Tour Scotland
Home Page


Clan Kennedy

Clan Kennedy

Twixt Wigtown and the town of Ayr, Portpatrick and the Cruives of Cree, No man need think for to bide there Unless he court with Kennedy. Cunedda, a chieftain of the Votadini tribe of Lothian, was sent by the Saxon leader, Vortigern, to south west Scotland to establish settlements intended to resist Picto-Scottish sea raids. These settlements spread down the west coast as far as north Wales. In the Celtic language Cunedda was rendered as Cinneidigh (meaning ugly- or grim-headed), and the name gradually became especially associated with the district of Carrick in Ayrshire. Gilbert Mac Kenedi witnessed a charter granting lands in Carrick to the abbey at Melrose in the early part of the reign of William the Lion, while Gillespie Kennedy is named as senechal of Carrick in charters during the reign of Alexander II. The Kennedys claimed blood kinship with the Earls of Carrick and supported Bruce in the War of Independence. They were rewarded when Robert II confirmed John Kennedy of Dunure as chief of his name and baillie of Carrick in 1372. His direct descendent, Gilbert, was created Lord Kennedy around 1457, was one of the regents of infant James III. His brother James, the Bishop of St. Andrews, was one of the most outstanding prelates in Scottish mediaeval history who expanded Scotland's first university by adding the College of St. Salvator's. Sir David, 3rd Lord Kennedy, was created Earl of Cassillis in 1509 and died at Flodden in 1513. The 6th Earl of Cassillis, John, was Lord Justice General of Scotland from 1649 to 1651. He earned a place in folklore when he stopped his wife from eloping with Sir John Faa of Dunbar who was perhaps a gypsy king. The Earl imprisoned her for life and hanged Sir John and his followers. When the 8th Earl died without heirs, there was a three-year court dispute to determine the succession. The House of Lords finally found in favour of Sir Thomas Kennedy of Culzean in preference to William, Earl of March and Ruglan. Sir Thomas's brother, David, an advocate, succeeded him in 1775 as 10th Earl, and was an active improver. He commissioned the architect Robert Adam to build the castle at Culzean, now considered to be Adam's masterpiece. On the death of the 10th Earl, the title passed to a kinsman who had settled in America, Captain Archibald Kennedy. He tried to be neutral during the American War of Independence, and was accordingly mistrusted by both sides. Half of his New York properties were confiscated, including Number 1, Broadway, which was appropriated by George Washington. His son, the 12th Earl, was a close friend of the Duke of Clarence, who, on his coronation as William IV, created him Marquess of Ailsa. Lieutenant General Sir Clark Kennedy of Knockgray served throughout the Peninsular War. At Waterloo in 1815, he as in command of the centre squadron of the Royal Dragoons and personally captured the eagle and colours of the 105th Regiment of French Infantry. The 5th Marquess presented Culzean Castle to the National Trust of Scotland. Archibald Kennedy, 7th Marquess of Ailsa (b. 1925), is the present Chief. The name became more prevalent with the influx of Irish Kennedys in the 1850's; it is now the 50th most common name in Scotland.

Septs of Clan Kennedy:
Carrick Cassels Cassillis Kennedy MacWalrick

A dolphin naiant, proper

Avise la fin

Consider the end


Mac Ualraig or Ceannaideach

(ugly head)

Return To Scottish Clans

Tour Scotland
Tour Edinburgh
Tour Island Of Skye

Rent A Self Catering Hoilday Cottage In Scotland

Share This Tour Scotland Web Page

Top Destinations
Tour Europe