Lady Ann Cunningham

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The Marchioness of Hamilton
Anne Cuningham.jpg
Published on 1 November 1797, by J Herbert
Bornapprox 1580
Known forLed a cavalry troop during the Battle of Berwick
Spouse(s)James Hamilton, 2nd Marquess of Hamilton
ChildrenAnne Montgomerie, Countess of Eglinton
Margaret Lindsay, Countess of Crawford
Mary Douglas, Countess of Queensberry
James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton
William Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Hamilton
Parent(s)James Cunningham, 7th Earl of Glencairn
Margaret Campbell

Lady Anna (Anne) Cunningham, Marchioness of Hamilton (died 1646[1]) led a mixed-sex cavalry troop during the "Battle" of Berwick on 5 June 1639.

Background and family[edit]

Lady Anna was the fourth daughter of James Cunningham, 7th Earl of Glencairn and Margaret, daughter of Sir Colin Campbell of Glenurquhy,[1] a family noted for its early commitment to Protestantism. Her sister was the memoirist Lady Margaret Cunningham.

She married James Hamilton, 2nd Marquess of Hamilton on 30 January 1603.[2] They had two sons, James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton (1606–1649) and William Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Hamilton (1616–1651) and three daughters, Lady Anne Hamilton (married Hugh, 7th Earl of Eglinton), Lady Margaret Hamilton (married John, Earl of Crawford and Lindsay) and Lady Mary Hamilton (died 1633, married James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Queensberry).

Historical importance[edit]

Her historical importance is as a defender of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland against Charles I attempts to convert the whole of Scotland to Anglicanism and her active leadership in the National Covenant resistance movement.

Her son, James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Hamilton, had sided with Charles I. When he attempted to land an army on the Scottish Coast in 1639, she organised the defences and "came forth with pistol which she vowed to discharge upon her son if he offered to come ashore."[3]

Lady Ann Cunningham did, however, raise a cavalry troop and lead them on horseback, brandishing a pistol and threatening to shoot her son.[1] This was during the Battle of Berwick on 5 June 1639. They rode under a banner showing a hand repelling a prayer book with the motto For God, the King, Religion and the Covenant.

The result led to the Scots' right to a free church assembly and a free parliament.

Her great-great-grandson was Sir William Hamilton the husband of Emma, Lady Hamilton who is best known as the mistress of Lord Nelson.


  1. ^ a b c Rosalind K. Marshall, ‘Cunningham, Anna , marchioness of Hamilton (d. 1647)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 15 Oct 2017
  2. ^ "WebCite query result". Archived from the original on 19 October 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  3. ^ A Historical Dictionary of British Women, eds Cathy Hartley and Susan Leckey (Routledge, 2003) ISBN 978-1-85743-228-2

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