LAMONS was the name of an important family in Argyllshire. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. In the early 13th century Laumun granted to the monks of Paisley certain lands at Kilmun and Kilfinan, and in 1456 John Lamont was Bailie of Cowal. John Lamont of Inveryne was knighted in 1539. At this time his principal seat was Toward Castle, where he entertained Mary Queen of Scots in 1563. During the disturbed period of the Civil War, several of the Campbell chiefs ravaged the Lamont country with fire and sword, destroying Toward and Ascog Castles and in 1646 treacherously massacred 200 Lamonts, including 36 special gentlemen of the clan at Dunoon. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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