Lady Anne Cunningham: An Encourager of Faithful Ministers

By Angela Wittman

This story of Lady Anne Cunningham is taken from the book “The Ladies of the Covenant” by Rev. James Anderson.

Lady Anne was born in Scotland sometime before 1588 (her exact birth date is unknown); she married Lord James, the Marquis of Hamilton in 1603. Together they had five children. Lady Anne was then widowed in 1625.

After her husband’s death, she continued to live a life of devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and of blessing others until her death in September of 1647. She lived during two periods of national covenanting that took place in Scotland in 1638 and 1643. Those known as “Covenanters” maintained that Christ was the Supreme King of the church and the nation, which conflicted with those who advocated “the divine rights of kings” over both realms.

Even though her husband did not have share her zeal for freedom of religion and he reportedly was more concerned with personal ambition, Lady Anne persevered and left an impact upon future generations of Christians. She was known for her zeal for purity of religion, generosity to others, and encouragement to the faithful ministers of the Gospel. She was also known to use her influence at court in London to protect the nonconformist ministers who were undergoing persecution for their uncompromising preaching.

Lady Anne Cunningham was also connected with a revival which took place at the Kirk of Schotts in June of 1630. The Lord used her to advance His Kingdom with the most ordinary event – a broken down carriage while traveling! A local gentleman, Mr. Home, invited Lady Anne and her traveling companions to stay at his manse while the carriage was being fixed. Afterwards Lady Anne thanked him by having a new manse built as his was in disrepair. He then expressed his gratitude by allowing her to name the ministers to assist him at a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Word soon spread that some of the most respected ministers of the time would be at the event and a large number attended. Some of the ministers in attendance were John Livingstone, Robert Bruce and David Dickson. Approximately 500 people who attended reported they had experienced a noticeable change in their lives after the event and many went on to become Christian activists.

How can we impact future generations for Christ as Lady Anne Cunningham did? I think we should start with a wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ and the furtherance of His Kingdom. I believe that once we win the battle in our minds and hearts to cast all of our being upon Him, regardless of the personal cost, He will then begin to arrange our lives and circumstances so that we will have opportunity to be known as women of piety, holiness, honor, generous with our time, talents and prayers for those men faithfully preaching the Gospel. And above all, let us stand firmly, without wavering for “Christ’s Crown and Covenant.”

Originally written and published May, 2007


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