Articles

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

GMHG general photo

Scottish Highland games may not be an international phenomenon, but they are certainly fascinating to young, old and all in between – whether with or without Scot’s DNA.   Outside of Scotland one of the largest and most prominent highland games event is held in July of each year at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.  It is billed as a “gathering of the clans” – and dozens, perhaps hundreds, of clans send delegations to participate.  This year, 2018, and for the first time since Clan Lennox was organized, it was represented at the games!

The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (GMHG) extend over four days – Thursday to Sunday. It is not unusual for 35,000 to 40,000 people to attend.  People come from all over, certainly including many North Carolinians.  North Carolina is home to hundreds of thousands of residents who descend from 18th Century Scottish settlers.  The state is one of the original 13 British Colonies in America from which the United States was formed.  A large group of the original Scottish settlers were former Jacobite soldiers, prisoners of war actually, who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie during the Rising of 1745-1746.   When the Rising was crushed by the British army at Culloden, many Jacobite troops who were spared, and many were not, were penal transported (banished) to the North Carolina colony.   Their descendants are alive and well today and many attend GMHG.

The first thing one notices at the games after the natural beauty of Grandfather Mountain, is the color.  A full sized athletic field is surrounded with brightly stripped clan tents side by side with clan banners and flags flying briskly in the mountain breeze.  Then the tartans. Tartans from seemingly hundreds of clans are worn by men and women as kilts, trousers, shirts, scarfs, or wraps.  (This is America and there are many tee shirts and sandals – sometimes worn with a kilt.)   Bag pipe and drum bands are galore.

On the field, the games are authentic.  Burley men and strong women throw heavy weights and long poles (cabers) in competition.  Dancing girls compete in traditional highland dance.  Boys in kilts wrestle.  Bagpipers compete.  Sheep dogs round up sheep.   There is pole vaulting, long jumping and foot racing.   A lot of the events happen at the same time, so it can be difficult to figure out what to watch.

While the Grandfather Mountain games are prominent around the world, highland games are frequent events in all English speaking countries.  All members of Clan Lennox are encouraged to find games near them to attend.  And when you do, wear Lennox tartan, find the event’s organizers and let them know your clan is represented!

GMHG Neil and Ann

Ann and Neil Whitford representing Clan Lennox at the 2018

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games 

Laurence Lennox, We Found You – A Genealogical Journey Through England, Scotland, Ireland, America and Australia

Lennox daughters
Thomas Lennox’s daughters in Australia circa 1890. [Left to right] Ellen, Sarah, Sophie, Margaret.

Many thanks to Rob Connelly from Maitland, New South Wales, Australia for contributing a remarkable work he authored and compiled titled “Laurence Lennox, We Found You – A Genealogical Journey Through England, Scotland, Ireland, America and Australia.” Rob descends from Laurence Lennox of County Kildare, Ireland. Here is an internet link to the manuscript:

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AplHI6xi7zZEiyXo8AL_gQev7Qe9

The manuscript consists of almost 300 pages of Lennox family history. There are chapters on the original Lennox Earls; the Lennox family in Woodhead (Scotland); the early appearance of the family in Kildare, Ireland; the connection of the Irish and Scottish ‘family’ members; immigration of members of the Laurence Lennox family from Ireland to Australia; immigration of members of the family to America; etc.  There is even a chapter on Shakespeare’s references to the Earl of Lennox in MacBeth!

“Laurence Lennox, We Found You .. .” is a delightful work chocked full of family history and lore that is guaranteed to be interesting to the Lennox Clan members spread throughout the world.

The Lennox Charters and Letters

Published in a two volume set in 1874, Sir William Fraser’s “The Lennox” is a remarkable work that not only details the history of the Lennox earls beginning with Alwin MacArchill, circa 1106- 1155, but also contains facsimiles of royal and parliamentary charters and letters involving the earls and their families.  Often the charters are reproduced in the original Latin, apparently the official language of the Scottish government in the Medieval Age, but Fraser was kind enough to provide translations.  There is considerable history of the courtship and marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, the presumptive heir of the Lennox earldom (until his murder in Edinburgh).  (Did you know that Mary signed her name ‘Marie R’?)

These books have been reproduced in their entirety by the National Library of Scotland.  Volume 1 can be found at this link:

https://archive.org/stream/lennoxvol1memov100fras#page/n0/mode/2up

Volume 2 at this link:

https://archive.org/stream/lennoxvol1memov200fras#page/n3/mode/2up

Work with the websites to open the books so that you can turn page after fascinating page.

 

 

 

 

The Lennox Heritage Society

Members of Clan Lennox may find The Lennox Heritage Society to be interesting.  This society is centered in West Dumbartonshire, Scotland.  It promotes the culture, heritage and history of the part of Scotland known as The Lennox.  The surname of most members of the Clan is from this region. The society’s website has interesting photographs and information. The web address is https://lennoxheritagesociet.wixsite.com/lennox-heritage- .  Here is the cover photograph of the society’s web page.

Lennox Heritage Society

 

28 September 2017

Origins of a surname: The Lennox

20 August 2017

Whether descended from an ancient earl or more ordinary stock, the Lennox clan members have a ‘place name’ or ‘territorial’ surname taken from a region of Scotland known as “The Lennox.”  Family names in Scotland began appearing in the 11th Century.   They generally emerged from three sources (1) territorial or place, (i.e., “James of the Lennox” – shortened over time to James Lennox), (2) occupational, (for example James Gowan [“gow” means ‘blacksmith’ in Gaelic], and (3) relational – usually in reference to a person’s father (for example James, son of Donald = James MacDonald [‘mac’ is ‘son of’ in Gaelic]).

Linguistically speaking, through the evolution of language, the Lennox name itself apparently derives from the Gaelic word “leamhan” which means ‘elm.’  Leamhan becomes Leven which becomes Levenax which gets anglicized and becomes Lennox.

From early days in Scottish history, the river connecting Loch Lomond with the River Clyde was known as the River Leven, and the river’s valley as the ‘Vale of Leven.’  These are the current names for the river and its valley.

The Vale of Leven is in West Dunbartonshire and is framed by Loch Lomond on the north, the River Clyde on the south, the end of the Grampian Mountains on the west, and the Kilpatrick Hills on the east.  North to south, the vale is only approximately six miles (9.6 km) long.

While the surname Lennox derives from this area, the Lennox territory, over time, grew much larger to include all the lands under control of the Earls of Lennox.

In the middle 1400s, a time when the Earldom had the most land, The Lennox included all of Loch Lomond, lands on the west of the loch to Loch Long, east almost to Stirling, and dipped south of the River Clyde into parts of Renfrewshire. While irregular in shape, during the height of the Earldom, its widest point, as measured east to west, was approximately 40 miles (64 km), and its length, measured north to south, about 35 miles (56 km).    The Lennox included all of what is now West Dunbartonshire, most of East Dunbartonshire, and parts of Argyll and Bute, Stirlingshire and Renfrewshire.

History has several references to “men of the Lennox.”  These include the ‘men of the Lennox’ at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, at the Battle of Glasgow in 1544, and, in 1567, a retinue of 50 men of the Lennox were in Edinburgh at the time of the murder of Henry Stuart, Mary Queen of Scot’s husband (and heir to the Lennox earldom).  It is to be expected that many of today’s members of Clan Lennox descend from these “men of Lennox” (and the women of the Lennox).

This brief summary of The Lennox, should not be viewed as a scholarly examination of the subject, but it is a good start for more serious research and is supported by works published by John Mackintosh, LL.D., in Electric Scotland, Toucher Website Design, Andrew Lang, William Anderson, and others.   There is a particularly good and detailed description of the Vale of Leven at a website created by Toucher Website Design titled The Vale of Leven –  Historical, information and reference website for the towns and villages of the Vale of Leven in West Dumbartonshire, Scotland at http://www.valeofleven.org.uk/