According to Clan historian James Cunningham, whose accounts were recorded by the 17th Century Historian Frederic Van Bossen, Malcolm, the son of Friskin (a descendant of the King of Strathclyde), helped the escaping Prince Malcolm (a mere lad of nine and heir to the throne) by forking hay over him with a shakefork to hide him from his pursuers, the soldiers of the usurper Macbeth  This deed is said to be the origin of our motto “OVER FORK OVER.”


However, the story behind this legend has many more layers. According to van Bossen, Shakespeare’s Prince Malcolm was the son of  King Duncan and Vomfra (Umfrida), the Countess of Northumberland and Huntingtonshire. This appears to match the later appearance of Amfred de Cunningham de Legbourne in Alvingham Priory records in the mid 12th century.

According to James Cunningham, Malcolm, the son of Friskin served as the governor of King Malcolm, and perhaps also as the Governor of King Duncan when Prince Malcolm was a child.


Though there are many who doubt these ancient stories, recent studies now show Clan Cunningham fled to Yorkshire and to the regions surrounding Castle Acre in the time of King Macbeth. It is also now known that the Clan Cunningham coat of arms is actually based on the Bishop Pall Y, and is linked to the story surrounding Robert de Cunningham de Somercotes, a descendant of Amfred de Cunningham de Legbourne.


Though Frederic van Bossen also recorded the ancestors of Frisken, and recorded that one branch of Clan Cunningham held land near Perth, which means it would have been possible for Prince Malcolm to travel quickly to Malcolm’s farm, and with many nearby ports, to then go by ship to England, the story of a Barn and Hay is perhaps linked to the de Hays and the Cunninghams of Barns working together to rescue Prince Malcolm and defeat Macbeth, and had nothing to do with physical Barns and hiding the prince under hay.