The Scottish surname Cuningham, also found in Ireland, is an habitational name from a district in Ayrshire, first recorded in 1153 in the form Cunegan, a Celtic name of uncertain origin. The spellings in -ham, first recorded in 1180, and in -ynghame, first recorded in 1227. The name Cuningham was brought to Ireland by Scottish settlers in the 17th Century. A Scots family of this name can trace their ancestry back to one Wernebald, a vassal of the Norman nobleman, Hugh de Morville, who obtained the manor of Cunningham from his feudal superior in the early 12th Century. Alexander de Kuningham, noted in the charters of North Berwickshire, witnessed the grant of Kirkbride Largs to the nuns of that shire, in 1190. The coat of arms borne by the family is a silver shield with a black shakefork.
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