Monday, 17 July 2017

Life in Fife

My Lamont (Lawmonth, Lamount) ancestors lived in Largo, Fife, Scotland. John Lawmonth wrote in his diaries of the goings on in Fife and mentions many of our ancestors of the time. The original diary went from 1641 but the first and last bits seem to be long missing, now chronicling from 1649 to 1671. Various references hint that the original went longer than 1671, perhaps to his death around 1675. It was first published as The Chronicles of Fife in 1810, and a later edition in 1830, titled The Diary of John Lamont of Newton (though later proved it was the uncle John Lamont, not his nephew in Newton). He apparently left blank space after each entry so he could add facts later. Many other works of history of Fife refer to facts in the Chronicles.

Not only will you read about life in Fife but you will find entries like this one...

1649, Mar - There was an insurrection in the north parts of this kingdom, so that the garrison of Endernesse (Inverness) was surprised, and the walls of the town thrown down; and upon this, David Lesley went north with some troops of horse, and foot, to surprise them. In May 1649, following, there was 800 men taken prisoners, among whom was the Lord Rea, and some other gentlemen of the name of MacKenzie (who where carried to Edinburgh) and some killed. Upon this overthrow, the rest laid down their arms, so that their lives and fortunes were granted to them, which was done.1649, Mar - My Lord Scotstaruet bought Inchekeith (Fife) from my Lord Glams, and a mill of Kinghorn, with some acres of land there about; the whole bargain amounted to twenty thousand mark Scots money, or thereby.

... and John's version of an obituary!

"1661, August 6 - Sir Alexander Gibson, the Laird of Dury, in Fife, departed out of this life at Dury, about the 32 year of his age. He died of a purple fever, within 12 or 14 days, and was interred in Scoonie Kirk, the 16 of August, being Friday, in the day time. He left no sons behind him, but only two daughters, (the youngest died shortly after,) and his lady with child, which was a daughter also. His brother John did succeed to the estate in April of 1662. In July 1662, thereafter, his lady left Dury, and went to Nuthill, her brother Stormont's house near Falkland; and about the same time, his brother gave up housekeeping at Dury, and went to stay at Edb (Edinburgh). He was served heir to his brother at Cuper the 5 of August 1662; also, August 6,1667, the deseaced Sir Alexander Gibson his lady, surnamed Murray, departed out of this life at Perth, of a purple fever also."

This is an interesting excerpt from The East Neuk of Fife - a tavern bill in Largo..

I am related to the Lamonts through Katherine Lamont (daughter of Dr Andrew Lamont) who married my goldsmith James Tait in 1731.

If your ancestors lived in Fife you may find them mentioned in the pages of the following books.

Relevant Links

John Lamont – Dictionary of National Biography, Vol 32, pg 28

Register of the minister, elders, and deacons of the Christian congregation of St. Andrews, comprising the proceedings of the Kirk session and of the Court of the Superintendent of Fife, Fothrik, and Strathearn... 


  1. What an interesting diary!

    1. It certainly is. I have come across a few "Diaries" of occurrences of towns before, this is my first for a whole county!


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