William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn

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William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn

Also Known As: "William Cuninghame", "William Cunynghame"
Birthplace: Glencairn, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Death: Died in Glencairn, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Cuthbert Cunningham, 3rd Earl of Glencairn and Marion Douglas of Angus
Husband of Catherine Borthwick and Elizabeth Campbell
Father of Andrew Cuninghame; Alexander Cunninghame, 5th Earl of Glencairn; William Cunningham, Bishop of Argyll; Hugh Cunningham, 1st Earl of Carlung; Robert Cunningham, Laird of Mountgreenan and 4 others
Brother of Alexander Cunningham and Margaret Cunningham
Half brother of Alexander Dunlop, 10th of that Ilk

Occupation: Earl 4 of Glencairn
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn

William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn; born about 1493;He was the son of Cuthbert Cuninghame, 3rd Earl of Glencairn and Lady Marion Douglas.2 He married (1) before 10 Jul 1509 to Katherine Borthwick (died after 17 Jan 1527/28), daughter of William, 3rd Lord Borthwick; married (2) after Jan 1535/36 to Margaret or Elizabeth Campbell, daughter of John of West Loudoun and/or Stephenson. William died in Mar 1547/48.

William was knighted before 10 July 1509. He was High Treasurer of Scotland in 1526 and went on an embassy to France in 1538. He was taken prisoner by the English after the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss in late 1542, but was ransomed for £1000. In 1543, William was appointed plenipotentiary to negotiate a peace with England, and he became a promoter of English interests in Scotland and received a pension from the English. He was defeated by the Earl of Arran in 1544 and had to flee to England with his eldest son. Nevertheless, he deserted the English cause in autumn 1544 (the English Lord Chancellor complained of the deceit of 'the old fox and his cub'). The Scottish Parliament granted his a remission from all his treasons at the end of 1544, and he became a Privy Councillor in 1545. He was an early supporter of Protestantism in Scotland.


1 - It is known that William had issue by both marriages but, other than to note that most of the children noted appeared to be adult by the time of the second marriage, it is not clear who if any of these was by the second marriage.


  1. Sources 
  2. [S265] Colquoun_Cunningham.ged, Jamie Vans
  3. [S295] Kennedy of Bargany Family History Report and other reports
  4. [S280] Stirnet Genealogy, Peter Barns-Graham, Cunningham02: The Scots Peerage (Glencairn), Burkes Extinc t Peerages 1883 (Cuningham of Kilmaurs and Glencairn), Burk es Peerages 1934 (Cuninghame of Corsehill). (Reliability: 3)
  5. [S260] Burke's Landed Gentry of Great Britain 2001, Peter Beauclerk Dewar,, (2001.)
  6. [S278] The Cuninghame family of Glencairn, Suzanne Doig
  7. [S280] Stirnet Genealogy, Peter Barns-Graham, Ferguson02 (Reliability: 3)
  8. [S280] Stirnet Genealogy, Peter Barns-Graham, Campbell01 (Reliability: 3)


  1. http://webspace.webring.com/people/gu/um_8463/gene/glencairn.htm
  2. http://thepeerage.com/p2853.htm#i28523
  3. http://www.clanmacfarlanegenealogy.info/genealogy/TNGWebsite/getperson.php?personID=I2302&tree=CC


Sir William "Fourth Earl of Glencairn" Fourth Earl of Glencairn formerly Cunningham Born 24 Mar 1493 in Glencairn, Dumfries-shire, Scotlandmap Son of Cuthbert Cunningham and Marion (Douglas) Cunningham Brother of Margaret Bellentyne and Alexander Cunningham Husband of Catherine (Borthwick) Cunningham — married [date unknown] [location unknown] Husband of Elizabeth Campbell — married Jan 1535 [location unknown] Father of Isabel Cuninghame of Glencairn, Andrew Cunningham, Alexander (Cunningham) Fifth Earl of Glencairn, Janet Cunyngham and Lady Elizabeth Cunningham Died 11 Mar 1548 in Battle of Pinkie, Musselburgh, Midlothian, Scotlandmap Profile manager: Terri Rick private message [send private message] Cunningham-2058 created 18 Jun 2013 | Last modified 27 Jul 2016 This page has been accessed 1,369 times.

Categories: Battle of Pinkie Cleugh | Earls of Glencairn | Clan Cunningham.

Clan Cunningham tartan. William (Cunningham) Fourth Earl of Glencairn is a member of Clan Cunningham. If you are interested in this profile, please check out the Scottish Clans Project!


William Cunningham (Cunninghame) was a Scottish nobleman and the Fourth Earl of Glencairn. He was active in the intriguing affairs of 16th century Scotland. His loyalties switched from Scottish to those of the English and later back to Scottish.

He was born in 1493. William Cunningham was the only son of Cuthbert Cunningham and Marion Douglas. He passed away in 1548. [1]

Marriages and children

William first married Catherine Borthwick. Secondly, William married Elizabeth Campbell, of Wester Loudoun. Some sources indicate children were all from the second marriage, others have some of the children from the first marriage.

The following are the children of WIlliam and Elizabeth:

Alexander, the fifth Earl of Glencairn Andrew, progenitor of the Campbells of Corsehill Hugh of Watterstoun Robert of Montgrenane WIlliam, Bishop of Argyll Elizabeth, married john Cunningham of Caprington, Jean (Janet), married Robert Fergusson of Craigdarroch Sources

Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003 The Scots Peerage (Glencairn), Burkes Extinct Peerages 1883 (Cuningham of Kilmaurs and Glencairn) Wikipedia: William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn

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William Cunningham, 4th Earl of Glencairn's Timeline

March 24, 1493
Glencairn, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Age 13
Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, United Kingdom
July 10, 1510
Age 17
Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, (Present UK)
Age 19
Kilmaurs, Ayrshire , Scotland
Age 20
Dumfries-shire, Scotland
Age 31
March 1547
Age 53
Glencairn, Dumfriesshire, Scotland