Knockdow House is a 267 year old Georgian mansion nestled at the foothills of the mountains on the Cowal Peninsula, Argyll. Surrounded by seemingly never-ending scenery, this is a picturesque property with an illustrious history stemming back to the 18th century.
Knockdow House was built around 1753 by the Lamont Clan, an ancient Scottish clan who fought many battles to protect their land. This is one of the oldest clans in Scotland, who ruled over the Cowal peninsula for many centuries.
At Knockdow House there have been 17 lairds in total. But what exactly is a laird? Let’s take a look in more detail…
What is a Laird?
A laird is a Scottish term that is effectively the equivalent of a lord, also known as esquire in England.
The first recorded lairds date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, when land owners were appointed the title.
Scottish tribes fought in vicious battles to protect their lands and their people. Those that were successful – like the many battles fought by Clan Lamont – kept on to their lands, stronger than ever and ready to take on the next battle.
Back then, lairds were even able to attend parliament, and they ruled over their properties like kings or princes, using their castles as small courts.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, this title was appointed to the head chief of a highland clan, instead of those who owned properties. The individual who was appointed this title had a number of obligations towards their community, and were given many rights, including voting rights.
Today, a laird is someone who owns a large and long-established Scottish estate. The title is still use amongst men, while the formal title for the wife of a laird is ‘Lady.’
Lairds of Knockdow
The Laird of Knockdow only changed when the current laird passed away, leaving the title to his heir, who was always his son.
Sir Norman Lamont was the son of Sir James Lamont, the 16th Laird of Knockdow. For reasons unknown, Norman Lamont never married or had children. With his passing, the history of Clan Lamont and the Laird of Knockdow House came to an end.
Scottish history is rich and complex, and goes back many hundreds of years. Fortunately, Clan Lamont kept excellent written records of their history which has enabled us to learn a great deal about this historical family. While Clan Lamont – and others like it – no longer exist, their legacy remains.