Not only was James Lamont 1st Baronet of Knockdow and 16th Laird of Knockdow, but he was also the 1st President of the Clan Lamont Society.
James Lamont was born in 1895, and was the only son of Alexander Lamont, 15th Laird of Knockdow House. He went to school at Rugby and the Edinburgh Military Academy, and his goals were to pursue a career in the military.
As a regular visitor to Scotland during James’ academic years, his uncle John saw that James was not cut out for a career in the military. Following two years of military life, James resigned his commission, and in 1848 he followed in his Uncle John’s footsteps, travelling to Trinidad. He stayed for five months and formed a close bond with his uncle.
Here, James pursued his passion for travel, exploration and nature. 20 years later, at the age of 40, he married and had two sons, Norman Lamont and Alexander.
James ultimately inherited the Lamont’s vast estates from his uncle, but sold some of them. Fortunately he kept hold of the Trinidad estates, which continued to prosper, and turned them over to Norman in 1907.
During the course of his life, James travelled extensively to places as far reaching as Israel, Egypt, America, Cuba and the West Indies. He also travelled across Europe including to London, Paris, Florence and Naples. He lived a life of sport and adventure. He also undertook six Arctic expeditions and wrote two books about these expeditions: “Season with the Seahorses” and “Yachting in the Arctic Seas.”
During his many Arctic adventures he recorded plenty of scientific data. He performed oceanographic measurements and metrological observations while gathering geological, botanical and zoological samples.
Aside from living a life of sport, travel, exploration and adventure, James also ran for Parliament a total of four times. In 1857 he ran as a Liberal candidate for Paisley. He then ran again for office in 1859. By 1865, he won by 11 votes and continued his political career until 1868, when he grew bored with politics and abandoned his seat. After this, he turned his attention back to his adventures in the Arctic.
During this time, he delivered a number of lectures including “A Lecture on the Civil War in America,” which was delivered to a British audience at the Rothesay Mechanics’ Institute on 7th December, 1864. In his speech, he spoke about his travels in America.
James died on 30th July, 1913, leaving Norman Lamont to take on the role of heir and 17th laird of Knockdow House. The good fortune provided to him throughout his life was largely due to the hard work of his Uncle John of Benmore.