CaptureHistory of the Cunningham Motto and Coat of Arms – This is the tartan we use for school uniform

There are a variety of colorful stories relating to the Cunningham’s motto and coat of arms. The best known story has a connection with the historical Macbeth. After killing Duncan (1st Historical King of Scotland), Macbeth sent his men to kill Duncan’s son, Malcolm Canmore. While being chased by Macbeth’s men, prince Canmore took refuge in the barn of a lowland farmer, Malcolm, son of Friskin. Understanding the danger the prince was in, the son of Friskin told Malcolm Canmore to hide under some straw in the barn. The farmer received help covering the prince and called out to his companion, “Over, fork over,” as they worked to heap layers of straw over the prince. Another version says the prince ordered the son of Friskin to quickly put straw over him, telling the farmer to “Over, fork over!” When Macbeth’s men approached the barn a few moments later, they asked if the farmer had seen the prince. Malcolm, son of Friskin replied he had not, saving the prince’s life. (King Malcolm III, left) When Macbeth was later defeated in battle and killed seventeen years later by Malcolm Canmore, he came to the throne as Malcolm III. He did not forget the son of Friskin’s heroic deed and awarded the farmer the Thanedome of Cunninghame, arms, and motto. The motto, “Over fork Over,” recalled the event that saved the king’s life. Sir George Mackenzie however relates in his opinion that, although the story about saving Malcolm III’s life is charming, the “charge” is actually a reference to the office of Master of the King’s Stables.

Another explanation is that the Cunningham “charge” and motto are a reference to a family friendship.  The Cunningham’s were great allies of the Comyns’, whose shield bore sheaves of corn.  The Comyns’ and the Bruces’ were bitter enemies. When the Comyn dynasty was overthrown by the Bruces’, the Cunninghams’ sided with the Bruces’, but adopted the shake-fork as an ingenious reference to their former allies. The shakefork was used to fork over sheaves of corn (Comyn shield and charge, at right). Ardrossan Academy in Ayrshire holds that the Cunninghams’ got their motto and coat of arms fighting for Robert the Bruce. The English held a powerful castle called Linlithgow. It was too powerful for a frontal assault, so the Scots had to figure out a way to penetrate the castle’s defenses. Using guile and possibly borrowing a page from Homer’s story of the Trojan Horse, the Cunningham’s concealed themselves in carts under bales of hay and surprised the English guards at the castle’s gate. Jumping out from under the hay, the Cunningham’s “fell upon them with their forks, tossing the English into the air like hay and shouting their cry ‘Over, fork, over!” They secured the gate and let the rest of Bruce’s force enter and take control of the castle.

Sourced – From:

Some records indicate that the Hemphills are from a place called “Hemp’s Hill”, in Ayrshire, Scotland. Since they grew Hemp, they came to be known as “Hemp-Hillers” and later, Hemphills. Some records also indicate that the Hemphill name first appeared in Fenwick, Scotland in the 1500s.

School motto: “Constant and Fearless” It is the English translation of the Hemphill family motto:

What does Constant mean? Unchanging, continuous, true and faithful

What does it mean to be Fearless?

Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. Rather, it’s the mastery of fear. Courage, my compatriot Socrates argues, is the knowledge of what is not to be feared. which is to say, there are things we should be afraid of — we want to stay alive, after all. We will never completely eliminate fear from our lives, but we can definitely get to the point where our fears do not stop us from daring to think new thoughts, try new things, take risks, fail, start again, and be happy.

Fearlessness is about getting up one more time than we fall down. The more comfortable we are with the possibility of falling down, the less worried we are of what people will think if and when we do, the less judgmental of ourselves we are every time we make a mistake, the more fearless we will be, and the easier our journey will become.