Sir David Cunningham, 1st Baronet, of Auchinhervie

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Sir David Cunningham, 1st Baronet of Auchinhervie was the owner of Auchenharvie Castle in Ayrshire. A large number of his letters are preserved in the National Archives of Scotland.[1] As a minor courtier and administrator to Charles I in London he wrote letters to his cousin Sir David Cunningham, 1st Baronet of Robertland, grandson of the master of work David Cunninghame of Robertland.[2]

Sir David Cunningham was a member of the circle of Sir Adam Newton, who lived at Charlton House, Kent. Newton, a fellow Scot, was tutor to Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales. Newton and Cunningham continued as administrators for the Welsh and duchy incomes which funded Prince Henry's household after his death in 1612. His letters also discuss taking Newton's son Sir Henry Newton on an educational trip to France.[3] On the death of Adam Newton in 1629 Sir David and Peter Newton were charged as his executors to rebuild St Luke's Church at Charlton. The Cunningham arms can still be seen carved on the pulpit.[4] Cunningham continued to administer revenue from Wales and duchy lands for Charles I as king: in 1633 he paid Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Berkshire £100 for keeping horses for Charles.[5]

Nicholas Stone the master mason who worked with Inigo Jones recorded Sir David to be his 'great good friend' and 'very noble friend' when he paid for the monument of Sir Thomas Puckering, Adam Newton's brother-in-law, at St. Mary's Warwick and Adam Newton's own tomb at St. Luke's Charlton.[6] Sir David Cunningham built a house in Lincoln's Inn Fields now called Lindsey House.[7]

Cunningham's letters to his cousin include one describing the formation of secret brotherhood of courtiers.[8] Another letter describes a royal command for him to supervise building work at Berkhamsted Place in 1629 and his account for this survives counter-signed by Thomas Trevor, surveyor of works at Windsor Castle.[9] A survey of rentals in the Cunninghame district of Ayrshire circa 1640 listed him at £1553, among the largest landowners.[10]


  1. ^ See National Archives Catalogue on-line NAS OPAC; reference GD237/25
  2. ^ A letter describing a masquerade at Oxford is cited in The Canterbury Quadrangle, Howard Colvin, Oxford (1988)
  3. ^ National Archives of Scotland on-line catalogue, GD237/25.
  4. ^ A genealogical and heraldic history of the extinct and dormant baronetcies of England, John Burke(1838), 385
  5. ^ HMC Laing Manuscripts, vol. 1, (1914), 192: three full accounts survive, Ayrshire Archives 1631 (ATD 5) and 1633, 1634 at PRO Kew
  6. ^ Notebook and Account Book of Nicholas Stone, ed. WL Spiers & AJ Finberg, 7th Volume of the Walpole Society, (1919), 5, 65-6, 76: Essays on English Architectural History, Howard Colvin (1999), 180, 181
  7. ^ Buildings Of England, London 4: North, (1998), 306, 307-8
  8. ^ Origins of Freemasonry David Stevenson, (1988),186-7
  9. ^ See NAS catalogue ; GD237/25/1 item 7: Folger Shakespeare Library, "1629 Berkhamsted Account". 
  10. ^ Dobie ed., Cuninghame topographized by Pont, Glasgow (1876), 396.