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James Cunningham, 6th Earl of Glencairn.

D 3.

Argent a shakefork Sable.

The Cunningham family obtained the manor of Cunningham in the parish of Kilmaurs in the 12th Century. The Coat of Arms is simple, a fact that speaks for its age for later Coats generally have to be more elaborate just to be different.

The head of the family was knighted by James I. One of the Lords of Parliament he became Lord Kilmaurs in 1450. The 5th Earl was a major figure in the Reformation, being a supporter of the new faith as early as 1540, twenty years before the given date of the Reformation, and he was a personal friend of John Knox. He was sufficiently important to be an ambassador with Morton and Maitland of Lethington to the English Court to ask for help against a threatened French invasion, and to arrange the marriage of Elizabeth to the Earl of Arran, a Stewart.

Not only was he a courtier, but he commanded a division at the Battle of Langside, which sealed the fate of Mary Queen of Scots in 1568.

When the Regent Lennox was assassinated at Stirling in August 1571, the Earl was taken prisoner. It is an interesting coincidence that he was freed by Captain Thomas Crawfurd, whose mausoleum stands to the South of our church, and who also captured Dumbarton Castle in the same year.

The Earl died in 1574, but his family’s influence was well established as a power in the land.

His son, the 6th Earl was married into both sides of the Crawfurd ancestry. See S 4.


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