Stewarton & District Historical Society       Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation :  SC011194.

Dunlop Street 1970D

Stewarton Viaduct 2008

Coat of Arms reproduced by permission  of Stewarton Community Council

Springwell Place 1860

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26th January 2024

C -    Corsehill

          and the       Cuninghames


   Sadly Corsehill Castle no longer exists. The ruin between the road and the railway on the way to Dunlop is known to-day as Ravenscraig Castle, and is not only another castle but also another story. (A Lainshaw estate map of around 1790 clearly shows TWO castles, one on either side of the burn.)

   The site of Corsehill Castle would have been at the top of Bowes Rigg, as there was a tree-lined avenue leading to it from the Avenue Square. This avenue would have been in line with the right hand side of the Square, going through where the Institute Hall was and crossing the burn to reach the Castle. There is only one engraving of Corsehill Castle as a ruin, and this was drawn by Grosse in the late 18th century (see below). It should be noted that only the part on the right was what remained of Corsehill Castle at that time.

   Before the castle was demolished, an inventory was taken of the contents, and the Society have a copy of what appear to be the 'remnants' that were left behind. This is dated 1730, following the death of Sir Alexander Cuninghame, and gives us some idea of the size of the castle and its contents;-

Dining  Room (or Great Hall) -

Chairs, table, books, clothes and wigs, bedsteads, carpet, mirror, bedsteads, wall hangings, etc

Also - painting of Dame Margaret Boyle, 12 small pictures, more beds, tables, chairs, etc.

Closet of the Dining Room -

feather bed, curtains, old chest containing meal and an old corn chest

Kitchen -

kitchen utensils, irons, spinning wheels,boots and saddles, a cheese press

Crewhouse -

4 small old trees, 4 milk cans, pewter plates, trenchers & tankards , candlesticks, silver spoons, blankets, napkins, tablecloths, blunderbuss (gun), 1 picture.

On the Lands -

8 acres of corn and a few peas

2 acres of growing grass

5 milk cows

six quoys (sic)

12 sheep



The Cuninghame family had held great power in the town.The Laird chaired meetings of the Baron Court, which was the only form of law and order in the 17th and 18th centuries, and he dealt with offences such as sheep stealing, land boundary disputes, assaults, etc., dealing out his own justice. The Society have  a collection of some of these 'trials' in their records.

 When a new Parish Church was built in 1696, an upper area known as the Corsehill Gallery was incorporated into the main building.The Cuninghames of Corsehill had, until then, used a stair of their own to reach their seats in the upper part of the Church so that they did not need to mix with the 'common crowd' .

The only evidence remaining of Corsehill seems to be in the form of a sundial which is described as follows;-

   'The plinth has the Cuninghame arms and the initials SAC DMS, for Sir Alexander Cuninghame (d. 1685) and his wife, Dame Margaret Stewart (m. 1665). They lived at Corsehill, near Stewarton, so the dial was probably made there and taken to Lainshaw when the family moved in 1779. It came to Hensol (in Galloway) in 1920. In style, both the dial and plinth closely resemble one at Ladyland, at Kilbirnie, dated 1673; both have extra points between the horns of the hemicylinders, making their stars 12-point instead of 8, so the Hensol dial may have been made in 1672, when Sir Alexander was created Baronet or in 1673, when he became a freemason.'



   Alexander Cuninghame 1st Earl of Glencairn died 1488 - Battle of Sauchieburn

   Robert Cuninghame  2nd Earl of Glencairn died 1489

   Cuthbert Cuninghame 3rd Earl of Glencairn died 1541

    William Cuninghame 4th Earl of Glencairn, Lord High Treasurer, died 1547

   Alexander Cuninghame, 5th Earl of Glencairn died 1574  

   whose younger brother was - -

Andrew Cuninghame 1st of Corsehill died 1544

   Cuthbert Cuninghame 2nd of Corsehill died 1575

   Patrick Cuninghame 3rd of Corsehill died 1588 (he may have been implicated in the death of the Earl of Eglinton at Stewarton  in April 1586 and was killed by the Montgomeries two years later).

   The Corsehill baronetcy was created in 1643 so the title changes;-

       Sir Alexander Cuninghame, 1st Baronet (c. 1643-1685)

        Sir Alexander Cuninghame, 2nd Baronet (died 1730)

        Sir David Cuninghame, 3rd Baronet (died 1770) - he had three sons and a daughter, the eldest of whom, Alexander, married Elizabeth Montgomery, and was father of the 4th, 5th and 6th Baronets

       Sir Walter Montgomery-Cuninghame, 4th Baronet (died 1814), who, in 1790, styling himself to be "Walter Lord Lyle" was not permitted to vote in the election of peers nor was he granted leave to petition the Privileges Committee for recognition as such. He opposed the claim to the Earldom of Glencairn of Sir Adam Fergusson of Kilkerran, Bt in 1797 (the Earldom was now dormant)

       Sir David Montgomery-Cuninghame, 5th Baronet (died 1814)

       Sir James Montgomery-Cuninghame, 6th Baronet (died 1837)

        Sir Alexander David Montgomery-Cuninghame, 7th Baronet, died unmarried in 1846. He was succeeded by his brother, Thomas.

       Sir Thomas Montgomery-Cuninghame, 8th Baronet (died 30th August 1870). Montgomery-Cuninghame unsuccessfully claimed the title of Earl of Glencairn as the lineal male descendant of Andrew Cuningham, second son of the 4th Earl, William. He was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Ayrshire Rifles. He was married in 1832 to Charlotte, only child of Hugh Hutcheson, Esq., by whom he had 3 sons and three daughters of whom only his eldest, Jessie, and his youngest, William James, survived infancy.

       Sir William Montgomery-Cuninghame, 9th Baronet (1834–1897) was educated at Harrow School and fought in the Crimean War with the Royal Scots Fusiliers, where he won the V.C. He was M.P.  for Ayr Burghs from 1874-80.

       Sir Thomas Andrew Alexander Montgomery-Cuninghame of Corsehill, 10th Baronet (1877–1945) served in the Boer War with distinction, for which he received the D.S.O. He rose to the rank of Colonel and was the British Military Representative to Austria (1919–20) and British Military Attaché in Vienna (1920–23).

       Sir (William) Andrew Malcolm Martin Oliphant Montgomery-Cuninghame of Corsehill, 11th Baronet (1929–1959)  He also served in the Rifle Brigade.

       He married in 1956, but died without issue 3 years later.

       Sir John Christopher Foggo Montgomery Cuninghame of Corsehill, 12th Baronet of Corsehill (born 24 July 1935). Montgomery Cuninghame (following a ruling by the Lord Lyon in 1996 he de-hyphenated the surname in order not to be denied recognition as family head) is a businessman. He is the second son of Sir Thomas Montgomery-Cuninghame, 10th Baronet, and his second wife, Nancy née Foggo.  He served with the Rifle Brigade and has three daughters. Georgiana Rose "Nina" (born 1969), is married to former Al Jazeera English's journalist, Rageh Omaar (now ITV International News Editor).

Ian’s A-Z