The ancetor of the M.U. Lermontov George Learmonth serving in Russia in the XVII century (Предок М.Ю. Лермонтова Джордж Лермонт на русской службе в XVII веке)

Смоленская война 1632-1634


Предок М.Ю. Лермонтова Джордж Лермонт на русской службе в XVII веке.

Статья посвящена истории основателя рода Лермонтовых – Джорджу Лермонту. Впервые автору удалось установить настоящую историю предка знаменитого поэта М.Ю. Лермонтова, показать причины его приезда в Россию, служебную карьеру и некоторые аспекты личной жизни. Автор подробно рассказывает историю его службы в Смутное время, описывает стремительный карьерный рост Джорджа Лермонта в 1620-е годы, а также героизм и мужество в годы Смоленской войны 1632-1634 гг. Достаточно много места посвящено его детям, которые также добились успехов на службе и сумели сохранить и утвердить свой герб.

Аннотация, ключевые слова и фразы: Лермонтов, Джордж Лермонт, русская армия XVII в., поместье, Шотландия.


The ancetor of the M.U. Lermontov George Learmonth serving in Russia in the XVII century.

The article is devoted to the history of the founder of the Lermontov family – George Learmonth. For the first time the author was able to establish the true story of the ancestor of the famous poet M.Y. Lermontov, show the reasons for his visit to Russia, his career and some aspects of his life.

Annotation, key words and phrases: Lermontov, George Learmonth, Russian army of the XVII century, pomest’e estate.

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The ancetor of the M.U. Lermontov George Learmonth serving in Russia in the XVII century

(Предок М.Ю. Лермонтова Джордж Лермонт на русской службе в XVII веке)

Historians have been studying Scots in early modern Russia for over two centuries, but the subject is not yet fully developed. For example, we still do not know how many Scots served in Russia during the seventeenth century. It has been estimated at about three thousand, but there may have been many more [5]. The study of Scots in early modern Russia has been greatly advanced by recent scholarship associated with RIISS [15, 16]. Of particular interest to me is Dmitrii Fedosov and Oleg Nozdrin’s forthcoming book, Lion Rampant to Double Eagle: Scots in Russia, 1600-1700, which contains biographical data on 650 Scots who lived in Russia during the seventeenth century. A surprisingly large number of those men (approximately ten per cent) served in 1613 in the garrison of Belaia, a town located on the border between Russia and Poland-Lithuania. That intrigued me because I had previously encountered the Belaia garrison while studying Irish soldiers in Russia at the end of its “Time of Troubles” (1598-1613), a horrific period of civil war and foreign military intervention. By combining data from my Irish mercenary project and RIISS-related resources, it may now be possible to write a collective biography (or cohort study) of the Belaia garrison. To my amazement, I was able to identify 117 out of the 130 Scottish and Irish soldiers who served in Belaia. One Scottish soldier in particular caught my attention – George Learmonth, the founder of Russia’s famous Lermontov family. As an experiment in prosopography, I decided to use the Belaia garrison data base to try to fill in some gaps in the record of George Learmonth’s life and the early history of the Lermontovs. The main purpose of this essay is to reconstruct the biography of George Learmonth and to examine the impact of his obscure but remarkable career. Starting in 1613, Learmonth and his descendants proudly served the tsars as cavalry officers.

George’s descendants included one of Russia’s greatest poets, Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841), who was fascinated by and wrote poetry about his Scottish heritage [27, p. 561-565]. Many efforts have been made to trace the distant ancestry of Mikhail Lermontov, but with mixed results that contain many errors and a maddening lack of detail [21, 22, 27]. This essay will attempt to overcome those problems.

During the sixteenth century many Scots (especially younger sons) left home to serve as mercenary soldiers in the armies of Continental European monarchs. Scottish soldiers soon became renowned for their martial skills and bravery, and they were actively recruited by, among others, the kings of Sweden and Poland-Lithuania and the tsar of Russia [9, p. 14-16; 12, p. 47; 24, p. 73; 28, p. 258-259]. Some enterprising Scots went into business as recruiters, gathering large numbers of unemployed Scots (including their own kinsmen) for service abroad, especially for the king of Sweden [17, p. 73]. By the beginning of the seventeenth century, the unquenchable desire for foreign troops in Eastern Europe also resulted in the recruitment (often by coercion) of many Irish soldiers [32, p. 55-66; 33, p. 14-15]. In the final stages of Russia’s Time of Troubles, Swedish, Polish, and Russian armies contained many Scottish and Irish soldiers. When those armies collided on the battlefield, Scots and Irishmen fought side by side against their fellow countrymen, sometimes against their own kinsmen [14, p. 169; 25, p. 198-199]. How did this strange development come about?

In 1608 and 1609, King Karl IX of Sweden sent embassies to King James I to request permission to recruit British soldiers for service in Russia in a war he and his beleaguered ally, Tsar Vasilii Shuiskii (r.1606-10), were fighting against King Sigismund III of Poland-Lithuania. Negotiations were cordial and led James to formally recognize Karl’s claim to the Swedish throne [25]. James allowed Karl quietly to recruit Scottish soldiers, and as a result, large numbers of Scots were serving in Swedish military forces by 1609. One of those Scots, Sir James Spens (1571-1632), became Karl IX’s principal military recruiter in Britain and headed the Swedish embassy to King James which sought reconciliation and more mercenary soldiers [9, p. 26-27; 32].

Karl IX relied heavily upon foreign mercenaries, including Scots and Englishmen, to supplement Swedish soldiers fighting against Poland-Lithuania, and by 1608 Karl had a very good reason to ask James for permission to recruit many more soldiers. Sweden’s next-door neighbor Russia was experiencing its devastating Time of Troubles. In 1606 Tsar Dmitrii had been assassinated by a small group of aristocrats, triggering a powerful civil war. The usurper Tsar Vasilii Shuiskii loudly denounced the dead Dmitrii as an impostor, but the former tsar’s supporters successfully put forward the story that Tsar Dmitrii had escaped death and would soon return to punish the traitors. So energetic was the response to the call to arms against Shuiskii that civil war raged for many years and produced several impostors claiming to be Tsar Dmitrii or other members of the extinct ruling dynasty. Russia’s internal disorder eventually prompted Polish and Swedish military intervention. In 1608 a desperate Tsar Vasilii Shuiskii approached Karl IX with an urgent request for military assistance. Karl took maximum advantage of Shuiskii’s distress to force him to cede to Sweden valuable territory on the Baltic coastline in return for the promise to provide Shuiskii with up to 5,000 mercenary soldiers to be paid for by the Russians. Karl turned to James for assistance in recruiting those soldiers, and James proved to be very receptive to the idea. Brisk recruiting in Scotland and Ireland began almost immediately [11, p. 396, 402].

Without doubt, during the early seventeenth century the most successful recruiter of Scottish soldiers was Sir James Spens, a middle-ranking Scottish landowner from the region of Fife. Spens recruited several thousand British and Irish soldiers for Swedish military service, and he sometimes acted as their commanding officer in the Swedish army. Occasionally, Spens served as Sweden’s ambassador to James I, invariably seeking permission to recruit more British subjects for Swedish military service. The majority of his Scottish recruits came from eastern and northeastern Scotland. Spens was always on the lookout for potential officers, and he recruited dozens of his fellow Scots to serve as officers of mercenary forces in the Swedish army [6, p. 296; 9, p. 30-31; 17, p. 71-72, 223; 21, p. 259; 25, p. 256; 5, p. 157-162; 41, p. 439-446, 450-456].

James Spens was the son of David Spens and Margaret Learmonth, and James Spens made serious efforts to hire his own kinsmen, including the Learmonths. The Learmonths were an ancient and respectable Scottish noble family. By the sixteenth century the Learmonths had become a powerful clan in eastern Scotland, especially in the region of Fife [17, p. 223; 26]. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries many Learmonths served abroad in Continental armies, including those of Sweden, Poland-Lithuania, and Russia [10, p.93; 15, p. 67]. In the mid-sixteenth century Michael Learmonth became one of the first Scots to attempt to recruit Scottish soldiers for Sweden [9]. It is therefore no surprise to find several Learmonths serving as officers under James Spens’s command in the Swedish army. Among those officers was George Learmonth’s outstanding kinsman, Peter Learmonth, who has occasionally been misidentified as the founder of the Lermontov family [1, p. 39; 17, p. 88; 36].

Peter Learmonth entered Swedish service in 1603 as an ensign, and he rose through the ranks in (Colonel) James Spens’s regiment [1, 17, 24, 36]. In 1610 Peter Learmonth served as a captain in the Swedish army that was invited by Tsar Vasilii Shuiskii to enter Russia to oppose Polish military intervention. At the battle of Klushino (June 1610) the large Swedish and Russian armies were decisively defeated by a small Polish army. After the battle, over fifteen hundred foreign mercenary soldiers transferred their allegiance to the king of Poland-Lithuania, Sigismund III. Although Peter Learmonth was listed as „captured‟ by the Poles, in fact he had little choice but to join the bulk of his men and fellow officers entering Polish service [1, p. 9; 4, p. 464; 21]. It is important to note that early modern European mercenary soldiers not infrequently switched sides for a variety of reasons, including lack of pay and food, the cowardice or incompetence of their commanders, and the hopelessness of their tactical position. Mercenary units and individuals regularly changed sides without embarrassment and usually without loss of credibility. In the seventeenth century many Scots served more than one master, including Patrick Gordon – who served the kings of Sweden and Poland-Lithuania and was „captured‟ before entering the tsar’s service [1, p.9; 3, p. 53-54; 4, p. 464, 468-469; 11, p. 409-410; 26, p. 1763].

Once in Polish service, Peter Learmonth proved to be an exceptionally energetic officer whose skill and bravery were quickly demonstrated. His unit was almost immediately sent to aid the Polish siege of the mighty Russian fortress of Smolensk, and Learmonth distinguished himself during that long and successful military operation [4, p. 333, 335; 9, Р. 1763; 18, 37]. In the final years of Polish intervention in Russia’s Time of Troubles, Captain Peter Learmonth commanded three companies of infantry (900 men) in Polish forces that attempted to capture Moscow. During the winter of 1617-18, Polish troops reached the outskirts of the Russian capital before being turned back by Russian forces that included Captain Learmonth’s kinsman, George Learmonth [3, p. 52-53; 4, p. 333, 335; 6, p. 298, 307-308]. During that campaign Peter Learmonth once again demonstrated bravery, tactical skill, and energetic leadership. In 1619 King Sigismund III rewarded the „noble‟ and „brave‟ Scot with a hereditary estate [21, p. 261; 37, p. 524].

George Learmonth (c.1590-1634), the son of Andrew Learmonth and the greatnephew of George Learmonth of Balcomie, was a minor nobleman (or „gentleman of horse‟) from Fife [1, p. 44; 15; 16; 29, p. 315-316; 40, p. 414; 41, p. 439-446]. No records have survived concerning George’s early career, but in my considered opinion he almost certainly got swept up in his kinsman James Spens’s large-scale recruiting campaign. George Learmonth probably entered Swedish service in 1609. Like his kinsman Peter Learmonth, George probably served in the large Russian-Swedish army that was decisively defeated by a smaller Polish army at the battle of Klushino in June 1610. Mercenary soldiers in the Russian-Swedish army (including more than two thousand Scots and Irishmen) performed well on the battlefield but suffered heavy casualties and were abandoned by their commanders before deciding to surrender [3, 9, 11]. After the battle, Peter Learmonth (and, I believe, George Learmonth) and at least fifteen hundred mercenaries agreed to enter Polish military service [18, 21]. They were soon put to work by their new masters. In late 1610 many former members of the Swedish-Russian army participated in the Polish capture of the Russian border town of Belaia and subsequently served in a newly created Belaia garrison composed of approximately 150 soldiers organized into two cavalry companies, one Scottish and one Irish. Those companies served side by side for three years while maintaining their separate identities and strong unit cohesion. Some of the men married local women and started families. George Learmonth probably participated in the capture of Belaia, but the first direct reference to him in surviving records dates from 1613. By then he was serving as an ensign in the Belaia garrison’s Scottish company [10, p.93; 12, p. 48; 15, p. 67; 16, p. 61-62].

In August 1613 a Russian army commanded by voevoda (general) Dmitrii M. Cherkasskii laid siege to Belaia. After putting up a stout defence for almost a month, the garrison surrendered [15, p. 67; 18, p. 201; 34, p. 281-282, 288]. Voevoda Cherkasskii was impressed by the garrison’s skill and determination, and he reported that to Moscow. The Russian army at this time contained less than a thousand foreign troops, and the new Romanov regime was determined to hire many more of them [12; 37, p. 31-33]. The „Bel’skie nemtsy‟, as the Russians called them, consisted of excellent, well-ordered soldiers with highly competent officers. They were soon informed that Tsar Mikhail had graciously agreed to accept them into Russian service. At the time of the garrison’s
surrender, it consisted of approximately 130 men almost equally divided between Scots and Irishmen. The „Bel’skie nemtsy‟ immediately began receiving from the Russian government regular wages, food, and fodder for their horses [30; 31, p. 530-532; 33, p. 14-15; 38, p. 9, 14, 19-20]. The garrison contained fifteen „gentlemen‟ (14 Scots and 1 Irishman), six of whom served as officers, including Ensign George Learmonth. George Learmonth – known as Iurii Lermont (or Lerman) to the Russians – was recognized by the Russians as a „nobleman‟ and was initially paid two rubles per month, about twice the salary of a Russian gentry cavalryman. George worked hard and showed initiative, and as a result his salary was soon increased to three rubles per month [31, p. 673-674; 33, p. 14-15; 35, p.14].

Many of the „Bel’skie nemtsy‟ were immediately assigned to Cherkasskii’s army and participated in skirmishes against Polish forces and a protracted but unsuccessful siege of Smolensk, which had been captured by the Poles in 1611. The Belaia garrison cavalrymen earned high praise for their order and discipline, and some of them were assigned as teachers of the native Russian gentry cavalrymen [16, p. 61; 38, p. 11]. Scottish officers greatly outnumbered Irish officers in Russian service. As a result, several Scots served as officers of the Belaia garrison’s Irish cavalrymen. By 1616 George Learmonth (Iurii Lermont) was serving as an officer in the garrison’s Irish company, and his pay was increased to seven rubles per month [31, p. 673-674; 40, p. 261]. By then more than a dozen „Bel’skie nemtsy‟ had been sent to Tula, a major southern military headquarters, where they helped defend Russia’s vulnerable steppe frontier against Tatar raids. In the same period, many other members of the Belaia garrison fought gallantly and successfully against marauding Cossacks [33, p. 16-18].

Dozens of „Bel’skie nemtsy‟, including George Learmonth, were assigned to Russian army units trying to block Polish military intervention. During 1617 King Sigismund III’s son, Prince Wladyslaw, made one last serious attempt to capture Moscow and enforce his claim to be tsar of Russia. At least eighteen former members of the Belaia garrison served in the military forces defending Moscow against a Polish army that contained many Irish and Scottish troops. Several of the „Bel’skie nemtsy‟ were killed or wounded in the heroic defence of the capital. At least six of them, including George Learmonth, helped decisively turn back Prince Wladyslaw’s troops in intense fighting at Moscow’s Arbat Gate. During that battle, Ensign George Learmonth’s bravery was on display „for all to see‟. When Lieutenant David Edwards was killed in the defence of Moscow, the Irish soldiers in his company immediately petitioned to have George Learmonth replace him. Newly promoted Lieutenant Iurii Lermont received 15 rubles per month [16, p. 61; 31, p. 673-674; 40, p. 216; 33, p. 17].

Polish intervention in Russia’s Time of Troubles ended by negotiations. Tsar Mikhail was so anxious to have his father, Patriarch Filaret, released from Polish captivity that he agreed to cede several border towns to Poland-Lithuania, including Belaia [11, p. 450, 457; 34, p. 288]. By the time the war was officially over, most of the Scottish and Irish soldiers of the former Belaia garrison were concentrated in the Tula region. After a review of their condition, the Russians dismissed twenty one of them as unfit for further duty due to old age or infirmities; those men were honourably settled near Tula at half pay. About a dozen Scottish and Irish soldiers successfully petitioned the tsar to allow them to return home. The rest remained on active duty in the Tula region. There Lieutenant George Learmonth (called Iurii Andreevich Lermont in Russian records) served as second in command of a mixed company of Scottish and Irish cavalrymen. Several „Bel’skie nemtsy‟ married Russian women and had children. Lieutenant Iurii Lermont married twice: first, to Ekaterina who bore him three sons (William, Peter, and Henry), all of whom became cavalry officers in the tsar’s service; and second, to Mariia who bore him a daughter named Ekaterina [16, p. 61; 28, p. 464-465; 31, p. 674-675]. By 1620, Iurii Lermont’s pay had risen to 30 rubles per month. His high salary testifies to the excellent reputation some Scottish officers had earned while in Russian service. While living in the Tula region several officers of the former Belaia garrison, including Iurii Lermont, petitioned Tsar Mikhail for an increase in status and salary. They requested transfer into the ranks of the Russian gentry militia (pomeshchiki). That would qualify each of them to receive several hundred acres of land as a pomest’e estate – a conditional land grant requiring the holder to serve in the Russian army for several months each year until death or disability prevented further service. In their petition the men stated: „We your slaves do not wish to go to our own land, because we have married here and have children, and we want to spill our blood for Thee the Sovereign [12, p. 48-49; 35, p. 14-15]. A few of the officers were granted pomest’e estates, but those estates were usually located in remote places near the southern frontier that were diffi-
cult to monitor and offered only limited opportunities for generating revenue [13, p. 105; 15, p. 95, 106; 25, p. 92-93]. That was not Lieutenant Iurii Lermont’s fate, however. Instead, in 1621 he was assigned a fine pomest’e estate of approximately five hundred acres in the Zabolotsk district near Kostroma, about four hundred kilometers northeast of Moscow [15, p. 67; 16, p. 61; 27, p. 548; 29, p. 315; 31, p. 683-688]. In effect, he became a Russian nobleman. Iurii concentrated on the careful management and development of his pomest’e estate. He was regarded as a good lord who energetically improved his estate by attracting peasants to settle on his undeveloped „wastelands‟, thereby increasing the amount of arable land he held by about twenty per cent. In 1628 Iurii Lermont was the relatively prosperous lord of nine villages [15, p. 67; 16, p. 61].

By 1628 the number of foreigners in Russian service who had formerly served in the Belaia garrison had declined significantly, leading to the merger of the Irish and Scottish companies into one unit under the command of Captain Thomas Garne. Many of those men lived long enough to participate actively in the Smolensk War (1632-34) [35, p. 14-15; 38, p. 9, 19-20]. That war came about due to Tsar Mikhail’s determination to recapture Smolensk from Poland-Lithuania. The tsar and his advisers realized that the Russian army needed significant military modernization to achieve that ambitious objective. First and foremost, that meant attracting foreign officers who were well versed in the latest military technology and tactics, including the talented Scottish general, Alexander Leslie. General Leslie and others were tasked with organizing Russian soldiers in „new formation regiments‟ (modelled on the Swedish army) and training them to fight in more modern ways. Most of the new formation infantry regiments were composed of Russian gentry militiamen who had previously served in cavalry units [13, p. 405-406; 14, p. 170-171].

In 1632 a new formation cavalry regiment was formed composed of approximately two thousand Russian dvoriane (provincial noblemen) and deti boiarskie (petty gentry) under the command of a high-ranking foreign general, Samuel Charles d’Hebert [2, p. 22; 8, p. 135; 12, p. 49, 53-54; 14, p. 171]. Among the officers chosen to train the new cavalry regiment was Lieutenant Iurii Lermont, who was promoted to the rank of captain and given the astronomically high salary of 100 rubles per month (approximately the same salary paid to high-born aristocrats serving in Tsar Mikhail’s court). Also joining the same new formation cavalry regiment were two newly arrived kinsmen of Iurii Lermont – John and Thomas Learmonth [10, p. 93; 15, p. 67]. Captain Iurii Lermont was given command of a company of 200 cavalrymen, mostly Russian provincial nobles and petty gentry, along with some foreigners who had recently converted to Russian Orthodox Christianity. Like most soldiers in the tsar’s army, Lermont’s men were required to bring their own horses, helmets, armour, sabres, and food for several months. After mustering for inspection, they were outfitted with gunpowder weapons: pistols and harquebuses, muskets, or carbines [2, p. 22; 11, 159-160; 14, p. 172, 181-182].

Captain Lermont’s company participated actively in the Smolensk War of 1632-34. During that conflict, Scottish and Irish soldiers in the Russian army fought against Scottish and Irish soldiers in the Polish army. Not surprisingly, there were Learmonths in both armies [10, p. 93; 15, p. 67]. At the outset of the war, voevoda Mikhail B. Shein’s large army managed to recapture the town of Belaia. By early 1633, Russian forces settled into a long and bloody siege of the great fortress-city of Smolensk [2, p. 22]. During 1633 approximately ten percent of voevoda Shein’s new formation cavalrymen were killed. In August of that year several skirmishes helped clear Polish troops from the area around the fortress, but during those encounters the Russians suffered many casualties. One of those casualties was Captain Iurii Lermont, killed in battle in late 1633 during the siege of Smolensk [2, p. 22; 13, p. 408-411; 15, p. 67].

Although George Learmonth (Iurii Andreevich Lermont) faithfully served Tsar Mikhail for twenty years, he almost certainly remained a Presbyterian until his death [7, p. 52-53, 136-140; 14, p. 169-170, 173, 190; 42, p. 310-312, 327-357, 362-367]. All three of George’s sons followed their father’s career path and served as cavalry officers in the Russian army. George’s eldest son, William, became a captain of cavalry, and in 1634 he received a pomest’e estate of about three hundred acres. (The eldest son of a pomeshchik whose service had been honourable was usually promoted to that rank following his father’s death, and he usually received his father’s pomest’e estate or a comparable one.) William died in 1670. George’s youngest son, Henry (Andrei Iur’evich Lermont), began his military career in 1641 and also rose to the rank of captain of cavalry. He married and had a daughter, Anna. Henry died in 1652. George’s second son, Peter (Petr Iur’evich Lermont), began his military career in 1641 (along with his younger brother). By 1653 Peter became a captain of cavalry. Starting in the 1650s, the Russian government began prohibiting foreigners who were not Russian Orthodox Christians from holding pomest’e estates. Foreign officers were forced to choose between giving up their estates or converting to Orthodox Christianity. Petr Iur’evich Lermont chose to convert, in the process changing his first name to „Evtikhii‟. Evtikhii Iur’evich Lermont subsequently rose to the rank of major and served as the military governor of Saransk (1656-59). He had four children: Evdokiia (d. 1653), Marfa (d. 1729), Iurii (d. 1708), and Petr (d. 1704). Major Evtikhii Lermont died in 1679. By then the Lermonts had become a highly respected noble family of the Tula region [14, p. 54; 16, p. 61; 25, p. 93; 27, p. 547, 552; 28, p. 467].

Evtikhii Iur’evich Lermont’s sons, Iurii Evtikhovich (Petrovich) and Petr Evtikhovich (Petrovich) Lermont, both served as cavalry officers in Tsar Aleksei’s army. In their spare time they enthusiastically studied their family’s history which led them to make contact with the Scottish Learmonths. Among other things, the brothers learned about the Learmonth family coat-of-arms that was registered for the first time by the Scottish Parliament in 1672 [12, p. 105; 15, p. 61-62]. Iurii Evtikhovich finished writing a history of the Lermont family by 1688, and in it he claimed that the Lermonts were descendants of the ancient Scottish noble Learmonth family that got its start in the eleventh century [15, p. 61; 22, p. 83, 102; 25, p. 93; 38, p. 9-20]. Before submitting genealogical records to the Russian Military Affairs Chancellery (Razriadnyi prikaz) along with a petition for official recognition of the Scottish-Russian Lermont family’s claim of venerable noble lineage, Iurii and Petr asked a senior colleague for help. In a noteworthy example of networking among Scots in Russia, General Patrick Gordon attested to the accuracy of the Lermont family’s pedigree in 1688, less than a year before Gordon helped Tsar Peter I seize power from his step-sister, the regent Sophia. Not surprisingly, Tsar Peter accepted the Lermonts’ petition. As a result, in 1690 the Lermont family added the noble „ov‟ to their name – becoming the Lermontov clan. Iurii Evtikhovich Lermontov rose to the rank of stol’nik (minor courtier) in the service of Peter the Great [27, p. 549-550, 552].

At some point, perhaps as early as 1682, the Lermontovs designed their own coat-of-arms. Even though it was not formally registered by the Russian government until the late eighteenth century, the Lermontov coat-of-arms is one of the oldest among Russia’s nobility [15, p. 67; 16, p. 61-62; 27, p. 547; 39, p.83]. The Lermontov family’s coat-of-arms was closely based on the Learmonth coat-of-arms. That becomes obvious when the two coats-of-arms are placed side by side. (See illustration.) The Lermontov coat-of-arms, with a black flower below the chevron, was designed as the coat-of-arms of a cadet branch of the Learmonth clan. There is an unusual Latin phrase inscribed on the Lermontov coat-of-arms: „Sors mea Iesus‟ („My fate is in the hands of Jesus‟ or „Jesus is the master of my fate‟) [23, 24]. The devoutly Russian Orthodox Christian Lermontovs continued to produce many generations of cavalry officers, and the family continued to be held in high esteem among Russian aristocrats. The seventh generation of George Learmonth’s descendants included the family’s most famous member – the cavalry officer and extraordinary poet, Mikhail Iur’evich Lermontov.

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