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Learmonth Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: SPERO (I hope)

Let me share with you the intriguing history of your family, the Learmouths, passed down through generations:

Your family, the Learmouths, has a territorial origin in Berwickshire, which is evident through the villages of East and West Learmouth near Coldstream. It is believed that Malcolm III granted land to a Norman knight named Leuremue in recognition of his military service. The earliest record of the name can be found in the records of the English exchequer during the twelfth century. Tradition holds that the thirteenth-century poet and mystic Thomas the Rhymer was a member of the Learmonth family of Ercildoune. However, according to twentieth-century authority George Black, the Learmonths make more substantial appearances in written records during the fifteenth century. Notable individuals such as William de Leirmontht, present at an inquest in Swinton in 1408, and Andrea de Lermwyth (or Learmonth), recorded in Edinburgh in 1426, mark the emergence of the Learmonth name.

In 1517, a distinguished figure named David Learmonth, Provost of St. Andrews, was granted the Castle of Dairsie by the Archbishop of St. Andrews. His son, Sir James Learmonth, succeeded him as Provost and also served as Master of the Household to James V. Sir James acquired the lands and castle of Balcomie in Fife, which became the family’s territorial designation, and was eventually granted the title of Earl of Balcomie. A devout Protestant, Sir James was implicated in the murder of Cardinal Beaton in 1546 and met his own demise the following year at the Battle of Pinkie.

Sir Patrick Learmonth of Dairsie, son of Sir James, held the position of Provost of St. Andrews for an impressive forty-five years and played a significant role during the turbulent times of that era. In 1559, he joined forces with the “Lords of the Congregation” in opposition to Mary of Guise, the widow of James V. His influence in St. Andrews extended to gaining hereditary offices of Baillie and Justice General in 1562. However, the Learmonths’ political power in St. Andrews faced challenges, including violent confrontations during elections in 1593, where Patrick Learmonth and his followers were accused of assaulting opponents. Another notable figure, Sir James Learmonth, served as President of the Court of Session in 1543 and 1547, and was likely appointed as one of the commissioners by James IV to explore the possibility of a Union with England. From the early seventeenth century onward, the Learmonth family in Fife gradually faded into relative obscurity, leading to the sale of the Castle of Dairsie in 1616. Notably, through the emigration of mercenary George Learmonth to Russia in the early seventeenth century, the renowned romantic poet and artist Michael Lermontov can trace his ancestry back to the Learmonth family of Fife.

Your family, the Learmouths, carries a rich heritage intertwined with notable figures in politics, literature, and art. It is a testament to the influential roles your ancestors played throughout history.

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Family Crest Motto: SPERO (I hope)

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