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.

Lord Cornets' Club


The office of Lord Cornet is of ancient origin, its holder having important duties to carry out in relation to the maintenance of the burgh boundaries which were laid down by David I and his successors. The Kings, when establishing Royal Burghs, included as part of the "business contract" between the Crown and the Burgesses, a stipulation that the march stones were to be inspected every year and a report of the findings returned to the Crown.

Lord Cornet Andrew Wilson in 1903. R.H.M. Christopher Downie, L.H.M. Hugh Dempster. Note the Town Officer, Jock McAllister, in support.

Whilst the duty of inspecting the land march stones would originally have been a simple matter, as years went by the process was elaborated upon and became more festive in nature with more people becoming involved. In 1588 the Burgh records describe the Lanimers as being 'ancient and yearly'. The origin of the term "Lanimers" derives from Land Marches.

In the past, the Town Clerk and Treasurer, along with the Bailies would have inspected the Burgh Boundaries with other witnesses who would have been initially from the council or invited by them. The appointment was originally from the Bailies and subsequently a Junior Councillor who was offered first refusal. Until 1834 the appointment was made by the Council in all years ending in odd numbers and the Deacons of Crafts made the nomination when it was an even number. From 1834 to 1975, the Council alone chose the Lord Cornet. Since 1976, after several meetings of a Co-ordinating Committee, a Lord Cornet's Selection Committee was formed made up of the two local Councillors and one representative each from the Community Council, the Guildry, the Lanimer Committee and the Lord Cornets' Club.

The first named Standard Bearer appears in print in 1670 - one John Aitkein. Other Standard Bearers of note which some Lanarkians may still recognise include John Bannatyne (1711) and Christopher Bannatyne (1741) grandfather and father respectively of John Bannatyne of Castlebank/Bannatyne Street; William Smellie (1729) the famous doctor of obstetrics; Hugh Marr (1836) creator of Lanark Loch and architect of the County Buildings, Hope Street; John Lawrie (1839 & 1853) and James Symington (1864) of Lawrie & Symington, Auctioneers; John Vassie, tanner (1841), founder member of Lanark Golf Club and James Jack (1846) ironmonger.

The Club and Modern Times.

1919 Lanimer Day. Major Walter Elliot, 1st President of the Club receives a piece of Birk from Provost William Lamb.

Each Lord Cornet automatically becomes a member of the Lord Cornets' Club which was established by former Lord Cornets of the town in 1949. The principal objectives of the Club are to support the Lord Cornet in his year of office and to maintain the equestrian traditions associated with the Lanimers*. To this end the Club keeps in contact with other border towns, supporting their festivals and inviting their representatives to Lanark.

* The equestrian riding of the burgh boundaries pre dates the Perambulation of the Marches which started in 1752 as a result of the growing of crops on land which had formerly been moor.

Famous figures from the more recent past include Major Walter Elliot who was a Member of Parliament and Privy Councillor was appointed Lord Cornet in 1919. He was a Major in the Royal Scots Greys and a troop of that regiment galloped with him as he carried the Standard. He wore his army uniform like others at that time and very appropriately, as he earned a Military Cross in the First World War. he also chaired the Club's first Dinner in 1949 as first President of the Club.

Lord Cornet William L. Steel escorts Lanimer Queen Elect Ella Simpson, Kirkfieldbank School to her Crowning Ceremony 1938.

Family connections - There have been three generations in the Tennant family who have been appointed in modern times as Lord Cornet and similarly in the Wilson family. In fact Andrew Wilson was picked twice, in 1893 and 1903, an honour which has only been shared in recent times by the late William Eagle Hall. There have been many other family connections with the office of Lord Cornet including the MacAuslans, the Hamiltons, the Glaisters, the Steeles, the Brysons and the Stoddarts, father and son. The late Millar Stoddart was the first Secretary and a prime mover in the formation of the Club.

In 1951, the Club initiated the Kirkin' of the Lord Cornet Elect which has become an important event at the beginning of Lanimer Week. A Club Chaplain is appointed annually, now normally the Minister of the Parish Church, St. Nicholas, but it is interesting to note that, at the first service, the Rev. R. S. Wallace, who was then Minister of St. Kentigern's Church, officiated which is where the ceremony took place. Interestingly, Provost T. A. R. Russell was locum organist, in the musical tradition of many Provosts thereafter who displayed their performing talents at the Club's Social Evening following the A.G.M.

Honorary members of the Club appointed each year are the Chairman of the Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council, the Chairman of the Lanimer Committee and the Club Chaplain.

The Monday Evening, Lord Cornet Robert Barr escorted by Lord Cornet Elect H.T.D. Steel, ex-Lord Cornet J. Millar Stoddart and two of Glasgow's Mounted Branch finest.

The Club donates the engraved gold badge to the Lord Cornet of each year but the brass replica badge has to be paid for! The Club also organises an Annual Dinner and the Official Lanimer Ball and from some of the profits of these and other fund raising events it arranges discounted charges for hired horses and particularly ponies for younger riders. It also funds the stabling and feeding in many instances.

The Cornet's Sash is paid for by the Lanimer Committee which also gives the Lord Cornet a grant from which he has to purchase his 'uniform' comprising brown riding boots, hunting bowler, breeches, etc., etc.

The current Burgh Standard was presented in 1986 by three former Lord Cornets and is held throughout the year by the incumbent Lord Cornet. The previous Standard, which cost 44, 5/- in 1932 and was subsequently refurbished, is held by the Club President.

The Lord Cornet's supporters comprise the Left and Right Hand Men who are the former lord Cornets of the preceding two years. They wear their identifying red and blue rosettes whilst the Lord Cornet's is white.

Lord Cornet Elect Robert Kirkhope dispenses coins at Leechford.

These days the main events for the Lord Cornets' Club in Lanimer Week, are the Sunday Kirkin', the Monday Evening Perambulations with the Shifting of the Burgh Standard and the Sashing Ceremony. These are followed by the Wednesday evening Ride Out and of course Thursday's Lanimer Morning procession and the One O'clock (or is it Two o'clock?) Procession. The day ends for the Club with the Declaration at the Cross before the Beating of the Retreat, after which as many past Lord Cornets as can ride escort the Lord Cornet back to his home. At this point, the Lord Cornet has still to complete his duties for the day. After changing into evening dress, he and his partner attend the Lanimer Queen's Reception at the Memorial Hall. A hard week's work but enjoyable and the honour keenly felt.

His duties however have not ended and he has many local functions to attend throughout the year, representing Lanark at festivals throughout the Borders and West of Scotland during his year in office until he returns to Lanark Cross one year hence and hand on the Burgh Standard 'unsullied and unstained'.

T.H.S. and P.A.