Learning from the past, living in the moment, and leaving footprints for the future. Stories of lov

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Lockhard Story

A brief history:

In early times this name was spelt "Locard" or Lokart." Like so many Scottish families, the Locards came from England there they were among those dispossed of lands by William the Conqueror. There were lands of Lockards (note name) near Penrith in the 12th century and later in Annandale, where the town of Lockerbie is said to be named after them. The family finally settled in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire, where they have held land for over 700 years.

The earliest paper in the family archives is a Charter of 1313. By this, Sir Symon Locard bound himself and his heirs to pay out of the lands of Lee and Cartland an annual rent of (franc) 10. Stephen Locard, grandfather of Sir Symon, founded the village of Stevenston in Ayrshire. His son, Symon, acquired lands in Lanarkshire and, like his father, called a village which he founded Symons Toun (today Symington) after himself. Symon, the 2nd of Lee won fame for himself and his family fighting alongside Robert the Bruce in the struggle for Scottish Independence. He was knighted for his loyal service. Sir Symon was among the knights, led by Sir James Douglas, who took Bruces heart on crusade in 1329 to atone for his murder of John Comyn in the church of Grefairs in 1306. The crusade was ended prematurely when Douglas was killed fighting the Moors in Spain, but to Commemorate the adventure and the honour done to the family, their name was changed from Locard to Lockheart, which afterwards became Lochhart. The heart within the fetterlock was from then on included in the arms of the family, and the dead is also commerated in the moto.

As well as a new name, the family gained a precious heirloom on the Crusade: the mysterious charm known as the Lee Penny. Sir Walter Scott used the story of its acquisition by the family as a basis for his novel, The Talisman. Sir Symon captured a Moorish Amir in battle in Spain and received from the man's mother as part of his ransom, an amulet or stone with healing powers. The Amir's mother told Sir Symon that the stone was a remedy against bleeding, fever, the bites of mad dogs and the sicknesses of horses and cattle. The amulet was later set in a silver coin which has been identified as a four penny piece of the reign of Edward IV. The coin is kept in a good snuffbox which was a gift from Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria, to her general, Count James Lockhart. Such was the believe in the amulet's powers that a descendant of Sir Symon, Sir James Lockhart of Lee, was charged with sorcery, an offense which could carry the death penalty. After examining the accused, the Synod of the Church of Scotland dismissed the case, because 'the custom in only to case a stone in some water and give densest cattle thereof to drink and the same is done without using any words such as charmers use in the unlawful practices and considering that in nature there are many things seem to work strange effects whereof no human wit can give reason it having pleast God to give the stones and herbs a special virtue for healing of many infirmities in man and beast.'

Alan Lockhart of Lee was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. Sir James Lockhart of Lee, born in 1596, was appointed a gentleman of the Privy Chamber of Charles I and was knighted. In 1646 he was appointed to the Supreme Court Bench, taking the title of 'Lord Lee.' A zealous royalist, he was captured at Alyth in 1651 and conveyed to the Tower of London.

His son, Sir William, who inherited the estates in 1777, also saw service on the Continent where he rose to be a county of the Holy Roman Empire, A Knight of the Order of Maria Theresa and a general of that empresses' imperial forces. The title Count became extinct when James's only son, Charles, died without issue (male child).

Although the family seat, Lee Castle, has been sold, the estates are still owned and managed by the present head of the family, Angus Lockhart of the Lee.

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