FAMILY HISTORY - CUNNINGHAMSBy Irena White
The Cunningham family of The Grove, (1884-1917 Ruyton XI Towns
Bannerman Cunningham was a native of Preston Pans in Edinburgh. Part of a large family group many
of whom where eminent in a wide variety of fields. He was a Doctor (Medical Surgeon Practitioner). Eugenie
(nee Luke), his wife, was born in Cornwall,
daughter of the owner of a Tin and Copper mine. Her brother, George Bingley
Luke, was also a mine owner and moved to Edinburgh to further his business
interests and Eugenie seems to have moved with him, possible to keep house.
and Eugenie married in Preston Pans on 16.09.1880 and continued to live in the
area for three to four years, during which time they had their first two
children. They then moved to Canada and lived in the New Brunswick area, where
they had another son. For whatever
reason they then moved back to Scotland
and a further three children were born.
Then they relocated to Tyneside where they had another son.
last move, as a family, was in 1894, when James Cunningham bought the Ruyton XI
Towns practice from Doctor Arthur Burrell one of the local Doctors. They
moved into a house called The Grove in Church Street, which had enough space for
the Medical Practice and their still increasing family. They
added a small structure to the back of the house to act as a dispensary. They
then completed their family, having three more children. Their family now consisting of five boys and
life in the village is chronicled within some of the numerous letters they sent
to each other and their large extended family.
The letters give us a glimpse of daily life at the time of the
approaching Great War. Some of their
sons had returned to Canada to further their future prospects one was in Paris, and one was already a career soldier.
1914, at the outbreak of World War One, their mother writes to Canada
encouraging them to join up. Charles seems very reluctant to do so. Maybe they
had just begun to establish themselves in Canada or maybe, as was thought at
the time, they thought the war would soon be over. However, in the end their Mother persuaded
Charles and Robert to enlist, which they did, joining the 7Th
Canadian Infantry, British Columbia Regiment in 1915. On September 8th 1916 Charles was
killed at the Battle of the Somme aged 19. He is commemorated on the Vimy
Memorial in France and on Ruyton’s own War Memorial and on his father’s
headstone in the graveyard of St John the Baptist Church. All
the other brothers survived, including Bruce, the career soldier, who went on
to serve in India and retired in the 1930’s, still writing letters to his
Eugenie had already suffered another major loss when, during March/April of
1915, James Cunningham cut his arm when administrating to a patient. This
started off a severe infection and Septicaemia and it was thought that his
fingers would need to be amputated, and then his whole arm. But before they
could operate, he died on Easter Day April 4th 1915 aged 62, and is
buried in St John the Baptist Churchyard.
then sold the practice in 1917 and moved to London to live with one of her
daughters. Eugenie died on April 4th
1920 exactly five years after her husband .and was buried in Croydon, London,
although her name and the name of their son Charles, appear on the grave stone
of James Cunningham in the Church yard .
The family details
are as follows.
James Bannerman Cunningham - 14.11.1852 to
04.04.1915 Aged 62, Preston Pans Edinburgh / Ruyton
Married in Edinburgh 16.09.1880
Eugenie Luke - ??.??.1855 to
04.04.1920 Aged 65, Cornwall /Croydon, London
Cecilia Joanne - 23.07.1882-1978, Preston Pans , Edinburgh
Isabella Mary Douglas - 23.08.1883-1960, Preston Pans , Edinburgh
William Bruce - 1885-1969, New Brunswick , Canada.
Francis Heriot - 1887-
1971, Tongue , Scotland
Oliver, 02.08.1888-1982, Tongue , Scotland
Eugenie Russell, 12.04. 1890-1964, Tongue ,Scotland
James Douglas, 04.08.1892- 1975, Tynemouth , Northumberland
Robert Horsburgh, 1894-1960, Ruyton XI Towns
Charles Clephane, 1897- 08.09.1916, Ruyton XI Towns
Phyllis Margaret, 10.11.1898-1973, Ruyton XI Towns
The unusual middle
names of some of the children are due to the family custom of giving them a
middle name which was, in turn, the surname of earlier generations. Apart from Cecilia, Charles and Phyllis, they
are all surnames. In the case of
Charles, his middle name is of a famous naval hero and does not appear to have
an actual family connection
White and I both have extensive family history records collected over
the years, and contact details of people who are already
researching local families.
Irena has done extensive research into
all the men listed on our unique War Memorial, where they lived and
worked in Ruyton XI Towns and their service records. These
records will soon be alphabetically collated with sources, and who is
researching the family`s history
We would be happy to help family
history searchers but please, do not arrive in the village and knock on
our door. Email to the address shown on this page and we can
start with some correspondence regarding what you know and what we
know. We can then direct you to houses/places of interest when
you come to visit the village.
Contact Yoland Brownhill@eleventowns.co.uk
Ruyton XI Towns Local History Society is also happy to help Family
| Cunningham family outside The Grove
|| Ruyton Cricket team in Burgage Field, Dr. Cunningham back right & 3 sons
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