Upon the death of John Cunningham, the last Earl of Glencairn, without issue in 1796, the Earldom and this noble line became dormant. One of our goals and that of our membership, is to uphold the esteemed legacy left by these noble Earls of Glencairn, and their distinguished ancestors.
There have been several unsuccessful claims to the Earldom since John Cunningham's death, none of which have been able to prove their claim to the Lord Lyon Court's satisfaction. The best claim was denied because the claimant "did not establish himself to the dignity of the title."
On November 25, 2003, the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland, Robin Blair, delivered the following words in a speech as our honoured guest at our 15th Earl's Memorial Dedication Ceremony in Edinburgh, Scotland to our Clan Cunningham Society:
"The clan has been without a leader since the death of the Fourteenth Earl of Glencairn in 1796. The clan of course is led by its present High Commissioner. Of course there are a large number of other clans who do not have a chief at present. The Cunninghams are better placed than many in having a clan society that is active and serves to maintain the clan's history, memories, and fellowship." For more of the Lord Lyon's speech, click here.
The Clan Cunningham Society, as advised by the office of the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland in a letter from 1984 regarding the formation of a legitimate Clan Cunningham Society, conducts its affairs in a manner in which we believe the Earls of Glencairn - successful Chiefs of Clan Cunningham for over 300 years - would approve. Our Clan Cunningham Society is the only Clan Cunningham organization in existence duly formed upon the advance advice, and with the blessing of, the office of the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland to represent Clan Cunningham in the absence of a Lord Lyon appointed Clan Chief.
* Note: Many historians, genealogists and institutions refer to John as the 15th Earl. For an explaination of this discrepancy, click here.
On December 18, 2013, Sir John Christopher Foggo Montgomery Cunninghame, Baronet of Corsehill, was recognized as the Cunningham Chief by the Lyon Court, after the Clan had been considered an Armigerous clan for over 200 years!http://www.geocities.com/clancunninghamusa/