Craigends Mansion House

Sir John & Lady Alison Cunninghame

Craigends House was rebuilt in 1857 to a design by the architect David Bryce, R.S.A. The new building replaced the structure which had stood since the 15th century and was situated nearer the River Gryffe. The estate of Craigends had been in the possession of the Cuninghame family since 1477. John Charles Cuninghame, 17th Laird of Craigends, was the last to hold that esteemed title when he died in 1917 without leaving an heir.

Craigends Mansion House

Sir John Cunninghame
Craigends Mansion House & Craigends Estate

Sir John Cunninghame

Upon Sir John father’s, Alexander Cunninghame of Craigends death in 1866, and at the tender age of 15, John Cunninghame became the 17th and the last Laird of Craigends
Alexander Cunninghame’s Iron & Steel works were held in trust for Sir John with affairs in Glasgow were attended to by his cousin, John Cunninghame of Glasgow until the attainment of his majority.

In 1876, ten years after Sir John fathers death,he became actively involved in the running of the Company and during his lifetime he held the position of Chairman and Managing Director.
At its peak, the company employed 5,000 men in steelworks at Glengarnock, Ardeer, and Carnboe as well as in the numerous coal pits to be found in Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, and Ayrshire. During his lifetime he was Chairman of the Glengarnock Iron & Steel Co, Director of the Glasgow & South Western Railway and Director of the Standard Life Insurance Company.

Sir John traveled extensively throughout Europe and to Japan, China, Egypt and Australia. John remained a bachelor until his 50th year when he married Alison Pearson his cousin once removed in 1901. Alison was the Daughter of Alexander L Pearson, Sir John and Alison did not have any children.

John Cunninghame of Craigends spent 28 years in the Renfrewshire Militia and retired in 1900 with the rank of Major.

Sir John was actively interested in politics and served two terms with Renfrewshire County Council. An active Unionist he stood three times for Parliament between 1885 and 1910, however, was unsuccessful each time.

Among Sir John’s leisure activities was the breeding of Clydesdale horses at the Craigends Estate and he established two dairy herds at Dunragit and Park in Wigtonshire and reared sheep at Upper Foyers in Inverness.

John Charles Cunninghame of Craigends died on January 30, 1917, in London aged 65 and is buried at Kilbarchan.
The Craigends Estate and personal fortune were inherited by his Widow, Alison Cunninghame who maintaining the mores of the landed gentry for decades to come.
When She Died in November 1958, the Craigends Estate was inherited by a Nephew.
Not having the means to maintain the Craigends Estate and unfortunately , the Craigends Estate was left derelict and, after a few years, sold to the housing construction company Taylor Woodrow. The Craigends Estate and Craigends Mansion House were left abandoned for many years and fell into extreme dilapidation. In 1971, the Craigends Mansion House was demolished , and by 1973, Taylor Woodrow had started construction on the first of what would be many housing estates within the grounds.