Cunningham, Alexander, first Earl of Glencairn d. 1488, was descended from a family which obtained the manor of Cunningham, in the parish of Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, in the twelfth century. He was the eldest son of Sir Robert Cunningham (who received a charter of the lands of Kilmaurs from Robert, duke of Albany, and was knighted by James I) by his wife Ann, a daughter of Sir John de Montgomery of Eglinton and Ardrossan. He was created a lord of parliament by the title Lord Kilmaurs about 1450. In January 1477-8 he received a charter of the lands of Drip in the parish of Kilbride, Lanarkshire (Register of the Great Seal of Scotland, vol. i. entry 1,342). He was created Earl of Glencairn (a parish in the western part of Nithsdale, Dumfriesshire) by James III 28 May 1488, for the powerful assistance he had rendered against the rebel lords at Blackness. He was slain at the battle of Sauchieburn 11 June of the same year. By his wife Margaret, daughter of Adam Hepburn of Hailes, he had four sons. By the Rescissory Act passed by James IV 17 Oct. 1488, his eldest son Robert was deprived of the earldom and reduced to the rank of Lord Kilmaurs. It was, however, revived in the person of Cuthbert, third earl, in 1505.

     Acts of Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii.
     Reg. Magni Sig. Scotl. vol. i.
     Douglas's Scotch Peerage (Wood), i. 633-4.

Contributor: T. F. H. [Thomas Finlayson Henderson]

Published: 1888