among the nobility of Scotland, and is of great value to the Scottish genealogist. It also gives accounts of Lamont's brother Allan, and of his sisters Margaret and Janet, and of their families. The absence of any reference to his own marriage implies that he died a bachelor, probably about 1675. His brother's eldest son, John (b. 1661), was his heir, and doubtless inherited his uncle's manuscripts, including the 'Diary.' This John was at one time a skipper of Largo, but in 1695 acquired the estate of Newton, in the parish of Kennoway. The 'Diary' was first published, under the title of the 'Chronicle of Fife,' by Constable in 1810, and was ascribed to John Lamont 'of Newton,' a confusion of the nephew with the uncle, the real author. Another edition from early manuscripts, then in the possession of General Durham of Largo and James Lumisdaine of Lathallan, was issued by the Bannatyne Club in 1830.

[The Rev. Walter Wood of Elie, in his East Neuk of Fife, 1888, first distinguished accurately between the two John Lamonts, uncle and nephew, and identified the former with the author of the Chronicle.]

A. H. M.