1018: Duncan, grandson of Malcolm II King of Scots, lays claim to Strathclyde.
1040: Duncan killed by MacBeth.
c. 1045: Malcolm, son of Friskin, aids Prince Malcolm, son of Duncan, by using a shake fork to hide him from his enemies under a pile of hay.
c. 1058: MacBeth slain; Malcolm son of Duncan ascends the throne.
c. 1059: King Malcolm rewards Malcolm son of Friskin with Thanedom of Cunninghame.
1107: David I created Prince of Cumbria.
c. 1115: Hugh de Morville grants Cunninghame to Wernebald.
1124: Alexander I dies; David I ascends the throne.
1128: David I establishes Kelso Abbey.
1150: Hugh de Morville founds Dryburgh and Kilwinning in Ayrshire.
1153-65: Galfridus de Cunigsburgh, son of Wernebald, is witness to a charter of Malcolm IV and a donation to the Abbey of Scone.
1162-74: Robert, son of Wernebald, gives 50 acres to the monks of Kelso.
c. 1170: Robert, grandson of Wernebald, is first to be called de Cunninghame.
1174: Stephen, great grandson of Wernebald, gives himself as ransom for King William I the Lion.
1210-33: Richard de Cunninghame is witness to the charter granting Stevenston to Hugh de Crawford.
c. 1220: Malcolm, son of Fergus de Cunninghame, founds Cunningham branch of Ranfurly.
1249: Alexander III ascends the throne.
1263: In October, Norwegians are defeated at the Battle of Largs near Ayrshire's coast.
1264: Henry/Harvey de Cunninghame is granted Kilmaurs by Alexander III.
1289: Alexander III dies.
1290: Edward Cunningham dies, father of Reginald Cunningham who founds the Cunningham branch of Glengarnock.
1291: John Balliol granted Scotland but is overthrown.
c. 1295: Robert Cunningham, brother of Gilbert who fought with de Bruce against Balliol, becomes the founder of the Cunninghams of Polmaise.
1299: Robert Cunningham, nephew of Edward Cunningham, is beheaded by the English, his head placed atop the tower of Lachmaban Castle.
1306: Robert Bruce proclaims himself King of Scots; a Robert Cunningham declares for Bruce.
1314: Edward 11 defeated at Bannockburn.
1318: James Cunningham, son of Gilbert, granted Hassendean in Roxburghshire by Robert I the Bruce.
1320: Robert Cunningham is granted lands in Cunninghame, Lambruchtan and Grugar by Robert I the Bruce.
1344 Sir William Cunningham (I), son of Hugh de Cunninghame, sits in Parliament.
1346: David II captured by English at the Battle of Neville's Cross; Robert, grandson of Hugh de Cunninghame, gives himself as ransom for the king. Robert's brother, Thomas, becomes ancestor of the Cunninghams of Caprington, Enterkine, and Bedland.
1366: Sir William Cunningham (I) is made EARL OF CARRICK.
1374: Sir William Cunningham (I) is made sheriff of Ayr.
1384: Sir William Cunningham (II), son of Sir William Cunningham (1), is knighted.
1385: In April, Sir William Cunningham (II) helps defeat the army of the Duke of Lancaster.
1388: Hugh de Cunninghame, son of Robert Cunningham, is granted Polquhairn. His son, Alexander, ancestor of the Cunninghams of Drumquhassil, Ballindaloch, Balbougie, and Banton, dies.
c. 1390: Sir William Cunningham (I) dies; Sir William Cunningham (II) obtains Danielston, Kilmarnock, Finlaystone and Glencairn.
1398: In October, Sir William Cunningham (II) is granted the Barony of Redhall by Robert III.
1406: Sir William Cunningham (II) is made Sheriff of Ayr.
1409: Margaret, the wife of Sir William Cunningham (II), dies, and he marries Margory Mary Stewart, daughter of King Robert III.
1413: In September, Sir William Cunningham (II) dies.
1418-26: William Cunningham (III), second son of Sir William Cunningham (II), is perpetual Vicar of Dundonald and Canon of Glasgow, and is the ancestor of the Cunninghams of Cunninghamhead.
1421: Henry Cunningham, third son of Sir William Cunningham (II), fights in the Battle of Beauge.
1424: Sir Robert Cunningham, 1st son of Sir William Cunningham (II), gives himself as ransom for King James I. On May 21st, Sir Robert is knighted by King James I.
1425: Sir Robert Cunningham serves on the jury of Murdock Stewart Duke of Albany, regent during James I's captivity, who made little effort to get the king released. Sir Robert's son, Archibald Cunningham, receives Waterton.
1430: In August, Sir Robert Cunningham shares a joint commission with his wife's brother, Sir Alexander Montgomery, to govern and defend Kintyre and Knapdale.
1448: Sir Alexander Montgomery, Sir Robert Cunningham's brother-in-law, is made Bailie of Cunninghame, a title which belonged to Sir Robert Cunningham. This event sparked the bloody Montgomery-Cunningham feud.
1452-55: Sir Alexander Cunningham, son of Sir Robert Cunningham, helps King James II defeat the Douglas' and is granted the Barony of Kilmaurs, and the lands of Kilmarnock, Hilton, Finlaystone and Glencairn. His 2nd son, William Cunningham becomes ancestor of the Cunninghams of Craigends, Robertland, Cairncurin, Bedlaw, Auchinharvie and Auchenyards.
1458: Sir Alexander Cunningham is made Bailie of Cunninghame, frustrating the Montgomerys.
1460: Sir Alexander Cunningham is accused of collaborating with a traitor, but is acquitted when King James III comes to his defense.
1462: Sir Alexander Cunningham is recognized as Lord Kilmaurs by King James III.
1464-88: Sir Alexander Cunningham sits in Parliament.
1484: Sir Alexander Cunningham, son of Sir Robert Cunningham, moves the Seat of Clan Cunningham to Finlaystone.
1488: In May, Sir Alexander Cunningham is made 1st Earl of Glencairn by royal charter, and receives Drummond and Duchray in Lennox for helping to defeat the rebels at Blackness. In June, Sir Alexander Cunningham and his king, James III, are killed at the Battle of Sauchieburn. In October, King James IV revokes all titles given by his father over the past few years, and Sir Alexander Cunningham's son and heir, Robert Cunningham, is stripped of his title of 2nd Earl of Glencairn, but retains the earlier title of 2nd Lord Kilmaurs. The Montgomerys burn down the Cunningham's Kerelaw Castle.
1489: Robert Cunningham, 2nd Earl of Glencairn, sits in Parliament.
1492: Robert Cunningham, 2nd Earl of Glencairn, dies; his son, Cuthbert, becomes 3rd Lord Kilmaurs.
1498: Hugh of Eglinton, Lord Montgomery, is made Bailie of Cunninghame.
1499: Cuthbert Cunningham, 3rd Lord Kilmaurs, leads the Clan in an attack on Irvine.
1503: On August 13th, King James IV restores the title of 3rd Earl of Glencairn on Cuthbert Cunningham.
1513: In September, James IV is killed at the Battle of Flodden; his son, James V ascends the throne.
1526: Cuthbert Cunningham, 3rd Earl of Glencairn, is wounded in a failed attempt to rescue James V from the Douglas' at the Battle of Linlithgow. In June, his son William, 4th Earl of Glencairn, becomes Lord High Treasurer of Scotland.
1527: Cuthbert Cunningham, 3rd Earl of Glencairn, and his son William, 4th Earl of Glencairn, found the Baronial Burgh of Kilmaurs.
1528: William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn, leads an attack on the Montgomerys and burns their Eglinton Castle. Protestant reformer, Patrick Hamilton, is murdered.
1533: William Cunningham of Craigends is murdered by William Lord Semple.
1540: Cuthbert Cunningham, 3rd Earl of Glencairn, dies; William Cunningham becomes 4th Earl of Glencairn and 4th Lord Kilmaurs.
1541: A son of William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn, Hugh Cunningham, is given Wattertoun after William took it by force from his cousin Ninian Cunningham. William's two other sons, Robert of Montgrenane and William the Bishop of Argyll, were clergymen.
1542: On November 24th, William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn, is captured by the English at the Battle of Solway Moss, but was released from the custody of the Duke of Norfolk for 1,000 Pounds. He later signed an agreement with King Henry VIII of England to promote a match between Henry's son, Edward, and Mary Queen of Scots.
1544: In May, William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn, signs a treaty appointing Henry VIII as Protectorate of Scotland. William's 2nd son, Andrew Cunningham, becomes ancestor of the Cunninghams of Corsehill.
1546: Protestant reformer, George Wishart, is murdered.
1547: William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn, dies; Alexander Cunningham becomes 5th Earl of Glencairn and 5th Lord Kilmaurs.
1555: John Knox returns to Scotland from Geneva.
1556: John Knox performs the first Protestant Reformed Communion service on Easter Sunday under a Yew tree at Finlaystone for Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl of Glencairn.
1557: Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl of Glencairn, signs the Covenant of the Lords of the Congregation.
1559: John Knox aroused the parishioners of Perth to destroy the religious idols and graven images of the saints in their churches. Mary of Guise sends troops to lay siege to Perth, but Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl of Glencairn, defeats them by leading a force of 2,500 soldiers against them.
1560: Mary of Guise makes Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl of Glencairn, Privy Counselor of young Mary Queen of Scots.
1567: Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl of Glencairn, carries the Sword of State at the coronation of King James VI, and serves on the Council of Twelve appointed to carry on the government for the infant king.
1568: Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl of Glencairn, commands a division at the Battle of Langside near Glasgow, which led to the papal Queen's final exile.
1575: Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl, dies; William Cunningham becomes 6th Earl of Glencairn and 6th Lord Kilmaurs.
1578: Clan Cunningham burns the Clan Porterfield's Duchal House.
1580: William Cunningham, 6th Earl of Glencairn, sends a band of Argyll Highlanders to attack the Porterfields, killing a baby and destroying cottages. This event ends the Cunningham-Porterfield feud.
1586: The Cunningham-Montgomery feud erupts when Hugh Montgomery, 4th Earl of Eglinton, was murdered by Cunninghams during the time of James Cunningham, the 7th Earl of Glencairn and 7th Lord Kilmaurs.
1604: The Great Queen Elizabeth I dies; King James VI of Scotland becomes King James I of Britain.
1610: Sir James Cunningham of Glengarnock receives 12,000 acres in Ulster by King James VI & I.
1611: Glencairn Castle is transferred to the Lauries of "Annie Laurie" fame; King James VI & I introduces the only known literal English translation of the Holy Scriptures-the Authorized King James Version. Alexander Cunningham establishes Cunningham branches in Donegal, Ireland, spelling the name as Conyngham. The present day towns of Manorcunningham and Newton Cunningham bear witness to this event.
1621: Sir William Cunningham is granted Nova Scotia by King James VI & I for the purpose of colonizing it.
1625: King James VI & I dies; Charles I ascends the throne.
1626: William Cunningham of Cunninghamhead becomes Baron of Nova Scotia.
1630: James Cunningham, 7th Earl of Glencairn, dies; William Cunningham becomes 8th Earl of Glencairn and 8th Lord Kilmaurs. David Cunningham of Robertland becomes Baron of Nova Scotia.
1631: William Cunningham, 8th Earl of Glencairn, dies; William Cunningham becomes 9th Earl of Glencairn and 9th Lord Kilmaurs.
1633: David Cunningham of Auchenharvie becomes Baron of Nova Scotia.
1638: William Cunningham, 9th Earl of Glencairn, signs the National Covenant.
1641: William Cunningham, 9th Earl, is sent to Ireland by Charles I to defend the Ulster colonists and is made Privy Counselor of the Treasury.
1642: Reverend Hugh Cunninghame accompanies William Cunningham, 9th Earl of Glencairn, to Ulster, Ireland, and founds the Cunningham branch of Cooley Castle.
1643: William Cunningham, 9th Earl of Glencairn, fights the Battle at Kilayth to rescue the King from Cromwell, but is defeated.
1649: Oliver Cromwell has Charles I executed. Charles II ascends the throne.
c. 1650: Charles II commissions William Cunningham, 9th Earl of Glencairn, to command a force of 5,000 to harass Cromwell's General Monk.
1655: William Cunningham, 9th Earl, is imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle for his loyalty to the king and is rescued from execution by the restoration of the monarchy.
1656: William Cunningham, 9th Earl, is made Privy Counselor and Sheriff of Ayr.
1661: William Cunningham, 9th Earl of Glencairn, is made Lord High Chancellor of Scotland for life. He marries Margaret Montgomery, daughter of Alexander, 6th Earl of Eglinton, ending the Cunningham-Montgomery feud.
1664: On May 30th, William Cunningham, 9th Earl of Glencairn, dies; Alexander Cunningham becomes 10th Earl of Glencairn and 10th Lord Kilmaurs.
1669: Sir John Cunningham of Broomhill becomes Baron of Nova Scotia.
1670: Alexander Cunningham 10th Earl of Glencairn, dies; his brother John Cunningham becomes 11th Earl of Glencairn and 11th Lord Kilmaurs.
1672: Alexander Cunnyhame of Corsehill becomes Baron of Nova Scotia.
1689: John Cunningham, 11th Earl of Glencairn, signs letter of congratulations to William & Mary. He is appointed Privy Counselor and Governor of Dumbarton Castle.
1702: David Cunyngham of Milncraig-Polquhairn becomes Baron of Nova Scotia.
1703: John Cunningham, 11th Earl of Glencairn, dies; William Cunningham becomes 12th Earl of Glencairn and 12th Lord Kilmaurs. He is also appointed Privy Counselor and Governor of Dumbarton castle.
1734: William Cunningham, 12th Earl of Glencairn, dies; William Cunningham II becomes 13th Earl of Glencairn and 13th Lord Kilmaurs.
1770: William Cunningham II, 13th Earl of Glencairn, becomes a Major General. He is also made Governor of Dumbarton Castle.
1775: William Cunningham II, 13th Earl of Glencairn, dies; James Cunningham becomes 14th Earl of Glencairn and 14th Lord Kilmaurs and Captain of the West Fencible Regiment.
1780: James Cunningham, 14th Earl of Glencairn, chosen as a Representative Peer of Scotland.
1786: James Cunningham, 14th Earl, sells the Cunningham estates at Kilmaurs. He befriends and becomes a patron of Robert Burns.
1791: James Cunningham, 14th Earl of Glencairn, dies; his brother John Cunningham becomes 15th Earl of Glencairn and 15th Lord Kilmaurs. Robert Burns writes the famous "Lament on the Death of James, Earl of Glencairn." John Cunningham, 15th Earl of Glencairn, joins the 14th Dragoons.
1796: On September 24th, John Cunningham, 15th Earl of Glencairn and the 15th Lord Kilmaurs dies with no offspring, causing the Earldom to go dormant.
1899: The candlesticks which were used as wine goblets by John Knox at Finlaystone for the first Protestant Reformed Communion service in 1556, vanished from Finlaystone Castle without a trace.
1900: The Yew tree under which John Knox held the first Protestant Reformed communion at Finlaystone for the 5th Earl of Glencairn in 1556 was moved 40 yards to the Southeast to afford better sunlight on Finlaystone Castle.
1984: Deborah Cunningham Green founded the Clan Cunningham Society of America with the blessings of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms of Her Majesty's Court.
1985: George MacMillan becomes chief of Clan Macmillan which holds it seat and center at Finlaystone Counrty Estate.
1999: On September 12th, Clan Cunningham was awarded, at the Longs Peak Scottish/Irish Highland Festival at Estes Park, Colorado, best Clan tent among 72 Clans represented.
2000: On February 27th, Clan Cunningham was awarded, at the Scottish/Irish Highland Festival at Mesa, Arizona, best Clan tent.
Cunningham is a territorial name which is found in Ayrshire. It is believed, as one version of it's origin has it, to have derived from "cuinneag", meaning "milk pail" and the Saxon "Ham", meaning "village". The first to take this name was Warnebald or perhaps his son, Robertus, who received a grant of the land of Cunningham somewhere between 1160 and 1180. Another story relates that Malcolm, son of Friskin, obtained the lands of Cunningham from Malcolm III by sheltering him in a barn and covering him with hay. This is said to give rise to the shake-fork in the family arms and the motto, "Over fork Over". Sir George Mackenzie relates that, although this is a charming story, the Arms are actually a reference to the office of Master of the King's Stables. Another reference relates that 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.
It is certain that the Cunninghams were long settled in their lands and the parish of Kilmaurs by the late thirteenth century. Hervy de Cunningham, son of the Laird of Kilmaurs, fought for Alexander III against the Norwegian invaders at the Battle of Largs in 1263. As a result of this service he received from his King a charter of confirmation to all his lands.
The family were supporters of the Bruces in their fight for Scottish independence, although in common with many of the Scottish nobility, and their name appears on the Ragman Roll, which was made up of those swearing allegiance to Edward I of England in 1296. As Robert the Bruce was generous to his supporters, the lands of Lamburgton were added to Kilmaurs (Hervy de Cunningham) by royal charter in 1319.
Sir William Cunningham of Kilmaurs was one of the Scottish noblemen offered to David II's English captors as a substitute hostage in 1354. His son William married Margaret, the elder daughter and co-heiress of Sir Robert Denniston and through her acquired substantial lands, including Finlaystone in Refrewshire and Glencairn in Dumfriesshire. Sir William's grandson, Alexander Cunningham, was made Lord Kilmaurs in 1462 and later in 1488 the first Earl of Glencairn. A younger brother was ancestor to the Cunninghams of Caprington who were later to achieve prominence of their own. Other distinguished branches of the family include the Cunninghams of Cunninghamhead, Aiket, Robertland and Corsehill. However, the fortunes of the family remained firmly in the hands of the main lineage, the Earls of Glencairn.
The fifth Earl, Alexander Cunningham, was a Protestant reformer and a patron of the reformer, John Knox. He has been accused of being in the pay of the English, who saw the Reformation as an opportunity to place the Scottish Crown in an embarrassing position. Regardless of the truth of this accusation, it is a fact that the Earl of Glencairn did rise against Mary Queen of Scots, and was one of the commanders at the Battle of Carbery Hill as a result of which Mary surrendered in 1567. This Earl of Glencairn is reported to have ordered the destruction of the Chapel Royal at Holyrood.
The Cunninghams also were among the Scottish undertakers of the Plantation of Ulster, and Sir James Cunningham, who was married to a daughter of the Earl of Glencairn, was granted five thousand acres in County Donegal. The Cunningham name is now among the seventy-five most common names in Ulster.
The ninth Earl, William Cunningham, joined with Charles II in his bid to gain his father's throne. He raised a force of about five thousand in 1653 to oppose General Monck, who was Governor of Scotland. In August of that year he went to Lochearn in Perthshire where he met with some Chiefs of the Highland clans, and with a body of fighting men, he took possession of Elgin in 1654. He announced his commission on behalf of the king to raise all of Scotland against the Protector, Oliver Cromwell. It was a failure, but the Earl of Glencairn escaped with his life and after the Restoration he was appointed in 1661, Lord High Chancellor of Scotland. The title is now extinct.
Sir John Cunningham of Caprington, a distinguished lawyer, was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles II in 1669. Other prominent Cunninghams include Alexander Cunningham, eighteenth-century historical writer, who was British envoy to Venice from 1715 to 1720. Charles Cunningham was famous for his historical paintings, some of which still hang in the Hermitage Palace in St. Petersburg and in Berlin. Sir William Cunningham of Robertland was a friend of the poet Robert Burns. Alan Cunningham, a poet and writer, whom many believe was only slightly less gifted than Burns himself, was born at Blackwood in Dumfriesshire in 1784. His work was supported by Sir Walter Scott who, on Cunningham's death in 1828, provided for his two sons.
Much more detailed historical information is available in the sixty-six page book "CLAN CUNNINGHAM ORIGINS, HERITAGE and TRADITIONS" published by CCSA and available at the CLAN STORE.
For more information on Cunningham History the following links are provided for your convenience:
Ayrshire Roots The Feud between the Cunninghams and the Montgomerys.
Hugh Cunningham House Hugh Cunningham House near Hedgesville, West Virginia. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places July 8, 1985 and related Cunningham history.