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The genealogist, endeavouring to pursue his researches through the mists of ages, strives in vain to link the Hamiltons with the Norman de Bellomonts, Earls of Leicester; but we will not raise this disputed question. We will content ourselves with reminding our readers that from the time of Sir Walter de Hamilton, to whom Robert Bruce granted the lands of Cadzow, the Hamiltons have stood in the very front rank of the nobility of Scotland.

There is a tradition associated with the origin of their crest and motto, but, like many other family legends, it is not capable of the slightest documentary proof. The story or fable runs as follows:—An ancestor of the house having expressed himself at the Court of Edward II. in admiration of King Robert Bruce, received a blow from John de Spencer, which led, the following day, to a encounter, wherein De Spencer fell. Thereupon, continues the story, Hamilton fled into Scotland; but, being closely pursued, he and his servant changed clothes with two woodcutters, and, taking their saw, were in the act of cutting through an oak tree when the pursuers passed by. Perceiving his servant notice them, Hamilton hastily cried out "Through!" which word, with the oak and saw through it, he took for his crest, in commemoration of his deliverance.

Source: The Illustrated London News, No.2254—Vol. LXXXI, Saturday, July 15, 1882, p.70