The name of Montgomery derives from an ancient Norman family, who held the Castle of St. Foy de Montgomery near Lisieux, in France. Tradition asserts that the name can be traced back to a Roman commander called Gomericus.
Another ancestor, Roger de Mundegumbrie was related to William the Conqueror and was granted lands in England by his kinsman. He later invaded Wales, and in time he gave his name not only to a town, but to an entire county.
The name of Montgomery is first recorded in Scotland in 1165 when Robert Montgomery obtained the lands of Eaglesham in Renfrewshire. A descendant of this Robert, Sir John Montgomery, was one of the heroes of the Battle of Otterburn. He distinguished himself by capturing Sir Henry Percy, who was known as “the Hotspur”.
This encounter was chronicled in a vivid Borders ballad:
“The Percy and Montgomery met
That either of other were fain;
They swapped swords and they twa swat
And aye the blood ran down between.”
The Percy family paid a great ransom for the release of Hotspur, and this money enabled the Montgomery clan to build the Castle of Polnoon. The old castle of Skelmorlie, near Largs, is now the home of the chiefs of the Montgomery clan.
Gaelic Name: MacGumerait
Motto: Garde bien (Watch well)
Lands: Eglinton, Ardrossan and Kintyre
Origin of Name: Placename, Norman
Clan Chief: The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Eglinton and Winton