Clan Cunningham Society News

 

News Index:

Triennial General Membership meeting, Friday evening, May 28, 2010 following the Clan Reception at the Greenville, SC Festival

May 28 & 29, 2010 Greenville, SC Festival and Clan Reception photos

2010 Tartan Day Commemoration in France

2009 Colorado Tartan Day CCSA Kilted/Tartan Ski Day on April 4th

US Olympic Curling Trials on February 28, 2009 in Colorado

Historical Sites Tour in France, Scotland and Ireland

Clan Cunningham Historical Sites Tour 2004 in France and Scotland

Saint Andrews Night, Château de Cherveux 2003

Last Earl of Glencairn Memorial Dedication Ceremony 2003

Lord Lyon Addresses Clan Cunningham Society 2003

Chief of Clan MacMillan Addresses Clan Cunningham Society 2003

International Clan Cunningham Gathering Balgonie Castle 2003

High Commissioners Address at Balgonie Gathering 2003

"Calasaig" Composes Music for CCSA Called "March of the Cunninghams"

Calasaig Members Played at the United Nations

Clan Cunningham Awarded Best Clan Tent

CCSA Robert Burns' Article Featured On Burke's Peerage

CCSA Newsletter Published in French



Clan Cunningham TGM meeting, May 28, 2010, in Greenville, SC

All current members of the Clan Cunningham Society of America, Inc., also conducting its international affairs as Clan Cunningham Global, are invited to attend our TGM at the Greenville Hilton on Friday, May 28, 2010 at 9:30pm in conjunction with the Greenville Scottish Games

For more information, current members can contact us at tgm@clancunninghamglobal.com.



Tartan Day activities in France and Colorado during March 2010

Our Chairman wore his kilt throughout France in honor of Tartan Day

In the tartan day spirit, which is observed in the USA on April 6, our High Commissioner skied in his kilt on the slopes of Les Menuires and Val Thorens - two ski areas - along with Meribel and Courcheval which together comprise the largest ski resort in the world, The Three Valleys in the French Alps of Haute Savoie.

The kilt was very well received by all with whom Larry and his French friends spoke that day. The English woman who snapped off this photo (below left) said she admired Larry's courage for skiing in a kilt in such terrain, or at all for that matter. Two Scots wished they had worn their kilts, with one saying he had always wanted to try it but his wife had always nixed the idea! At the highest point of this enormous resort (below right) - where Larry hoped to find a hang-glider pilot in order to hang-glide on skis again like he did at Courcheval in 1990 only this time in kilt - [no such luck] the ski party was photographed  with an observer standing in front of the DANGER AVALANCHES sign. The look on his face says it all... "What in blue blazes is that guy doing in a kilt up here for cryin' out loud?!" By coincidence, the peak between Larry and Simone forming the horizon with the sky, is Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe! (below right)

Larry, Simone, Jeannot & Jean-Claude with La Maurienne in the background.Aye laddie, a fine spring day for carving some turns and tanning the knees in the French Alps!
Simone, Marie, Jean-Claude, Jeannot, Larry and René
There's no finer way to refortify those burning thighs than over a relaxing lunch with all the fixin's from French wine and cheese through a sinfully sweet dessert. And we needed all those calories just to keep up with René (in the red sweater) who acted as our personal guide for two days. As a ski instructor at Les Menuires he knew all the terrain taking us to all the best spots, and one perhaps even too good. To cap off our first day, for our last run, he took us down the most difficult mogul run at the resort. Even lunch at Le Capricorn didn't keep the fire out of our thighs by the time we finished that run; making for a memorable end to day #1 at Les Trois Vallées!


Le Bal du Moulin Rouge in ParisThe kilt was also very well received at the Moulin Rouge for dinner and the Bal du Moulin Rouge spectacle which is not a bad way to spend a Saturday evening in Paris! The kilt wasn't enough to get an invite on stage to join in the CanCan, but it was quite a hit with the crowd outside as this photo at right was being composed. The world's most renown, and prestigious cabaret, the Moulin Rouge, has been operating now, spanning three centuries. They have a strict dress code of "elegant attire" required to dine and attend the show. The kilt is welcomed as befitting their sartorial decorum. Our Chairman was so impressed with the cuisine, the ambiance, and the spectacle, that he considers it among his favorites alongside the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, Super Bowl XXX, and Riverdance.


Clan Cunningham Director, Dr. Doris Tucker and Chairman, Larry Augsbury commemmorating Tartan Day 2010 on the slopes of Loveland Ski Resort in Colorado.Back in the USA we took to the slopes of the Loveland ski resort for the second consecutive year to celebrate Tartan Day in Colorado. Anyone with a kilt - or some tartan to wear - were invited to ski the Rocky Mountains with us. Larry brought plenty of goodies from France. Petit Basque cheese, home-made sausage, raspberries in eau de vie, French wine along with the glassware and cutlery and even a scarf commemmorating the French Olympic gold medalist from Vancouver in the Biathalon, a local from the petite village Le Bettaix at the base of Les Menuires ski resort.

Larry skied on his tiny "ski blades" (one is visible on the picnic table at left) spinning like a whirling dervish as he slowed for me to catch up!

This was so much fun that we will likely be on the slopes in kilt and tartan again next year for Tartan Day. Or, maybe we'll be in some distant exotic destination skiing, hang-gliding, or parasailing in the Pyrénées! If you have an idea for something fun to do for Tartan Day, especially if it is in some exciting location then we would like to hear from you. Maybe you'd even like to take part in the planning. If so, don't hesitate to email our Events Director if you would like to be part of the festivities!


In Colorado, US Olympic Curling Trials

What happened at the Curling tournament attended by CCSA members:


The US Olympic Curling "Rink"(means "team" in curlingspeak) will be composed of the team led by Skip: John Schuster(below, far right), Vice skip: Jason Smith, Second: Jeff Isaacson, and Lead: John Benton. The match came down to the very last stone which could have tied the match and forced a tiebreaker. Heartbreakingly, it did not make it to the house(scoring circle) and the Schuster team will be representing the USA in Vancouver, Canada in 2010. The Skip: Tyler George for the runner-up team is squatting down and second from the right in the photo below.

US Olympic Curling Trials US Olympic Curling Trials US Olympic Curling Trials

These four curlers pictured above represented the United States in the Olympic Games in Vancouver!




2009 Colorado Tartan Day CCSA Kilted/Tartan Ski Day on April 4th

Here's how our kilted skiing adventure went:

Alain Baxter training for the Olympics in his kilt!Alain's Olympic hairdoo of the Scottish Saltire Flag.Bronze Olympic Slalom medalist!

In the spirit of Alain Baxter (above), the Scot who won the Olympic bronze medal in slalom at Salt Lake City in 2002, CCSA members, guests, and anyone with a kilt - or some tartan to wear - were invited to take to the Rocky Mountain slopes. Despite an ominous weather forecast of a blizzard predicted to dump as much as two feet of snow that day, our party of four ventured forth with intrepid resolve to the Loveland ski resort at the Continental Divide! Surprisingly---no, more like shockingly, and thankfully, the interstate was practically empty. I've seen more traffic at 3:00am! And even more astonishingly, the blizzard did little more than sputter between Denver and the Eisenhower Tunnel, which expanse includes the Loveland ski resort. So, not wishing to press our luck, instead of continuing on to our original destination of Arapahoe Basin ski area, we took advantage of the benevolence of Mother Nature with a day of skiing at Loveland instead.

Well Da, shall we have a glide on those highland slopes?Aye laddie, these are some fine boards. Let's have another go Lorcàn.
Laddie, let's go look for some snow bunnies in those avalanche chutes!OK, I'll put on my bunny hunting blades. They're quicker than my skis.
Just one warm-up run to get my blade legs!
Whew! Those snow coneys are fast. Hey did you see that unicorn in the woods?Nay! I was too dizzy after that last helicopter!

So, after a few hours of skiing at treeline on the Continental Divide, the Grand Pubah less than a month from his 80th birthday went to check on the lassies of our party and enjoy some well earned après ski refreshment in the lodge. But our High Commissioner still had a few runs left in him on his classic Simms snowboard fabricated during the last millennium (the 1980s) in the early years of snowboarding with some modifications by his friend Steve Link. Steve did some of the stunt work with Tom Simms for Roger Moore in the opening scenes of the 1985 James Bond movie "A View to a Kill."

Larry Augsbury, himself, appears skiing in the opening scenes of the 1983 movie "Copper Mountain, a Club Med Experience" Jim Carrey's first film shot at the Copper Mountain ski Resort in Summit County, Colorado!

No view to a kill among this day's stunts!Dr. Doris Tucker, Larry Augsbury, Jim Augsbury and Janice Augsbury.

This was so much fun that I will be on the slopes in my kilt again next year for Tartan Day. I may very well be in the French Alps skiing with the Biasi's next April 3rd. But if so, I'll have my kilt with me! Actually, if everything comes together, I just may be guiding another Clan Cunningham sites tour of France and Ireland around that time. If so, for my next stunt, I wish to go skydiving or parasailing in my kilt. Maybe you'd like to join me in that adventure. Or perhaps you would just like to participate in our tour, but merely spectate from the safety of the ground. If so, be sure and email us if you would like to join in the festivities!



Proposed Tour of Cunningham historical sites in Ireland, France, and Scotland in 2014

By Tour Organizer, Larry Augsbury

Our Society planned another tour of Cunningham sites in France and Ireland. After two consecutive Tours and Gatherings in 2003 and 2004, taking place in the month of November, although we thoroughly enjoyed the fine late fall Scottish weather, we thought a visit to France and the Emerald Isle during a warmer month would be a pleasant change. Since my last visit on behalf of CCSA to France in 2004, and Ireland in June of 1990, I have always intended to return to rediscover and document for Clan Cunningham more previously unexplored French and Irish Cunningham sites. France and Ireland in 2009 were ideal countries around which to plan our third spectacular Clan Cunningham Society of America tour within a seven year span, drawing on our extensive experience and past success.

If you missed our previous tours, this was your chance to visit some of the highlights from our 2003 and 2004 tours, along with new sites like Slane Castle among many others.

Our tour of Clan Cunningham historical sites in France and Scotland was dependent upon the interest and participation of our membership and the general public who were also welcome. Our basic itinerary included some new discoveries! All we needed to get this tour rolling was a $200 deposit from a minimum of 12 individuals, which was refunded in full after the tour was canceled.

Belfast and Ulster:
In the North of Ireland we planned to visit Springhill House near Belfast originally settled by William Conyngham in 1680. This plantation house has been preserved with the artifacts from 300 years of Conyngham family residence there. In 1957 Captain William Lenox-Conyngham left it to the National Trust.

Other possible visits in Northern Ireland under consideration included Ulster destinations in Donegal County which is the home of the cities of NewtownCunningham and ManorCunningham founded by Cunningham brothers in the early 17th century as part of the Ulster Plantation. Also in Donegal is the quaint coastal town of Mount Charles, founded by Charles Cunningham also during the 17th century. A good spot for lunch at a seaside cafe.

Cullybackey in Northern Ireland also merits a visit, where the Cunningham Memorial Presbyterian Church and its manse were built by the Cunningham sisters in memory of their mother. Cullybackey is also the ancestral home of Chester Arthur, 21st president of the United States. The ancestral home literally stands next to the manse and is known as the Arthur Cottage.

Another option on the north coast is one of the world's most unique volcanic rock formations of symmetrically rugged columns known as the Giant's Causeway.

In Belfast there were two places under consideration for those participants who wished to explore history or do some genealogical research. The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland or PRONI is the center for genealogical studies and family records. The Ulster Scots Historical Museum houses a vast history of the Ulster-Scots as well as genealogical history and histories of families who emigrated to the USA.

Dublin and Vicinity:
We planned a visit to Slane Castle (about 25 miles northwest of Dublin in County Meath). Since 1701 Slane Castle has been the home of the Conynghams of Ireland for centuries. Headed by the 7th Marquess Conyngham, his eldest son, the Earl of Mount Charles currently occupies Slane Castle. The Conynghams of Ireland are descended from the noble Glencairn line of Scottish Cuninghames through Thomas Cuninghame the Great Uncle of the 1st Earl of Glencairn and Lord Kilmaurs of Scotland, Alexander Cunningham.

Just downstream from Slane Castle on the Boyne river is the site of the famous Battle of the Boyne. Slane Castle is located at the base of the Hill of Tara atop which is where St. Patrick lit the first paschal fire, and also the ancient meeting place of the High Kings of Ireland. Visits to these sites were under consideration.

Also under consideration and not far from Slane in the Boyne Valley is Newgrange, a stone age megalithic passage tomb that predates the pyramids and best know for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun.

A visit to Dublin itself and Trinity College there, home of the Book of Kells, was also on the itinerary. There is much history, architecture, the National Records Office, and many shops to explore. Depending on popular demand we could have experienced a uniquely Irish sporting or theatrical event, with the opportunity for participants to explore shops, pubs and the Dublin nightlife for those so inclined.

South Ireland:
The Rock of Cashel, located in the village of Cashel on the Tipperary Plain, once served as a stronghold against English invasion and as the seat for the kings of Ireland. The limestone outcropping is topped by several medieval buildings and is one of Ireland's most memorable sights.

A visit to Waterford, the oldest city in Ireland, and the home of the world renown hand-crafted cut crystal factory, by popular demand, was on the initial itinerary. We had arranged to meet, and get a tour by Roy Cunningham, a master sculptor and engraver there. Two of our participants were also planning some genealogical research there which would afford a good opportunity for the remainder of the group to shop, explore, etc...

We also considered a trip farther southwest to Cork where there are countless festivals, to Blarney Castle where we could obtain the gift of eloquent speech for the price of a kiss (on a stone!), to the breathtaking vistas all along the drive around the Ring of Kerry peninsula. And if we had some golfers along, a round of golf over the rolling hills along the beautiful coastline of the spectacular Glengarriff Golf Club which leaves a lifelong impression. I know this first-hand from my round in 1990 which I remember with fond memories. The birdie (rare for me) on the par 3 third hole made it even more memorable!

The Ireland leg of that tour was planned for 5 or 6 days. The itinerary and price to be developed when the itinerary was finalized.

This leg of the tour was being planned with a mixture of sites and activities to satisfy a diversity of interests, taking advantage of the full-color spectrum of Ireland's mid-summer palette. And France - ohh la la... what more needs to be said! We were to be incorporating the input, experiences, suggestions and requests from all of our participants as we finalized our itinerary. After all, its our members tour! We were considering booking into one central hotel, so no mid-tour packing and unpacking would be necessary. But to minimize driving times we would consider changing accomodations one to three times to minimize travel time. We would have likely rent vans with myself, and/or other volunteers as drivers. If our participation warranted it, we would have charter a bus for our transportation. I wwould guide the tour, as I did in 2003 and 2004. If you did not receive our January and April 2005 newsletters, and would like to read all about our tour of France & Scotland and Clan Gathering at Stirling Castle from 2004 and see the gallery of accompanying photographs, click on this 2004 Tour Newsletters link. While there, please scroll down to see our 2003 Memorial Dedication Ceremony, Clan Gathering at Balgonie Castle, and Tour newsletter.

As with our previous tours in 2003 and 2004, airfare and airline reservations would not be included in the tour price, unless the participation level warrants the charter of air transportation, which of course would then be incorporated into the package price.

We had begun organizing the Ireland leg of that tour. The tour would likely have cost around $200 to 250/day/person for lodging, meals, transportation, entertainment and regalia. A primary factor would have been, if, and how much the cost of a gathering at Slane would have been. Transportation was also another big factor that we hadn't finalized yet. Of course the exact dates, number of days, and itinerary were not finalized.

And neither are the plans for our proposed 2011 or 2012 tour. But exploratory inquiries have already begun for a three week, three country tour. If you are interested, We'd like to hear from you at:

CCSA Tour
4575 West 111th Avenue
Westminster, CO 80031-2025
query@clancunningham.us

We hope that you will join us for this next exciting adventure!



Clan Cunningham Historical Sites Tour 2004 in France and Scotland

culminating with the


Clan Cunningham Gathering at Stirling Castle 2004

In November 2004, we walked in the footsteps of our ancestors who over the last millennium forged the legacy of the distinguished Cunningham name that from its genesis in Scotland has spread throughout the world. For thirteen days, Clan Cunningham's kith and kin embarked on the adventure of a lifetime in France and Scotland, culminating with our International Clan Cunningham Gathering at Stirling Castle last November 28, 2004. For full details with full color images you can read our newsletters which feature our trip in depth on our Newsletter page.

Our members transcended the typical tourist experience, to participate in an event tied to history that was so removed from the era in which we live that it seemed more like fiction than fact! We dined and danced in the Great Hall of a French castle, the Château de Cherveux, at an Evening Soirée and Ceilidh organized for our visit, and hosted by the owners François and Marie-Thérèse Redien whose castle was built by a Cunningham, Captain Robert de Conyngham, over five centuries ago who served as Captain of the Scots Guard for the same French King, Charles VII, (the dauphin) whom was led to Rheims for his coronation as King of France during the 100 Years War back in the Middle Ages, by Joan of Arc!

In Scotland we spent the American Thanksgiving Day holiday as the guests of Captain Robert and Rose-Anne Cunninghame at their Caprington Castle, the ancestral seat of the Caprington branch of the Cunninghams, where we feasted on a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner Scottish style! Many of the sites we visited on this tour, like Caprington Castle, are not open to the public, but their owners graciously granted us the privilege of a memorable visit.

Our tour was organized, and led by our High Commissioner, Larry Augsbury, who studied the French language in Chambéry, France and had previously visited both the Château de Cherveux, as well as Paris many times. He visited and researched the District of Cunninghame on two previous occasions and was familiar with most of the Scottish sites we visited. He was assisted on the French tours by CCSA members François Redien and Jim Hutchison (a Scottish born resident of France, fluent in both languages.)

We explored the history of Clan Cunningham with the following itinerary

This tour was arranged by the Clan Cunningham Society of America for its members,  being all those of Cunningham descent as well as loyal supporters not of Cunningham descent, from everywhere around the world.

We enjoyed eleven nights lodging, four in France, and seven in Scotland at three star hotels; twelve breakfasts and eleven dinners, with three dinners arranged at castles either built or connected to Clan Cunningham. Transportation was provided and included in the price, from arrival at the Charled De Gaulle airport in Paris to our participants departure airport. A tour guide, driver and full itinerary was provided. Admission fees to all attractions was included in the tour price of $2,999.00. Round trip airfare was not included.

French Tour:
We spent four days and nights in France, three at the Château de Cherveux and one night in Paris. We spent Saturday evening enjoying the St. Andrew's Night Banquet and Gala at the castle that Robert de Conyngham (Captain of the Scots Guard and Captain of the King's Bodyguard for French Kings Charles VII and Louis XI, during a brilliant 30 year career [a real-life D'Artagnan!]) built in 1470 with his son Joachim.

Scotland Only Tour:
We spent seven nights at three star Scottish hotels in Glasgow, Ayr and a four star Stirling hotel, which included a Thanksgiving Day Feast at Caprington Castle. For five days we explored Clan Cunningham historical sites in the District of Cunninghame which culminated with the Clan Cunningham Gathering and Banquet at Stirling Castle. Our tour unfolded as follows:

Day 1 - Wednesday, 17-Nov-04 - Overnight Flight
This was our travel day by plane to Paris, France.

Day 2 - Thursday, 18-NOV-04 - Cherveux, France
Frances, Marie-Thérèse, Larry & Rick select their cheese choices from the fromage course of the welcome dinner.We rendezvoused at the Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday morning. After brunch, we caught the train to Poitiers. There we were met by two French CCSA members François Redien, and Scottish born Jim Hutchison, for the short journey by car to the Château de Cherveux. There we were greeted with refreshments accompanied by a warm fire in the guardhouse, where we finalized plans for our Loire Valley tour on the following morning, then settled into our rooms. We met shortly thereafter, in the renovated great hall for a splendid welcome dinner.
 

Day 3 - Friday, 19-NOV-04 - French tour
CCSA members, Larry, Jennea, François, Valerie, Frances, Rick, Sheryl, Chris, Jim & JoAnn, from France and the U.S. visit Chenonceau.Today we visited the Loire Valley. First, a visit to the beautiful château de Chenonceaux where Marie Stuart, better known as Mary Queen of Scots, spent much time at the French Court. Mary was Queen of both France and Scotland. She was a beautiful young woman and was probably the most romantic, and certainly the most tragic Scottish ruler. She was born in Scotland. Her mother was Marie de Guise of France and her father James V, king of Scotland. He died when Mary was an infant and her mother returned to France with Mary because of the turmoil in Scotland. Mary was raised in the French court and was destined to marry the young Dauphin François. He became king François II at age 15 upon the death of his father. He married Mary who was 14 and the two were devoted to each other, but sadly he only lived and reigned for a year. During this year there were plots to depose François II and the court then moved to Amboise where the plotters were taken and hundreds of them put to death while the young Queen was in residence. CCSA members at the Château de Saumur.In happier times the royals, including Mary, spent much time at the beautiful château de Chenonceau where there are references to Mary. When François died in Orleans, his mother Catherine de Medici was instrumental in having Mary returned to Scotland where she was crowned Queen. She was kept prisoner in England for years and eventually beheaded on the order of her cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England. Mary's son became the first king of Great Britain in 1603. In the Loire valley our tour offered spectacular views of magnificent castles and landscapes.

After Chenonceaux we satiated our appetites with déjeuner at the Brasserie de l’Hôtel de ville, Chez Hippeau, in Amboise, where we visited the Château d'Amboise as well as the Château du Clos Lucé, the home of Leonardo da Vinci who was brought to Amboise by the French king to start the renaissance in France. Then we drove to the châteaux of Chinon and Saumur before our return to the castle for dinner that evening.

Day 4 - Saturday, 20-NOV-04 - French tour and St. Andrew's Dinner at Château de Cherveux
Saturday morning was market day in Niort. Our visit provided a non historical truly French cultural experience. Adjacent to the market we visited the Dungeon of Niort, a fine medieval building and museum which has Cunningham connections as one of Robert de Conyngham's sons was the Captain of the Guard at the dungeon in the 15th century.

That evening was the St. Andrew Style Banquet and Gala Soirée in the Château de Cherveux Great Hall for an evening of fine dining, dancing and music with the local French and Scottish community.

Torchlit bridge entrance spanning moat to château soirée.Candlelit courtyard to château great hall and gala.

The local press covered the event and published these following articles.
French newspaper article.French newspaper article.

Following a fine dinner, was music and dancing.
Jim and Rosalie lead the dance.David and Frances Steele along with Tony and Maureen Murdoch on the dance floor.

Day 5 - Sunday, 21-NOV-04 - Paris
Eiffel Tower enchantingly alight.
Following an early breakfast and departure by train, we arrived to spend the afternoon, evening and night in Paris. Our visit included among other sites Notre Dame, the Louvre museum, the Champs Elysée, the Arc de Triumph and of course the Eiffel Tower, especially at night! (at right)

Day 6 - Monday, 22-NOV-04 - Paris or London - Travel to Glasgow's 3 Star Jury Doyle Hotel
Larry and Fran Powers as Dr. Watson and Holmes at the 221B Baker Street London museum.
On this day, our group diverged at daybreak, to regroup for supper that evening at our Glasgow hotel.
We departed Paris early in the morning for London via the Chunnel {the EuroStar high-speed train that travels under the English Channel} to explore London. Our visit included the Sherlock Holmes museum, (left)  the Hercule Poirot Flat, and many of the more historical wonders of that ancient yet cosmopolitan English capital city.

Day 7 - Tuesday, 23-NOV-04 - District of Cunninghame Historical Sites Tour - Dumbarton area
Our first day took us to the Glencairn Greit House, home of the Earls of Glencairn in Dumbarton, the oldest building in Dumbarton's Royal Burgh. Then on to Dumbarton Castle where four Cunninghams were Governors of the castle. we then visited Loch Lomond and the Cunningham Kilmaronock Castle ruins. See Jan. 15, 2005 newsletter for more details and pictures!
Glencairn Greit House visit.Jennea, Chris, Val, Sheryl, JoAnn, Alastair and Larry visit Dumbarton Castle.

Day 8 - Wednesday, 24-NOV-04 - Finlaystone area
First we visited the Kirk at Kilmacolm where many Earls of Glencairn are buried, and also the site where the feud with the Porterfields began. Then we visited Duchal House privately owned by Lord and Lady Maclay. Our next visit was to the ruins of Duchal Castle, seat of the Porterfields, that the Cunninghams set afire during the feud. Then we were off to Finlaystone guided by Chief George MacMillan to Newark Castle before a tour of Finlaystone.
Local historian Betty Main gave a splendid tour and lecture on the Kilmacolm Old Kirk in the Murray Chapel.Lord MacLay of Duchal House extended us the hospitality of a tour of the mansion and grounds followed by refreshments.CLICK HERE for a larger image of the reenactment of the burning of Duchal Castle in 1578 at the ruins which are almost totally reclaimed by the forest.
The original Finlaystone structure would have very closely resembled the current Newark Castle of today.CLICK HERE for a larger image of the Cunningham group with Chief George MacMillan in front of Finlaystone.High Commissioner, Larry Augsbury, presents Chief George MacMillan with a commemorative standard of our visit hand-made by Valerie Cunningham, along with a leather bound, hard-back, gold-foil stamped, special edition of the CCSA CLAN CUNNINGHAM ORIGINS, HERITAGE AND TRADITIONS book.

Day 9 - Thursday, 25-NOV-04 - Cunningham Castles and Thanksgiving Day Feast
Our first visit was to the restored Aiket Castle privately owned by Robert (a Montgomery descendent!) and Katrina Clow. The Cunninghams of Aiket are one of the most ancient Cunningham branches from the 13th century.
Then we visited Robertland, privately owned by Alan Burns Williamson, a Georgian style home built in 1820 which replaced the original castle built in 1597 by David Cunningham whose ancestor received a charter for the Barony in 1506. Some of the ancient castle foundation stones were still visible. The Cunninghams of Robertland were descended from Alexander Cunningham, 1st Earl of Glencairn, through his second son, William.
Owner, Robert Clow, opens the gate to welcome Rick and Jennea Augsbury to Aiket Castle.From left: Sheryl Cuningham, Chris Cunningham, Baron of Robertland: Alan Burns Williamson, and Valerie Cunningham at the garden wall made from the stones of the castle.

We then visited Caprington Castle privately owned by Captain Robert and Rose-Anne Cunningham. The Caprington branch of the Cunninghams are descended from Thomas, the younger son of William Cunningham of Kilmaurs who married the heiress of Denniston (Finlaystone). We had a light lunch, then toured the castle and grounds before feasting on a Thanksgiving Day holiday dinner. Caprington is the only ancestral Cunningham Castle in existence which is currently owned and resided in by a Cunningham. We were honored to celebrate our American holiday there.
Caprington Castle.Thanksgiving Day Feast at Caprington Castle hosted with the gracious hospitality of Captain Robert and Rose-Ann Cuninghame.

Day 10 - Friday, 26-NOV-04 - Kilmaurs and Robert Burns Country, Lodged in Ayr Kilmaurs is the original Cunningham family seat from the 12th century. The seat of power was at the "Kilmaurs Place" where still can be found the remains of the 15th century castle next to which stands the current "Place" built by the 9th Earl of Glencairn and privately owned by Martin and Mary Horner who kindly granted us a visit this morning.
CLICK HERE for a larger image of THE PLACE ruins which currently serve as a lovely veranda.Martin Horner, at left, shows us the portion of the ruins that have been restored into this lovely barrel-vaulted recreation room.

At 11am we were greeted by Mr. Jim and William Gray who opened up and guided us through the St. Maurs-Glencairn Church where exist several plaques to the Cunninghams. The vault at the back of the church was opened wherein stands the Glencairn Aisle, a momentous carved stone memorial to the 7th Earl of Glencairn's family commissioned in 1600 by James Cunningham, the 7th Earl of Glencairn. We also visited other points of interest in Kilmaurs like the Monk's Well among several others.
Sculptured mural carved in local closegrained freestone commissioned in 1600 by the 7th Earl of Glencairn, James Cunningham, of his family.Mural from a side view showing the depth of the carving being inspected by, from left, Alastair Cunningham and Jim Gray.St. Maur's-Glencairn Church showing the attached vault known as the Glencairn Aisle.

MAUCHLINE
Then we were off to Robert Burns country, to Mauchline where he wrote many of his most famous poems. We were to meet the Mauchline Burns Club for a tour of the town and its Burns facilities. Not in our wildest dreams did we envision the warm and generous welcome bestowed upon us at our arrival and throughout this most memorable visit. We were met by a welcoming committee that was led by the Mauchline Burns Club President, James Davidson, in full Highland dress. As we disembarked our vans a piper played tunes for our arrival. After greetings and introductions, we were fortunate to have Burns Club Secretary and local historian, Ian Lyell, as our guide of central Mauchline, including the Kirkyard of the Mauchline Parish Church where are buried many of the characters about whom Burns wrote in his poems during his Mauchline years like: "Master Tootie," "James Humphrey," "Daddy Auld," "Clockie Brown," "Poosie Nansie," "Godly Brydan," "Mary Morison," and "Holy Willie." The kirkyard was also the site of Burns' famous poem "The Holy Fair."

Kenny Caldwell (videographer for a Burns Club documentary on Mauchline by Being There Productions) and guide Ian Lyell at Gavin Hamilton's house.

Our tour began at the house of estate agent and lawyer, Gavin Hamilton, who was a patron and friend of Robert Burns. Our walk continued through the kirkyard and on to the Burns House Museum which is in the same building within which are the very rooms where in 1788 Robert Burns lived with his wife Jean Armour, became a father, and established himself as a poet of repute at age 27. The museum has a state-of-the-art audio-visual presentation, and also houses fine art, artifacts, exhibitions of original manuscripts and songs, and publications like an original Kilmarnock edition of Burns' first works "Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect" published on July 31, 1786, as well as the original letters to friends like Edinburgh lawyer, Alexander Cunningham.Feature article published in the local Mauchline newspaper of James Davidson and Larry Augsbury in front of the Jean Armour statue.

We then visited one of the few business in the world that manufactures curling stones. Then we strolled the short distance to the main crossroad in town called, as you may have guessed, Mauchline Cross, and to the front of the library where stands the world's first statue of the wife of Robert Burns, Jean Armour. There, a brief interview and photographs for the documentary were conducted before we accepted the kind invitation for a rest and some refreshment at Poosie Nansies, just across the street.

We gathered in an ante-room of Poosie Nansie’s with some refreshment and some Robert Burns entertainment courtesy of the Burns Club. But first, we were all treated to a Robert Burns gift box which included a 48 page book of historical photographs compiled by the Mauchline Burns Club called “Mauchline In Times Past” commemorating the bicentennial anniversary of the publication of Burns’ Kilmarnock Edition of his poems. It also included a CD-ROM with a wealth of biographies, images, video clips, poems, songs and more. We then enjoyed some Burns poetry expertly recited by Jim Shirkie and Andy Lindsay, followed by Burns songs performed by Bob Baillie, as pictured below. It was quite a spectacle to behold, in the very establishment that Robert Burns frequented himself centuries past, the very setting upon which was based his cantata "The Jolly Beggars," with unforgettable performances from Scots, native to Mauchline!
From left: Jim Shirkie recites a Burns poem for the Clan Cunningham audience, Andy Lindsay also recited several Burns poems, Bob Baillie, Bob Ramsay, and Jim Davidson, all members of the Mauchline Burns Club.From left: Andrew Lindsay, Jim Shirkie, James Davidson and Bob Baillie extend their generous hospitality in Poosie Nansies.From left: Jim Shirkie, Andy Lindsay, Bob Baillie sings Burns songs for Clan Cunningham, Bob Ramsay, and Jim Davidson, all members of the Mauchline Burns Club.

Following Bob’s stirring rendition of the Burns song “Ae Fond Kiss,” Jim Davidson took the floor and presented Larry with a Mauchline Burns Club CD of the Burns Cantana “The Jolly Beggars.” How fitting, since this famous poem, or rather drama, was based on a scene which actually took place in 1785 at Poosie Nansie’s and was witnessed by the bard himself! Jim then walked over to a painting of “The Holy Fair” hanging on the wall of Poosie Nansie’s hostelry, removed it, and presented it to Larry as a token of friendship, together with a certificate documenting the event! Larry was clearly caught off-guard by this unexpected gesture of goodwill; and with a glint (or was that a tear?) in his eye, conveyed his gratitude to Jim Davidson and the Mauchline Burns Club for the fraternal gifts.
President, Jim Davidson presented Larry Augsbury with a painting taken from the wall of Poosie Nansies, along with a certificate to document the event!The painting decorating a wall in Poosie Nansie's, entitled MAUCHLINE HOLY FAIR 1796 by local artist Charles Imnie which was removed and presented to Larry Augsbury as a token of fraternal freindship by President of the Mauchline Burns Club, Jim Davidson.Certificate of Authenticity documenting the gift of the HOLY FAIR presented to Larry from Jim.

Lunch was then ready, so we moved into an adjoining room of the hostelry for some refreshment including a bite to eat and a wee dram - following a toast to new freindships - all accompanied by poetry, music and song. A value can not be put on fond memories such as these, for they are truly priceless! Such are the memories of our experiences shared with the members of the Mauchline Burns Club and their unsurpassed hospitality. It was only fitting that we ended our visit with the Burns song “Auld Lang Syne” led by Bob Baillie.

The Burns Cottage in Alloway, Scotland.

On the journey back to our hotel, we stopped in Alloway for a brief look at the Burns Cottage, an 'auld clay biggin' built by the poet's father, William's, own hands and the birthplace of Robert Burns in the 'but' or kitchen on January 25, 1759. Then Chris, Val and Larry went for an evening stroll over and under the Brig O' Doon, and along its banks, on the lookout for any Carlins (witches) like Nannie, described in Burns' beloved poem "Tam o' Shanter" within which Tam's mare Meg looses her tail to Nannie in a narrow escape from her clutches as they crossed the river Doon in this frightful but funny tale in verse which describes the fate which awaits those who have a "wee dram" too many and are made to pay the penalty.

In the photos below, to our astonishment we did encounter an apparition which we took to be Nannie!, even though we didn't even have a "wee dram" to deserve her wrath! Nevertheless, as we passed under the Brig O’Doon, we were stopped dead in our tracks by a blinding flash of light! (below left) We scrambled about the shore, dazed and confused, trying to make sense of the chaos. Larry was dragged down to the ground from behind. He managed to break free, his jacket torn from his back. We joined hands (below right) and frantically made a break for the Doon – for it’s a universally-known fact that no diabolical power can pursue you beyond the middle of a running stream – when we were struck once again by another blinding flash of light. We made it safely to the opposite bank, scrambled into our waiting van, and off to the safety of our Ayr hotel. What a close call, and a day to remember!
Encountering the Carlin Nannie!Fleeing the Carlin Nannie!

Day 11 - Saturday, 27-NOV-04 - Bannockburn and Sauchieburn, Lodged in Stirling
We travelled to Bannockburn and Sauchieburn, the sites of epic battles. At Bannockburn, Robert the Bruce led Scotland, accompanied by several Cunninghams, against England's Edward II where Scotland won its independence. At the battle of Sauchieburn, King James III and Alexander Cunningham, 1st Earl of Glencairn, lost their lives against rebellious Scottish nobles. We toured the Heritage Center and Robert the Bruce Monument in Bannockburn and discovered the sites and history of Sauchieburn guided by Alastair of Scottish Clans and Castles Ltd., our excellent tour driver and guide to all the many historical sites we have visited.
Robert the Bruce statute with Stirling Castle in the background.Rick Augsbury donning the chain mail of a medieval knight at the Bannockburn Heritage Center.Fran Powers and Chris Cunningham at the Battle of Sauchieburn marker.

Day 12 - Sunday, 28-NOV-04 - Clan Cunningham Gathering at Stirling Castle
The Great Hall in Stirling Castle.Our Gathering festivities kicked off with a grand tour of Stirling Castle inside and out. In the Great Hall photo at left, notice the stained-glass blazon of the 3rd Earl of Glencairn, Cuthbert Cunnynghame! (Top row, second from right) Our banquet, as pictured below,Clan Cunningham Gathering 2004 at Stirling Castle Banquet. included six kinds of canapés, Scottish salmon, smoked mussels, three vegetables, and heather honey crème brulée with vanilla shortbread for dessert! After dinner we retired to the adjoining room to relax while we conducted our Clan Cunningham meeting which began with introductions around the room. High Commissioner, Larry Augsbury, and Ben Cunningham of SEGC, gave brief speeches followed by an open discussion. Then Larry recognized several members for their dedication and service to Clan Cunningham. Brian E. Cunningham of Bethesda, MD was awarded Clansman of the Year 2004. Fran Powers won the French history quiz prize of Brebis fromage & tartanFran Powers won the French history quiz and was awarded Brebis fromage from France and a tartan blanket from Stirling. blanket. pictured below  Jennea Augsbury won the Scottish history quiz and was awarded a tablecloth and napkin set with embroidered thistles from Stirling. The Clansman and Clanswoman awards were crystal coffee mugs which along with the crystal medallions, all had text etched within them commemorating the award, the event, their office as well as the etched image of the Lord Lyon certified Clan Cunningham Strap-and-Buckle Crest Badge. This identical image is etched on the plaque of the granite monument at St Cuthbert's in Edinburgh which was erected there by CCSA to honor our last Clan Chief, John Cunningham, 15th Earl of Glencairn.  

Following the awards, a Feast of Lights and Carols program was conducted by Earl and Geri Cunningham and Mneesha Gellman to ring in the holiday season. Earl Cunningham distributed a twenty page program of holiday carols and led the gathering in song. Our final song was, of course, Auld Lang Syne followed by this group photo of our memorable Clan Cunningham International Gathering 2004 at Stirling Castle!
Clan Cunningham Gathering at Stirling Castle 2004.

Day 13 - Monday, 29-NOV-04 - Travel to airports for return flight home
The farewell breakfast was held at the Highland hotel, after which we went our separate ways. Some of us spent an additional few days touring the Highlands and Edinburgh.


What an experience!

We hope you will join us for the fun and adventure on our next
exclusive Clan Cunningham tour and Gathering in Ireland in 2011/2012!



Saint Andrews Night, Château de Cherveux 2003


Cherveux, France


Château de Cherveux, still with moat, built
by Robert de Conyngham c. 1470

 

On November 21st  2003, Clan Cunningham Society of America took part in the St. Andrews Night Banquet and Ball, held at the Château de Cherveux in France. It was a particularly auspicious occasion for CCSA since the château was originally a castle built by Robert de Conyngham, Captain of the Scots Guard and King's bodyguard for the French Kings Charles VII and Louis XI.  The current owners and CCSA members  François and Marie-Thérèse Redien hosted the event. Other CCSA members in attendance were Jim and Julie Hutchinson, Fran Powers, Dawn Augsbury,  Cheryl Marshall, and Clan Cunningham Society of America's High Commissioner,  Larry Augsbury.
 
About 50 guests came to the event, including the current Mayor of the town of Cherveux, Georges Lair.  François Redien served as mayor of the town for 12 years. Other attendees included the former French Ambassador to the U.S., Jean Debenest; author and historian of the Middle Ages Philippe Contamine; president of "des Mainsons Paysannes" of Deux-Sevres, Madeline Auderbrand; President of the "société
d'assurance Groupama" of Deux-Sèvres, Joseph Godet; Marc Thebault, Municipal Councilor of Niort and Parliamentary Attaché of Senator André Dulait; and the Vice-President of the Conseil Général des Deux-Sèvres and Mayor of Saint -Maixent, Léopold Moreau.  

 
Larry Augsbury presents François Redien with the CCSA
published hard-bound French translation of the
Clan Cunningham "Origins, Heritage & Traditions" book. 
 
It was a captivating evening with excellent Scottish cuisine, consisting of:
 
Cockaleekie Soup
Smoked Scottish Salmon
Wild Boar Filet
Scottish and French cheeses
Cranachan dessert
 

Two local French newspapers published an article on the event, making mention of Clan Cunningham's connection with the builder of the castle 533 years earlier, Robert de Conyngham.  Three toasts were given. Tony Murdock toasted Saint Andrews, François Redien toasted the "Auld Alliance" between Scotland and France, and Larry Augsbury toasted the history and strong relationship between Scotland, France, and Scottish Americans.  Dinner and dancing followed into the wee hours.


From left Julie Hutchison,
Larry Augsbury, François Redien
and Jeanne Debenest, former
French Ambassador to the U.S.

The Château de Cherveux rents rooms like a bed and breakfast. To find out more about making a reservation, go to the Château de Cherveux web site. For more information about Clan Cunningham's connection to the Château de Cherveux, please visit our Cunningham Castles page.

 


John Cunningham, 15th Earl of Glencairn
Memorial Dedication Ceremony 2003


St. Cuthbert's Church, Edinburgh, Scotland


(Left) Frances Powers, High Commissioner-Larry Augsbury, Dawn Augsbury
(Center) Reverend Cuthell performs the Memorial blessing service
(Right) Lord Lyon Robin Blair and Edinburgh City Councillor Bill Cunningham.


Lord Lyon Robin Blair inspects the new Memorial

On Tuesday, November 25, 2003, Clan Cunningham Society of America dedicated a granite memorial plaque at St. Cuthbert's Churchyard in Edinburgh.

The Memorial was dedicated in honor of the last Earl of Glencairn, John Cunningham, who died on September 29th, 1796. John Cunningham was the last Chief of Clan Cunningham. When it was discovered that his original tombstone was inexplicably missing from the wall behind his grave, CCSA designed, commissioned and had the Memorial erected, creating a focal point from which Clan Cunningham can look to on its journey to rise and reclaim its rightful place among the contemporary clans of Scotland.

Memorial artist Roger Seal of Denver, CO, was commissioned to carve the Glencairn Arms, which was in turn commissioned from the Lord Lyon King of Arms, specifically for the monument. For those able to go to Edinburgh, we encourage you to visit monument. The church is located just below Edinburgh Castle, adjacent to the Princess Gardens.

 
The Dedication Ceremony proceedings were as follows:
Pipers Lament 'Mist Covered Mountains of Home' by Piper Keith Easdale.

Opening Comments and Introductions by Moderator, Larry Augsbury, Clan Cunningham Society of America's High Commissioner.

'Malcolm's Ride' An epic ballad whose music and lyrics are written by CCSA member Alison Bucklin about the origins of the Cunningham motto and shake-fork charge on the Glencairn Arms.
Performed by the internationally acclaimed Celtic group "Calasaig" (Keith Johnston, Kirsten Easdale, Keith Easdale, Celine Donoghue and Andy Webster).


Honored Guest's Address
Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland, Right Honorable Robin Blair, LVO, WS.
Read the Lord Lyon's speech here.
 
Honored Guest's Address Clan Chief George MacMillan of MacMillan and Knap of Finlaystone(former seat of Clan Cunningham.) Read Chief George MacMillan's speech here.

Speaker Edinburgh City Councilor, Bill Cunningham, Holyrood Ward.

Moderator's Address High Commissioner, Larry Augsbury, Clan Cunningham Society of America.

Recitation of the Robert Burn's Poem "Lament For James, Earl of Glencairn"  read by CCSA member James Hutchison.
 
Procession to Gravesite and Memorial for John, Earl of Glencairn. Procession piped to the tune 'March of the Cunninghams.'

Piper's Lament 'Sleep Dearie Sleep.'
 
Blessing of Memorial Blessing performed by Reverend T.C. Cuthell of St. Cuthbert's Parish Church.
 

Civic Reception, Hosted by the City of Edinburgh, Usher Hall Music performed by Calasaig.
 


Keith Easdale leading procession to the tune
'March of the Cunninghams'


(Left to Right), Jim Cunningham, Julie Hutchison
Lord Lyon and Larry Augsbury


High Commissioner Larry Augsbury
shakes hands with the Lord Lyon




St. Cuthbert's Church, Edinburgh, Scotland

The following speech given at the Memorial Dedication Ceremony by Lord Lyon, King of Arms of Scotland, Right Honourable Robin Blair, LVO WS on November 25, 2003.


"Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
We are here today on an important day for Clan Cunningham. 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, but that is not the same as having a chief.
 
Of course there are a large number of other clans who do not have a chief at present. Any such clan has the disadvantage of not having a clear leader about whom the members of the clan can rally.  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.
 
I wish you well at your International Gathering. What you are doing today is creating in Scotland a physical focus at the grave of the last clan chief. That will be a valuable point of reference for the future. It was for these reasons that I welcomed the initiative that Mr. Augsbury proposed when he wrote to me in August of last year, asking for my views on the possibility of having this memorial created which is being dedicated today.  I am very pleased indeed that this initiative has come to fruition.
 
The title Earl of Glencairn is very ancient, dating from 1488, but we know very little about John Cunningham, the fourteenth Earl.  We know that he was born on the 17th of May 1750.  As a young man he enjoyed the social life of an officer of the 14th Regiment of Dragoons. There is no record that he saw active service.  He then took holy orders in the Church of England, but again there is no record of his having taken up a position within a parish of the Church of England. I was in contact with a repository of historical information about all ordained ministers in the Church of England, but they were unable to tell me of any parish where the Reverend Cunningham had served.
 
He was married to Isabella Erskine, daughter of the Earl of Buchan. He died in Coates in West Edinburgh, which had been the Glencairn home for many years on the 24th of September 1796.  He and his wife had no children.
 
John Cunningham was somewhat eccentric and had a mind full of fantasies.  He is said to have been the author of a drama in twenty-five acts, which was performed in Aberdeen.  The play opens with Adam and Eve stark naked.  So, it must have been something to remember.  After his death, no relative was found who inherit the Earldom and the chiefship of the clan.
 
Despite the scarcity of our knowledge about him, it is good that this memorial has been created as a permanent reminder of the life of this gentleman and his importance to clan Cunningham. I am most grateful to you for inviting me to make these remarks and for being here on this important occasion."



Clan Chief George MacMillan of MacMillan and Knap of Finlaystone, former seat of Clan Cunningham, addresses "the opportunistic" Cunninghams.

"I think my brief is to talk about the Cunninghams and Finlaystone, which is where I live.  It is a house now, but was once a castle on the banks of the Clyde

The Cunningham connection with Finlaystone is of course peripheral to grand history of the Cunningham clan. It was only one of many houses they owned and occupied at various times. I think the normal plan was to go around to your various houses eating up the rent. Finlaystone was regarded as one of the main ones.
 
I regret to tell you the Cunninghams were what we might call opportunists. In the west of Scotland the word "Chancellor" is often used for people who see an opportunity and take advantage of it.  The two ways they did this was first by marriage, and the other one of course was by force of arms.  I think on the whole they were more successful with their marriages, but they did occasionally venture into Scottish history at crucial moments and were extremely important in their field.
 
Who am I to talk about Chancellors because my father was a soldier and he gained Finlaystone by marriage, so I am very much in the Cunningham family. The first Cunningham was William, who got it in 1404 from the Danzielstone or Danielstoun family, who must have owned vast tracks of Scotland, and who in fact had two castles, almost adjacent. One was called Finlaystone and the other was called "Nether Finlaystone," which is only about four miles away and is still more or less in its original form. So, when you come over to our side of the world, if you would like to go down to Nether Finlaystone, which is now called Newark castle, you will see what Finlaystone might have been like in the 15th Century.
 
Jane and I were in Machu Picchu not very long ago and we were very surprised to find that the great stones of Machu Picchu were only put in place about the same time Finlaystone and Nether Finlaystone were being built.  There is sort of a historical perspective there to be born in mind.
 
I will not go through all the Earls because there are far too many of them, but one is quite worth touching on.  We who live in Finlaystone always regard James, the patron of Burns as the Fourteenth Earl and John as the Fifteenth, and we recognize there is quite a bit of blather about all that. I think it happened very early on because rather sadly the first Earl, Alexander, was killed very soon after he was created Earl at the battle of Sauchieburn. Unfortunately, he was on the losing side.  He had been badly wounded. [The battle was between James III and James IV of Scotland, and pitted] father against son. The father lost. The son became James IV and deprived Alexander's son of his title, the Earl of Glencairn. I think it was from this that the numbering became so disjointed.
 
What is terribly more interesting than the numbers are the characters themselves.  On the whole, it is the odd numbered Earls that seem to feature most prominently. The Fifth Earl I suppose you could call him the patron of John Knox. In 1556 John Knox visited Finlaystone and held the first formal communion in Western Scotland.  That was a pretty bold thing to do at the time for the times were very tumultuous. One of Knox's predecessors had been slaughtered. I think the Earl took rather good care to get a few other Earls involved. Certainly one was of close relation by marriage, the Earl of Arran. 
 
Just an illustration of how precarious things were, it was not very long before this that the Earl's father had been at odds with the Earl of Arran, and it sort of surprised everybody that Alexander actually married the Earl of Arran's daughter.  The marriage was one example of many where a marriage was the cement joining the grand families of Scotland together. The Earls through marriage acquired enormous parcels of land. That was an example of how quickly they could change their allegiance, from hatred to marriage, and sometimes the other way around.
 
Another good example of that was perhaps the most favorable of all, the Seventh Earl of Glencairn.  He took part in a rather peculiar skirmish in Kilbarchan, which is a small village just to the south of Finlaystone, and was in fact took place at the parish church.
 
It was a rift involving the property of a Finlaystone neighbor, Mr. Porterfield.  The Porterfields were a powerful lowland clan, and unfortunately for the Cunninghams, Mr. Porterfield failed to pay his rent. This I regret to say resulted in a skirmish, beginning in the churchyard of Kilbarchan parish church just after Sunday worship. Sadly, the Cunninghams had to run for it, about three miles, mainly up hill to Finlaystone.  They managed to get home and barricade themselves in.  But they were never terribly fond of the Porterfields and smarted over this skirmish and they ransacked the Porterfield's stronghold Duchal House.  It was not too long after that, so the story goes, that the same James was caught in a very bad storm not very far from Duchal and knocked at door asking for refuge from the storm, which the Porterfield very generously gave him. So, you just never really knew where you were with anyone at all at any time.
 
A final story about James is rather ironic in a way because if you walk around Edinburgh, you will find opposite one another the Glencairn pursuivant and the Eglinton pursuivant (coat of arms).
 
The Cunninghams were the Earls of Glencairn and the Montgomeries were the Earls of Eglinton in Ayrshire.  They had a rather long running dispute, a rather curious one that may appeal to the Lord Lyon. He probably knows about this anyway. A small landed Earl had a right to dispense justice in that area of Scotland. The Cunninghams it seemed were prepared to stop at nothing to gain this privilege. They actually murdered one of the Earls of Eglinton, Fat Hugh he was called. I am sure the fat part was a bit of spin to show how unworthy he was to sit on the bench.
 
Anyhow, he was murdered. James originally disclaimed any knowledge of the conspiracy, but there is no smoke without fire, as they say. So there was conflagration and marriage, and this went on through the next two or three centuries.  The 9th Earl is a very crucial one. He may well figure as the eighth in your history. He had a most difficult time because he was living during the time of the English Civil War.  Things were complicated enough in England, but in Scotland, they were almost impossible because the church was involved in it.  The Glencairns, as you have may have realized by now were very generally speaking on the side of the Presbyterians, with John Knox and his side.  The king, unfortunately, was on the rather High Anglican side.
 
Added to that, the ninth Earl wanted to support the church, but he also wanted to support the king because he thought it might suit him quite well. Besides that, the Earl of Argyll, whom everyone hated, decided to change sides halfway through, so everyone else had to change sides too.  So, it was quite impossible to sort out who was on which side. The upshot of it was that the 9th Earl got himself locked up in Edinburgh Castle right at the end of the Times of Trouble and was in fact due for an untimely death when the bell rang and Charles the II was restored to the throne and out he (9th Earl) popped and became Lord High Chancellor of Scotland.
 
That was not quite the end of the story because he was then given the job of ousting Presbyterians, which he did not find very tasteful. It is said on his deathbed, after a somewhat dubious sexual life, he offered to let some Presbyterians in to see him off to the next life, which prompted someone to say, "a Scotsman, whatever he is during most of his life, is usually discovered to be a Presbyterian in the end." He found himself buried in St. Giles Cathedral, just up the hill there. Actually, forgive me if you will, under the car park outside.
 
May I just finish by thanking the opportunistic Cunninghams for their gracious hospitality, from one opportunist to another.  Thank you very much."


Clan Cunningham Gathering 2003 at Balgonie Castle

Kingdom of Fife, Scotland

FIRST CLAN CUNNINGHAM GATHERING IN OVER 250 YEARS!



The new British Society For the Earl of Glencairn of Cunningham (SEGC) organized a Thanksgiving Day feast with Clan Cunningham Society of America. According to William Cunningham of Dunfermline, it was the first Clan Cunningham Gathering in over 250 years.

Both societies met at Balgonie Castle in the heart of the Kingdom of Fife. The Gathering was well represented by eighteen members of the Clan Cunningham Society of America, hailing from the USA, France, and Scotland, along with thirteen members of the Society of the Earl of Glencairn. The head of the SEGC, Ben Cunningham, planned and coordinated the event. The Laird of Balgonie and his son, Balgonie the Younger, gave their guests a tour before the feast in the castle's Great Hall.

For those who attended, it was a magical affair, and all were aware of the great significance of the event. The legacy of the Cunningham Clan can be found throughout Scotland, even at Balgonie Castle, where the Cunningham shield and shakefork charge was prominently painted in the Great Hall. Following toasts to the great past and future of the Clan, both groups moved to the castle's chapel, where a presentation of awards was given by both CCSA and SEGC.

A basket-hilt sword was awarded to CCSA member Frances Powers for first place in the contest on Scottish history. A sword was also given to the other CCSA runners up in the contest, Daniel and Christine Cunningham, and Alva Shoemaker.

Ben Cunningham of SEGC also presented the Laird of Balgonie with a sword in honor of his hospitality. SEGC's Preceptor's award was presented to Larry Augsbury for his service to Clan Cunningham.



Ben Cunningham & Laird Balgonie
in Great Hall.



Frances Powers with
first prize sword.


Ben Cunningham addresses
gathering before feast.



Clan Cunningham shakefork shield
painted on the ceiling in Balgonie Castle.



François Redien, Julie Hutchison and
Marie-Thérèse Redien are part of
Steve Lindsay's magic tricks.


François is singled-out by
magician Steve Lindsey.


Bill and Alec Cunningham
and Alva Shoemaker.


Weatherproof Cunninghams brave
the rain with alacrity atop tower
at the ruins of St Andrews Castle.

 

The evening's Balgonie festivities concluded back in the Great Hall with entertainment provided by the Piper Leslie MacKinay, Magician Steve Lindsay and Highland Dancers Claire and Melonie Reekie. On Friday, the group spent the day touring Edinburgh, visiting Edinburgh Castle, a woolen mill, and ending with a dinner that included Haggis at MacGregors on the Royal Mile. 
 
The following day the Cunninghams visited St. Andrews, touring the sites within the town. CCSA offers a special thanks to Ben Cunningham and the Society of the Earl of Glencairn of Cunningham for organizing the Gathering and tour.





Kingdom of Fife, Scotland



High Commissioner's Address on the Past, Present, and Future of Clan Cunningham

Following the awards, the SEGC Preceptor's Address focused on the theme of need for 2004. The CCSA High Commissioner's Address touched on the past, present and future of Clan Cunningham and CCSA, and awarded our Society's Clansman and Clanswoman of the year award. That address follows:

"Greetings Cunningham Clansmen, and Clanswomen, and distinguished guests. I am Larry Augsbury, the High Commissioner of the Clan Cunningham Society of America, also referred to by the acronym CCSA. We were formed in 1984 to preserve, promote and share our Cunningham heritage with our fellow Americans and the world. From the beginning, we have sought to share our heritage with our members, and the general public, both at home and abroad. We have collaborated with Scots to write two books. The first book sought to compile and condense all the Cunningham history available to us from many sources into one comprehensive and concise text from which interested readers could catch a glimpse of the origins, the heritage and the traditions of the noble Scottish Cunningham family and its kith and kin. The second book is a travel guide on the known historical Clan Cunningham sites in Scotland and Ireland. I say known, because the more we communicate and search, the more that is discovered and revealed.

In fact, the next edition of our travel book will include the addition of historical sites in France. You see, last January we were not even aware of the existence of the Château de Cherveux; of Robert de Conyngham, nor the role he played in the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France, nor his role as a Captain of the Scots Guard for French King Charles VII, who was several years earlier the Dauphin who was led to his coronation by Joan of Arc; nor were we aware that Robert de Conyngham was Captain of the King's Bodyguard for French King Louis XI, Charles VII's successor. Indeed, so highly esteemed was the Cunningham name, that on April 15, 1456, King James II of Scotland wrote a letter on behalf of Robert de Conyngham to the French King, Charles VII. We have added a new chapter to the third edition of our Clan Cunningham Origins, Heritage and Traditions book to accommodate the wealth of new information sent to us by our first French members, François and Marie-Thérèse Rédièn, who are here with us today, the owners and residents of the Chãteau de Cherveux, which was built by Robert de Conyngham and his son Joachim, 533 years ago, in 1470. In fact, just last week, Clan Cunningham Society of America presented the Rediens with a hard-back, leather-bound, foil-stamped special third edition of our Origins book, translated into French, to share our Cunningham roots with our French friends and our allies of the past and the present.

During the past three decades, CCSA has been a repository for the data our officers have researched and collected, and the information our members have submitted. We have published a newsletter from the beginning, to share that information with our members; and since the new millennium, we have been able to reach even more Cunninghams through our web sites. For example, we received an email last July, from Mr. Mark Usher after having read about our Memorial Dedication Ceremony on the internet. He noted that the City of Edinburgh was hosting a Civic Reception at Usher Hall for the Cunninghams, following the dedication. He was kind enough to reveal to us another Cunningham connection about which we were unfamiliar. It seems that Usher Hall was dedicated to the City of Edinburgh by Andrew Usher, who's daughter Elizabeth, married a Cunningham named St. Clair Cunningham in 1885. St. Clair Cunningham was the son of Jane MacLachlan and James Cuthbertson Cunningham, a chemical manure manufacturer of Edinburgh. So, if something I say doesn't seem to pass the sniff test .... Well, perhaps it runs in the family!

CCSA has strived to preserve the memory of Clan Cunningham from its very inception. Shortly after forming, we presented the owners and residents of Finlaystone with a plaque of the Glencairn Arms.

This plaque was hanging on the wall above the fireplace in a room at Finlaystone when I visited the estate in May of 2000. Two days ago, we dedicated the granite tombstone upon which we had carved the Glencairn Arms and had placed at St Cuthbert's Churchyard to restore the honor and dignity of the unmarked resting place of the last Clan Cunningham Chief and 15th Earl of Glencairn, John Cunningham. We do this work, because the legacy of the noble line of Cunninghams is worthy of preserving. It reminds us of the virtues of loyalty, courage, prudence, constancy and others that served our ancestors well as leaders and advisors to the monarchs of Scotland for centuries.

Last Tuesday at John Cunningham, the 15th Earl of Glencairn's memorial dedication ceremony, you heard me mention very briefly some of the distinguished Cunninghams of the noble line. There I referred to John as the 14th Earl of Glencairn, out of deference and respect for the Lord Lyon King of Arms whose office recognizes him as such. But many other historians, genealogists and institutions refer to him as the 15th Earl, as does Chief George MacMillan. I think a brief explanation is fitting at this time. The discrepancy in the numbering of the Earls goes back to Sir Alexander, Lord Cunningham of Kilmaurs, the 1st Earl of Glencairn, who died at the Battle of Sauchieburn, merely 14 days after receiving the title and rank of Earl, which automatically devolves to his heir, and so on in perpetuity. King James III, who bestowed these honors on Sir Alexander, was also killed there. And, among the rebellious nobles on the winning side of that battle, was the slain King's son, the future King James IV, who later proclaimed at Scone that all dignities granted by his father after February 2, 1487 were annulled, which was later ratified by Parliament in October 1488, known as the 'Act Recissory.'  The problem is that Sir Alexander was advanced to the dignity of the 1st Earl after the stipulated February 2, 1487 date. Nevertheless, his title was never recognized as annulled. His son Robert, however, had his inherited title annulled, even though he had held it for 127 day, far longer than the 15 days his father Sir Alexander had held it.

The irony is that Robert's son, Cuthbert Cunningham, like his grandfather Sir Alexander the 1st Earl, was a valiant warrior who made his services available to King James IV, who despite annulling Cuthbert's father's title himself, reinstated it upon Cuthbert, 15 years later at his wedding ceremony to the daughter of the English King Henry VII. Because of the contradictions of these events, coupled with the fact that the 1st Earl's title was never annulled, even thought it fell within the period of the annulment, a great many academics, books, and institutions, ignore the Act Recissory and recognize Robert as the 2nd Earl and so on. CCSA had written the previous Lord Lyon, Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight about this matter.  His response, was that the matter may be addressed in the future, at which time when the rightful claimant to the Earldom came forth and was determined as such. There the matter rests.

We have worked very closely with the current Lord Lyon, Robin Blair, throughout our memorial restoration project, commissioning from his office the certified renderings of the Glencairn Arms, and the Cunningham Strap-and-Buckle Crest Badge, whose images adorn our Chief's gravesite. We also solicited the Lyons advise and permission on our last Earl's epitaph and monument design. Ultimately, we hope to someday witness, and play a part if necessary, in the restoration of the rightful Chief of Clan Cunningham.


I have touched briefly on some topics resulting from our past history, and now, I would like to attend to some CCSA business stemming from more current events. As an all volunteer organization, it is an ongoing challenge to meet the demands of managing our active society, in a timely and responsive manner, with the level of service and quality that our members deserve, and to meet the standard of excellence which is the legacy left to us by the centuries of exemplary service to God, country, and kin, by our dignified ancestors, the Earls of Glencairn, and their forefathers before them. This challenge is met by dedicated Cunninghams who invest their invaluable time to discover their rich heritage and share it with their extended Cunningham family world-wide. Unfortunately, CCSA can not grant lands, or bestow titles of great power and wealth upon those whose loyalty and commitment serve our Clan and our society with distinction. But as High Commissioner of the Clan Cunningham Society of America, I shall publicly recognize two members here today, at our International Clan Cunningham Gathering at Balgonie Castle as Clan Cunningham's Clansman and Clanswoman of the Year 2003.

For the past two years, our Clanswoman of the Year has devoted her time and efforts as the co-host of one of the foremost and prestigious Scottish Festivals and Highland Games in America at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. She has also co-hosted the Foothills Highland Games in Hendersonville, North Carolina and volunteered to help host others, like the renowned Stone Mountain Games in Georgia. She has contributed to our quarterly newsletter, the Cunningham Communiquè and has designed, funded and created a variety of beautiful banners and standards for Clan Cunningham as well as assisted with our fund-raising efforts. Her munificent donation to the Earls tombstone fund also helped bring that monument from an idea, to a strategic plan objective of CCSA's board of directors, to its final destination at the grave of our last Chief, the right honourable and right reverend John Cunningham, Earl of Glencairn. Frances Powers, would you please come and receive this token of our Society's appreciation for your devoted service to Clan Cunningham?

All organizations face difficult choices and must cope with change in order to grow, prosper and continue to deliver the services for which it was created. Clan Cunningham Society of America is an all volunteer, non-profit institution formed for the purpose to discover, promote and share our history and traditions in order to educate, inform and increase our membership so that we may encourage and inspire participation in, enhancement of, and most importantly, enjoyment of our common heritage for present and future generations. In April of 2002, following inactivity and management setbacks, CCSA underwent a reorganization to reestablish our commitment and service to our society and its members. At that pivotal time, our Clansman of the Year for 2003 answered the call and was appointed the Southern Regional Commissioner and took a seat on our Board of Directors. He has hosted numerous Clan Cunningham Hospitality Tents at many Scottish festivals in the southern United States for the past two years. He has researched and written many articles which have been published in our quarterly newsletter. He volunteered to take the lead on developing and launching our new web site on the internet, which has been a smashing success. He continues to lead the effort in implementing new features there, that will enable our members to access our genealogical database, among other innovations. William Alexander Cunningham V, known to us as Alec, would you please come and receive this token of our Society's appreciation for your loyalty, commitment, and dedicated service to Clan Cunningham?

Those mugs have etched upon them, their names, their award, and the Lord Lyon commissioned and certified rendering of the Clan Cunningham Strap-and-Buckle Crest Badge, the same image as that at the Earl's monument which was etched by the same artist, R. Adrian Dudley who did the engraving on John Cunningham's memorial and the Clansmen Acknowledgment Plaque.

There is much more for us to do on behalf of Clan Cunningham. Whatever we accomplish, at whatever pace it is achieved, depends on all of you. Just a few years ago, I decided to volunteer some of my time to Clan Cunningham. I was astonished by how much I enjoyed my involvement, which started out slowly and steadily grew.  Early on, I thought I was too busy to volunteer. But as I began to interact within our society, within our Cunningham Clan, and within the Scottish Community at large, many lasting friendships have developed. As I continue to learn about our heritage, and continue to meet fascinating people from around the world, I realize that Clan Cunningham is so much more than just an amusing distraction, a pastime, or a hobby. It is my extended family. As such, I look forward with pleasant anticipation to future collaboration with the Society of the Earl of Glencairn of Cunningham, who have done a brilliant job of organizing this Gathering. I'd like to thank François and Marie-Thérèse Rédièn for the marvelous St Andrew Soirée at the Château de Cherveux, and Jim and Julie Hutchison for their generous hospitality and participation. I look forward with eager anticipation to a future of interacting with the members of our global and united Cunningham family, and dare I hope, under the direction of our next rightful and recognized Clan Chief. And, I am especially delighted to share the pleasure of the company of all of you here at Balgonie Castle for this International Clan Cunningham Gathering 2003. Thank You."

 
 



At the Memorial Dedication Ceremony on November 25, 2003, 'Malcolm's Ride,' was performed by the internationally acclaimed Celtic group "CALASAIG" (Keith Johnston, Kirsten Easdale, Keith Easdale, Celine Donoghue and Andy Webster).  The song, written by a Clan Cunningham member, was played for an audience of Clan Cunningham Society of America members and representatives from the newly formed British Society For the Earl of Glencairn.  The honored guest at this performance was the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland, Right Honorable Robin Blair, LVO, WS. 'Malcolm's Ride,' is a ballad about the origins of the Cunningham Motto and Shake-Fork Charge on the Glencairn Arms. During the procession to the gravesite of the Last Earl of Glencairn, John Cunningham, Keith Easdale of Calasaig piped the music he composed especially for the occasion, "March of the Cunninghams."


 

 
the best, young multi instrumental band in Scotland" 
The List
 
"Calasaig establishes a place as an
excellent interpreter of Scottish music"
Dirty Linen




Glasgow traditional music duo, Celine Donoghue & Keith Easdale travelled to New York in January of 2003 to play for the inaugural  "Robert Burns Memorial Lecture" at The United Nations. The theme of the lecture, which is to be delivered by The United Nations secretary General Kofi Annan, will be "State of the World and Brotherhood of Man."


Keith  Easdale was piper at the November 25, 2003 memorial dedication ceremony for John Cunningham, the Last Earl of Glencairn.  Keith and Celine's band Calasaig performed the ballad of  "Malcolm's Ride," recounting the origins of the motto and shake-fork charge of the Glencairn Arms. 

Celine, who was the recent recipient of the "Auleen Theriault Award" in Ontario, Canada, & producer and session musician Keith, are no strangers to playing for VIPs (between them they have also performed in front of Jean Chretien, the Prime minister of Canada, Princess Anne, The Lord Lyon, and The British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Roderic Lyne).

Profits from the Memorial lecture, to be attended by specially invited guests, will enable more Scottish volunteers to undertake  "British Executive Service Overseas" assignments in the developing world, "Something that Robert Burns would have endorsed," says Iain McConnell, Director of BESO Scotland, and a former broadcaster and producer.

"His vision of the brotherhood of man is more appropriate today than ever and this new lecture will enable us to focus on the progress we have made since Burns's time" he concluded.

Iain has been working closely with the retired UK Ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, on establishing the event.

Twenty year old Celine has already recorded a solo album  entitled "Something Else" out on the REL label.  Both she and Keith had a hectic schedule during January and February.  As well as their UN date, they performed at 5 concerts during Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, before heading off on 2 tours in Holland & Belgium with their band, Calasaig.

The duo also performed at the Celtic Connections Young Tradition Concert in the Piping Centre in Glasgow on 1 February 2003.


www.rowanarts.co.uk/Calasaig/celine.html

www.rowanarts.co.uk/Calasaig/keitheasdale.html




 

Clan Cunningham Society of America was awarded on August 10, the Best Clan Tent at the 40th Annual 2003 Colorado Scottish Festival & Rocky Mountain Highland Games in Highlands Ranch, CO among 54 Scottish Clans represented. Pictured below is Larry Augsbury, accepting the award presented by the St. Andrews Society of Colorado.



 





Burke's Peerage and Gentry's web site is publishing a spotlight on Robert Burns, along with the wealth of genealogical and historical information that can be found there. Clan Cunningham Society of America has submitted an article that is being featured there.  




 

Our newsletter has made its debut for the first time in a non-English language! Two of our January 15, 2003 newsletters, translated into French, were posted to addresses in France to prospective members there. There was a strong allegiance between France and Scotland for many centuries. CCSA is currently researching this connection and has plans to add a new chapter devoted to it in the next edition of our "Clan Cunningham, Origins, Heritage and Traditions" publication that will be offered soon in a special edition translated into French!

Notre bulletin a fait son début pour la premiére fois dans une langue non-Anglaise! Deux de notre janvier de 15, 2003 bulletins, traduits en Français, ont étésignalés aux adresses en France aux membres éventuels là . Il y avait une allégeance forte entre la France et l'Ecosse pendant beaucoup de siècles. CCSA actuellement recherche ce raccordement et a des plans pour ajouter un nouveau chapitré consacré à  lui dans la prochaine édition de notre publication de "Clan Cunningham, d'Origines, d'Héritage et de Traditions", qui sera offerte bientô t dans une édition spéciale, traduite en Français!




We welcome Cunninghams world-wide to join together with our 1,100 members in the celebration of our distinguished Cunningham heritage within our society or at a Clan Cunningham Society hospitality tent at a Scottish/Irish/Celtic festival in your area. Please feel free to send us your feedback at query@clancunningham.us. We encourage you to get involved and welcome your support.


      Back to top of page

       
      © 2003 Clan Cunningham Society of America, Inc. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, for any Personal or Commercial use without the expressed written permission of Larry A. Augsbury, High Commissioner & Chairman of the Clan Cunningham Society, Inc.