The Cunningham name is associated to territory of the same name in Ayrshire which is believed to have been derived from the word ‘cuinneag’ meaning ‘milk pail’ and the Saxon ‘ham’ meaning ‘village’.
The first man to take the Cunningham name was either Warnebald or his son, Robertus, who received land in the area sometime around the end of the 12th century. By the end of the 13th century, the Cunninghams were settled in their lands at Kilmaurs in Ayrshire and a Henry de Cunningham is said to have fought against Norwegian invaders at the Battle of Largs in 1263. As a reward, Cunningham would receive a charter for his lands by King Alexander III. Further lands at Lamburgton would be gifted to the clan for their support of Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Scottish independence.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, the clan would go on to become caught up in as violent feud with the Montgomerys, which was only ended by a marriage alliance between the two families.
The Cunninghams would then have no clan chief for over 200 years and it was only in 2014 that Sir John Cunninghame of Corsehill would be recognised by the Lord Lyon.
The historic clan seat of Cunningham is at Finlaystone, Kilmacolm (near Scotcrest HQ!) – however that particular property was sold by the family in the late 19th century and is now under the possession of Clan Macmillan.