Earl of Glencairn
Earl of Glencairn was a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1488 for Alexander Cunningham, 1st Lord Kilmaurs (created 1450). The name was taken from the parish of Glencairn in Dumfriesshire so named for the Cairn Waters which run through it.
On the death of the fifteenth earl in 1796, there existing no original Letters Patent of the creation nor a given remainder in the various confirmations in title of previous earls the title became dormant.
The earldom was claimed by Sir Adam Fergusson of Kilkerran, Bt., as heir of line of Alexander 10th, Earl of Glencairn and was opposed by Sir Walter Montgomery Cunningham of Corshill, Bt., as presumed heir male along with Lady Henriet Don, sister of the last earl, and wife of Sir Alexander Don of Newton Don, Roxburghshire. The House of Lords Committee of Privileges on 14 July 1797, chaired by the Lord Chancellor (Lord Rosslyn), in deciding the claim of the first-named, took a view unfavourable to all the claimants, and adjudged, that while Sir Adam Fergusson had shown himself to be the heir-general of Alexander, 10th Earl of Glencairn who died in 1670, he had not made out his right to the title. However, the decision was severely criticised by the jurist John Riddell in the 19th century and by Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, Officer of Arms, in the 20th.
The current pretenders to the Earls of Glencairn are the Montgomery-Cuninghame baronets, although no claim has as yet been forthcoming. Lord Murphy of Glencairn, although not the rightful heir to the dormant Earldom, may emerge as a persuant claimant to the title but has expressed no interest. He currently resides in Utah, USA. It may be, having been recognised by the Lord Lyon as Chief of the Arms and Name of Cunninghame, though not as rightful heir to the dormant Earldom, that Sir John Montgomery Cuninghame will pursue his claim.
Earls of Glencairn (1488)
- Alexander Cunningham, 1st Earl of Glencairn (1426–1488)
- Robert Cunningham, 2nd Earl of Glencairn, was affected by the Act Rescissory of October 1488 and so was de jure Earl of Glencairn. (** According to the Oxford DNB Robert Cunningham held only the Lordship (Lord Kilmaurs) of Parliament, not the earldom, therefore it had been speculated that the second Earl of Glencairn should start with Cuthbert. However, Robert did hold the earldom for 4 months 8 days as male-heir from the date of the death of his father Alexander on 11 June 1488 to the date of King James IV's revocation, on 17 October 1488, of all titles bestowed by his father King James III in the previous year, and therefore Robert is in fact acknowledged by the Lyon Court as 2nd Earl, on the basis that, if the revocation point begins retroactively to the moment King James III granted the title, then Alexander's title of Earl of Glencairn would vanish as though it never existed, which would then make it impossible for Cuthbert to be "restored/reinstated" to a title which didn't exist in the first place, and instead, for Cuthbert to obtain the title, James IV would have had to CREATE ANEW (not restore) the title by making Cuthbert 1st Earl of Glencairn - which did not happen. Cuthbert was RESTORED to the title. Thus, Robert's brief period as Earl, while he held it, was valid and thus he is the Undoubted 2nd Earl of Glencairn, and Cuthbert is the Undoubted 3rd. )
- Cuthbert Cunningham, 3rd Earl of Glencairn (1470–1541), restored to the Earldom by the 1503 Act Revocatory.
- William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn (c. 1490-1547)
- Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl of Glencairn (d.1574)
- William Cunningham, 6th Earl of Glencairn (1526–1580)
- James Cunningham, 7th Earl of Glencairn (1552–1630)
- William Cunningham, 8th Earl of Glencairn (1575–1631)
- William Cunningham, 9th Earl of Glencairn (1610–1664)
- Alexander Cunningham, 10th Earl of Glencairn (died without male issue, 1670).
- John Cunningham, 11th Earl of Glencairn (d.1703) succeeded his brother and matriculated the arms in 1672.
- William Cunningham, 12th Earl of Glencairn (d.1734)
- William Cunningham, 13th Earl of Glencairn (d.1775)
- James Cunningham, 14th Earl of Glencairn (1749–1791) unmarried and died without issue; succeeded by his brother.
- John Cunningham, 15th Earl of Glencairn (1750–1796) died without issue.
- "Glencairn Dumfries Shire". A Vision of Britain. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- Douglas, Sir Robert (1764), The Peerage of Scotland.
- Robertson, George, Topographical Description of Ayrshire; more Particularly of Cunninghame: together with a Genealogical account of the Principal families in that Bailiwick, Irvine, 1820.
- Brown, Peter, publisher, The Peerage of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1834, p. 88.
- Anderson, William, The Scottish Nation, vol.v, p. 310-314: Glencairn, Earl of