Believed to trace a descent from the ancient Irish royal family the O’Neills, who came to dominate territory on Scotland’s western seaboard, the Lamonts established a main base at Castle Toward, opposite Rothesay Bay.
Their power and influence spread rapidly – only to become tragic victims of bitter rivalry between themselves and Clan Campbell and much wider power struggles that beset the nation.
Tragedy struck in 1646 when a force of the Campbells of Argyll besieged Castle Toward and the other Lamont stronghold of Castle Ascog. No mercy was extended, and up to 250 bearers of the Lamont name were subsequently massacred.
Surviving bearers of the name were not only forced to flee their lands to escape a similar fate but, as added protection, adopted new surnames such as Black, Brown and White.
The massacre is commemorated through a memorial erected at Dunoon in 1909, and the poignant tale of the Lamonts is chronicled here.