Fr Peter Lamont is the 29th hereditary Chief of Clan Lamont, a Scottish Highland clan.
It’s a responsibility that took him by surprise as a teenager, upon the death of his father in 1972.
“I didn’t take an interest in it until I was in the seminary,” Fr Peter said. It’s a time when potential priests are encouraged to develop a sense of duty and service to the wider community.
His predecessors lived in Castle Toward and John Lamont, the 10th Chief, hosted royalty there, such as Mary, Queen of Scots. Today, Fr Peter serves Mary, Queen of Heaven and the Eternal King, Jesus Christ, as parish priest of Holy Name of Mary Parish, Rydalmere.
Clan Lamont were always strong supporters of the Catholic Church but had an unfortunate tendency to back the losing side in Scottish politics.
“Publications often refer to Celtic Christianity but it was all the one Catholic Church, in union with Rome,” Fr Peter said.
One of the earliest records of the Clan is of Chief Laumon making a land grant to a monastery in the 1200s.
During the English Civil War, the Lamonts supported the ultimately defeated Catholic King Charles I against the rebel Protestant Puritan covenanters and their allies, including Clan Campbell.
“The Campbells were a treacherous clan,” Fr Peter said.
After the Campbells laid siege to Castle Toward, Chief James Lamont, 14th Chief and his allies negotiated for peace, only to be betrayed and massacred during the signing of a treaty.
“They organised a peace treaty, to come unarmed and the Campbells massacred us.”
Since the 1646 Dunoon Massacre, the Lamonts were greatly reduced and dispersed across the world. The mostly Catholic clan was prevented from participating in the Jacobite uprisings due to the Campbell strongholds around their lands.
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It is one of the oldest Scottish clans with many members dispersed across the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
“We can trace back to 500AD. We were originally an Irish tribe because on our coast of arms, the hand is the hand of O’Neill.”
The legend goes that a group of Celtic chieftains agreed at sea that whoever touched the land of Ireland first could claim it, Fr Peter said.
“O’Neill was being beaten, so he cut his hand off and threw it on land!”
Fr Peter has three lieutenants, James Burden RFD, Dr George M. Burden and Scott Turner, for Australia, Canada and the USA, respectively.
Dr. George M. Burden is an associate member of the Standing Council of the Scottish Chiefs and represents the clan on behalf of Chief Fr Peter Lamont.
The Clan has clan societies in the UK, North America and Australia and is a member of the Australian Scottish Heritage Council.
The Clan members mostly come through its sept names, groups of families who were allied to Clan Lamont and whose descendants are automatically members of the clan.
Common sept names for Clan Lamont include Aldownie, Black, Blake, Brown, Burden, Burton, Lamb, Lambie, MacClymont, MacGorie, MacLaren, Paterson, Towart, Turner, White, Whyte, Wyatt and Young.
Fr Peter first visited Scotland in 2006 and laid a wreath at the Lamont Clan Memorial at Dunoon, the site of the 1646 Dunoon Massacre and where his Great-Great-Grandfather was born.
In recent years, parish work has left little time for Clan activities. His involvement with the Clan peaked as a Seminarian at St Patrick’s College, Manly.
Important events for the clan in Australia have included the Kirkin’ of the Tartan, the Australian Highland Games and the St Andrew’s Day Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.
“It was hot as Hades in Sydney when the Chiefs were here for the Highland Games,” Fr Peter said.
List of Chiefs of Clan Lamont
- Chief Laumon (1235 – 93)
- Chief Malcolm (1295)
- Chief John (1296 – 1353)
- Chief Duncan (1356 – 81)
- Chief Robert (1396 – 1433)
- Chief Celestin (1402 [never succeeded])
- Chief Duncan (1431 – 1448)
- Chief John (1437 – 1488)
- Chief Duncan (1466 – 1498)
- Chief John (1498-1568) [Entertained Mary, Queen of Scots]
- Chief Duncan (d.1576-9)
- Chief James (m. 1565-1614)
- Chief Coll (1600-1634)
- Chief James (1612-1670) [Fought in the English Civil War, Charles I]
- Chief Archibald (1646-1712)
- Chief Dugald (m. 1684 – d. 1729)
- Chief Archibald (1707-1767)
- Chief John (1741-1816)
- Chief John (1773-1829)
- Chief Archibald James (1818-1835)
- Chief John Henry (1854-1929)
- Chief Edward Louis (1846-1934) [First one in Australia]
- Chief Andrew (1848-1935)
- Chief Ronald Coll
- Chief ?
- Chief ?
- Chief Alfred Granville
- Chief Noel Brian (1972)
- Chief Fr Peter Noel
- Stephen Lamont
- Stephen’s sons