The name Lockhart is derived from Locard, sometimes spelt Lokart which is probably Flemish or Norman in origin. The modern spelling seems to have been introduced in the fifteenth century, and refers to the crusade on which Sir Symon Locard was the custodian of the key of the casket in which Bruce’s heart was carried.
Like many Scottish families the Locards came from England where they were among those who were dispossessed by William the Conqueror and sought refuge in Scotland. There were Locards near Penrith in the twelfth century and also in Annandale in Dumfriesshire 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 seven hundred years.
The earliest paper in the family archives is a charter dated 1323 by which Sir Symon Locard bound himself and his heirs to pay out of the lands of Lee and Carnwath an annual rent of £10.
Stephen Locard, grandfather of Sir Symon, founded the village of Stevenson in Ayrshire. His son Symon acquired the lands in Lanarkshire, and like his father, called a village which he founded, Symons Town (today called Symington) after himself.
Symon, Second of Lee, won fame for himself and his family fighting alongside Robert the Bruce in the struggle to free Scotland from English domination and was knighted for his loyal service. He was among the knights led by Sir James Douglas, who took Bruce’s heart to the Crusades in 1329 to atone for his murder of John Comyn in the church of Greyfriars. Douglas carried the King’s heart in a casket of which Sir Symon carried the key. The Crusade ended prematurely when Douglas was killed fighting the Moors in Spain, but to commemorate the adventure and the honour done to the family, the name was changed from Locard to Lockheart and later abbreviated to Lockhart. A heart within a fetterlock was from then on included in the arms of the family with the motto “Corda Serrata Pando” – I open locked hearts
The Lee Penny
The family took more than a new name home from the Crusades. It gained a precious heirloom which has been treasured ever since; 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”.)
At the battle of Teba in Spain, Sir Symon captured a Moorish Emir and received from the man’s mother, as part of his ransom, an amulet or stone with healing powers. The Prince’s mother told Sir Symon that the stone was a sovereign remedy against bleeding and fever, the bite of a mad dog, and sickness in horses and cattle. The stone is dark red in colour and triangular in shape and was later set in a silver coin which has been identified as a fourpenny piece of the reign of Edward IV. The Penny is kept in a gold snuffbox which was a gift from Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria to her general, Count James Lockhart in 1789.
Such is the belief in the stone’s powers that a descendant of Sir Symon, Sir James Lockhart of Lee, was charged with sorcery, an offence which could carry the death penalty. After examining the accused, the Synod of the Church of Scotland, dismissed the case, because the custom is only to cast
a stone in some water and give deseasit cattle thereof to drink and the same is done without using any words such as charmers use in their unlawful practices and considering that in nature there are many things seen to work strange effects whereof no human wit can give reason in having pleast God to give the stones and herbs a special vertue for healing of many infirmities in man and beast.
The fame of the Lee Penny spread through Scotland and Northern England and there are many recorded occasions when it was employed with apparent success.
It remains in the Lockhart family to this day.
The Red Hose Race
The lands and barony of Carnwath are held direct to the Crown, and under the Crown Charters the Crown Vassal (Proprietor) is bound by the reddendum or rent clause to pay:-
“One pair of hose containing half an ell of English cloth at the Feast of St. John the Baptist, called Midsummer, to the man running most quickly from the East end of the town of Carnwath to the Cross called Cawlo Cross in name of blench ferme only.”
The Crown Charter in which this peculiar reddendum first appeared is dated 13th March, 1508, and was granted by King James lV to John, third of Somerville.
With the passage of time, some of the original requirements and traditions attached to the race have changed or disappeared. No longer is the race held on Midsummer day; no longer is the name of the winner proclaimed from the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh. The race must still be run, however, to meet the requirements of the Crown Authorities whose written permission is necessary before the performance of the service can be suspended; as for example, during a national emergency such as war, and in the case of a local exigency such as the outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease. In fact these are the only instances known in which the Crown Receiver has sanctioned its suspension.
The race, which is the oldest foot-race in Scotland has been run on the Village Green from time immemorial, and is now usually held on Carnwath Gala Day in June.
Although the Charters do not stipulate the colour of the stockings, it is now legendary that they should be red. They are knitted locally by Mrs. Dornan, and for many years were knitted by Mrs. Dewar, mother of the Head Gamekeeper on the Estate and widow of a former Estate tradesman.
Between 1951 and 1966 a record was established by Mr. Michael Glen of Bathgate who won the mile long race 14 times in that period. Later in 1966 an alteration was made, with the consent of the Crown Authorities to the Rules governing the entries to the race so that only residents in the Parishes of Auchengray, Braehead, Carnwath, Carstairs, Covington, Dolphinton, Dunsyre, Elsrickle, Forth, Libberton, Quothquan, Thankerton and Walston may compete. Any employee of the Estate or of any of the Estate Tenants may also enter.
At this time too a cup was presented known as the McLarty Cup, in memory of the late Mr. A. M. McLarty who was Assistant Factor and had 35 years service with the Estate; the cup goes to the competitor coming in first who is either a resident in a house the property of the Estate, or is employed by the estate or any tenant of the Estate. This qualification excludes feuars; no one shall be allowed to compete for either the Red Hose or the McLarty Cup who has won either of them in three successive years.