Britannia, by William Camden

Cunningham.

Big T TO Kyle, upon the West and North, is joyned Cunningham; which so hems in and contracts the Bay, that it makes it much narrower than hitherto it has been. The name signifies as much as the King’s habitation; whence you may imagin how pleasant it is. It is water’d by the Irwin, that divides it from Kyle; at the head almost of which river, ⌈we see Lowdoun,Lowdoun. the ancient seat of the Crawfords; which, coming by marriage to the Campbels, was rais’d to the dignity of a Barony, by K. James the sixth, in the person of Sir Hugh Campbel; and to the higher honour of an Earldom, by K. Charles the first, in the person of Sir John Campbel, upon his marriage with the grand-daughter of the said Hugh. Next, on the same river, not far from the head,⌉ we have a sight of Kilmarnock,Kilmarnock. the Seat of the Barons Boids.Barons Boids. In the reign of King James the third, Thomas, one of these, was, by a gale of Court-favour, advanc’d to the authority of Regent, and Robert his Son to the Honour of Earl of Arran and a marriage with the King’s Sister. But the same gale blowing contrary, they were adjudged enemies to the State; Robert had his Wife taken from him, and given to James Hamilton; and their Estates were confiscated; and being by the inconstancy of fortune strip’d of all, they died in exile. Yet their Posterity recover’d the ancient honour of Barons, and † † Enjoy it at this day, C.
(Sc. 1607.)
continued to enjoy it; ⌈and were, moreover, dignify’d with the title of Earl of Kilmarnock by King Charles the second.⌉

Upon the mouth of the river Irwin,Irwin, riv. stands Irwin, a Borough, with a Port so choaked up with banks of sand, and so shallow, that it is only capable of small Vessels. ⌈By the favour of King Charles the first, James, brother to the Earl of Argyle, was created Earl of Irwin; which title being extinct, Sir Arthur Ingram of Temple Newton in the County of York, was created Viscount of Irwin by King Charles the second.⌉ Higher up, over the Bay, stands Ardrossan,Ardrossan-Castle. a Castle of the Montgomeries, an ancient and noble family, which can shew, as a proof of their Warlike Valour, Poununy-Castle, built out of the ransom-money of Henry Percy, sirnamed Hotspur, whom J. Montgomery took with his own hands in the Battle at Otterburne, and brought him away Prisoner. Not far from Ardrossan, is Largis,Largis. embru’d in the blood of the Norwegians by King Alexander the third. From whence, following the winding of the shore, we meet with Eglington-Castle, once possessed by Gentlemen of that name, from whom it descended to the Montgomeries,Montgomeries Earls of Eglington. who took from hence the title of Earls of Eglington. But whence this Sirname came, is hard to guess. That, out of Normandy it came into England, and that there were several Families of that name, I am satisfied. But the Family in Essex, from which Sir Thomas Montgomery, Knight of the Garter in the reign of King Edward the 4th, was descended, gave Arms but a little different from these. However, this noble House hath enlarg’d it self very much; and out of those of Gevan, was that Gabriel de Lorges, called Earl of Montgomery, and Captain ofThe Scotch Guard du Corps in France. the Scotch Guard du Corps (instituted by Charles the fifth, King of France, for a Guard to him and his Successors, as a signal mark of their fidelity and favour to him;) who in a Tournament slew Henry the second King of France with a Splinter of his Spear, which (his Beaver chancing to be up) penetrated through the eye into his brain. Afterwards, siding with the Huguenots in the Civil wars of France, he was taken, and beheaded.

But the Family of the CunninghamsCunninghams Earls of Glencairn. is accounted more numerous in this Tract; the head whereof, the Earl of Glencairn, hath a Seat at Kilmauris, and derives his descent out of England, viz. from an English Gentleman, who, together with others, murdered Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury. How true this is, I know not, but perhaps it may be grounded upon a probable conjecture, taken from an Archbishop’s Pall, which they give in their Coat of Arms.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06