The Royal Burgh of Lanark Crest
Lanark Lanimers - One of Scotland's Oldest Traditions Lanimer Mascot - Larry Lanimer Mascot - Bonnie

An ancient celebration held within the Royal Burgh of Lanark on the Thursday between the Sixth and Twelfth days of June annually since the year 1140.

Grace Adams: Who do you think she was?

Sixty years ago in 1946, Mary Young from the Higher Grade School was crowned Lanimer Queen by Mrs Steel. Formerly Grace Adams, she was the first ever pupil to be chosen as Lanimer Queen and was crowned in 1893.

The family history of the first Lanimer Queen brought some surprises, a not unusual aspect of this kind of study, but important for Lanimer records.

Grace Adams, who was crowned at the Cross on Thursday 8tn June 1893 won't be found in the Statutory Index lists in Edinburgh, with the exception of the 1901 census. She was actually born Grace Stevenson ADAM on 11th January 1877 at 56 North Vennel, the youngest child of Alexander Adam, a local joiner, and Grace Stevenson, from Carmichael, married in Lanark, in 1861.

Grace barely knew her father. She was two years old when he went missing on 17th May 1879. During the night he was found dead at the plantation at Lanark Loch, leaving his wife with seven children at home.

Grace attended the fee-paying Lanark Grammar School, when the new building opened in 1884. She was among the first girls to attend what was previously a boys' school. There was also a new Burgh School (later the Masonic Hall), but it did not have the prestige of the Grammar School. Grace was an eager scholar and stayed on beyond the elementary stages (available up to the age of fourteen). She had access to the Leaving Certificate (later known as The Highers') when LGS became a Higher Class Public School in 1891. Grace became a teacher, but, in her last year at school, she made her mark in Lanark's history.

In 1892, there had been the usual Lanimer celebrations, including a procession of children from Lanark Grammar, the Burgh School, New Lanark School and Kirkfieldbank School. A group from the Lanimer Committee, led by William Dick Steel, a cashier for the local auctioneer, living in Portland Place, led the planning for the following year, and the introduction of Lanimer Queen and her court.

The sixteen year old daughter of the late Alexander Adam was chosen from senior pupils at Lanark Grammar, to take the principal role. She was still Grace Adam, living at 91 High Street, according to the 1891 census, but had become Grace Adams ten years later, when the family had moved to 27 High Street. Was there a printing error in 1893, which the culprit was too embarrassed to admit? Had the census enumerator for 1901 put the family's name as Adams, because of the earlier history Grace had in the town? Like all family histories there is a story there. We may never know what happened - unless someone reading this today can provide the answer and let us tell you next year!

Had the error stuck and the family adopted it because of their fame in 1893? We know that this was not the case. Grace Adam was married at home in the High Street, on 29 December 1904 to Robert Steel of Hawthorndene, Portland Place, the son of the man who had been central to her historic day.

Grace and Robert left Lanark and set up home in Leith. Some of her family remained in the town. Her mother passed away at Birkwood, in Albany Drive, in April 1912. Her sister, Jane, married Alexander Clarkson, a local saddler. Her three sisters lived with the Clarksons in Fernhurst, Kirklands Road. The family was there until 1946, when Jane, the last of that group passed away.

Grace saw Queen Elizabeth II crowned in 1953, no doubt bringing back memories of her own great day long ago. She died, aged seventy eight, survived by her husband, from the family so influential in the ceremony and characters we witness each year at the culmination of our annual celebrations in June. Spelling errors and changes are quite common in family history research, but this one has gone down in the annals of Lanimer history in Lanark, and who are we now to correct it? Its all part of Lanark's history and Lanarkians like nothing better than a family story ...

GRACE ADAMS, Lanimer Queen 1893
Grace Stevenson Adam: 1877-1955