Clan Cunningham

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Surnames/tags: Scottish_Clans Cunningham
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Scotland Project > Scottish Clans > Clan Cunningham


Welcome to Clan Cunningham

Clan Cunningham Team
Team Leader TBA
Team MembersTerri (Reynolds) Rick, Marty Acks


Clan Chief: There is no Clan Chief for Clan Cunningham
Crest: The Coat of Arms of the Earls of Glencairn and considered the Cunningham Crest of the rightful Clan Chiefs of the Cunninghams is that of a Rearing White Unicorn. The Unicorn in association with heraldry is usually drawn as a horse with a single long twisted horn, lion's tail and the legs of a stag. The Unicorn symbolizes extreme courage, strength and virtue.
Motto: Over Fork Over
Slogan/War Cry: None
Region: Northern Ayrshire
Historic Seat:
Plant badge:
Pipe music:
Gaelic name: Mac Cuinneagain

Clan Team

Team Goals

The focus of this team's work is to identify, improve and maintain profiles associated with the Lairds and Chiefs of Clan Cunningham together with members bearing the name Cunningham, the related families and those recognised as septs of Clan Cunningham.

Team To Do List

This list will be developed by the Team. If you are working on a specific task, please list it here:

  • promoting the entries of those bearing the name Cunningham on Wikitree.
  • ensuring entries appearing on Wikitree are as accurate as possible, correcting mistakes once spotted.
  • encouraging interest in and study of Clan Cunningham.


  • Boyd (noble family now also recognized as a clan)
  • Chancellor, Coon and Cooney
  • Dunlop/Dunlap (noble family now also a clan)
  • Flack
  • George, Giffen and Gunion
  • Hackney, Hair, Hare, Hairt and Hemphill
  • Paisley and Powers
  • Stair, Stairs, Starrett, Steritt, Stirrat, Stirie and Stirey
  • Winchester and Woodburn

Clan History

CUNNINGHAM: This is a territorial name, taken from the district so named in Northern Ayrshire. This district was once held by the Anglo-Norman 'de Morevilles' in the 12th century. In 1162 Hugh de Moreville granted the lands of Cunninghame to his vassal, Wernebald in 1162. During the defeat of the Danes at Largs in 1263, Harvey de Cunningham obtained a confirmation of the lands of Kilmaurs from Alexander II in 1264 for his bravery and heroism. The land holdings were increased when in 1321 King Robert Bruce rewarded Hugh de Cunninghame with the lands of Lamburgton. When Hugh's grandson, Alexander, wedded, Margaret, the heiress of Danielston's (Denniston's) they extended the land holdings by acquiring Finlayston in Renfrewshire. Alexander then became the Lord Kilmarus in 1462 and acquired the title of Earl of Glencairn in 1488.

The marriage of Hugh De Cunninghame and the heiress of Danielston also allowed the acquisition of lands in Strathblane in the Lennox, with others in Dumfries-shire - from which latter they took the name of their Earldom. Caprington in Ayrshire and this House was held as a principal cadet family which stems the families of Lainshaw and Bridgehouse.
The Cunninghams of Cunninghamhead, Ayrshire, also held lands in Lanarkshire and Midlothian until 1725. The 1st Earl's son is credited with having descendents in the families of Craigends, Robertland and Auchinharvie, and from the Craigends family, in turn, derived the Cunynghams of Milncraig, Ayrshire, and Livingstone in West Lothian.
The Cunningham's roots in Ayrshire spread throughout much of central Scotland to the more remote families and have been traced to Caithness. Ireland also has the name Cunningham but research would indicate that though the present name is similar, many ancestries have a distinct Irish origin. The Earls of Glencairn were 'bonnie fighters' and staunch friends - the 4th Earl was counted as being a friend of John Knox.
Finlaystone Castle
Ancestral Seat of the Cunningham Chief, Earl of Glencairn 1401 and 1863
High Commissioner and Chairman: As of 2011 Larry Augsbury held this position. I have not found any recent information regarding who the High Commissioner now is. The High Commissioner is more associated with the Clan Cunningham Society and not the actual Clan Cunningham.
Origin of Motto:
  • A subject known as Malcolm, son of Friskin, helped the escaping Prince Malcolm by forking hay over him with a shakefork in order to hide him from Macbeth and his soldiers. Macbeth wished to kill the Prince and claim the throne. This deed is said to be the origin of our motto "OVER FORK OVER."
  • Sir George Mackenzie states: the Arms are actually a reference to the office of Master of the King's Stables
  • The Cunninghams were great allies of the Comyns, whose shield bore sheaves of corn. When that great dynasty was overthrown by the Bruces, the Cunninghams adopted the shake-fork used to fork over sheaves of corn as an ingenious reference to their former allies.
Tartan: First appeared in Vestarium Scoticum with dark blue guarding the white, the blue had become black by the time it was recorded in both "The Tartans and Clans and Septs of Scotland" (Johnstone) and "The Clans and Tartans of Scotland" (Bain). The Cunningham Clan has several tartans.
Traditional Tartan:

Hunting Tartan:

Clan Branches

Other Names Associated with the Clan


Allied Clans

Rival Clans

Clan Research and Free Space Pages

Source Material

Image Credits and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Terri Rick

Images: 1
Cunningham tartan
Cunningham tartan

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