Waddell Cunningham

1729 - 1797


Belfast Atlantic merchant and industrialist, partner with Thomas Greg (d. 1796) (the father of Samuel Greg (q.v.)), with whom he shared ownership of an estate and enslaved people on Dominica.

  1. He has an entry in the ODNB as 'merchant and politician' which refers to his ownership of the sugar plantation on Dominica and details his roles 'as a founder of the White Linen Hall in Belfast; as a charter member of the Belfast Harbour Corporation; as a trustee of the Second Presbyterian Congregation; and as a promoter of the Belfast Academy, the Linen Hall Library, and the Belfast Charitable Society. He was, as well, the first president of the Belfast chamber of commerce. In 1785 he opened the Belfast discount office to facilitate transactions at the new Linen Hall, and two years later he founded a bank. In 1784 Cunningham was also instrumental in raising funds to build a Roman Catholic chapel in Belfast, into which he marched his volunteer company and its regimental band in honour of the first celebration of mass.'

  2. The Greg family papers catalogue identifies the estate as Belfast, adjoining John Greg's Hertford estate, and says that the estate was sold by Waddell Cunningham and Cunningham Greg, Thomas Greg's residuary legatee, for £17,000 in 1797.


  1. Thomas M. Truxes, ‘Cunningham, Waddell (1729–1797)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/57700, accessed 12 Jan 2016];

  2. Dominica Estate Documents, Cambridge University Library GBR/0115/RCMS 266 http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0115%2FRCMS%20266 [accessed 12/01/2016]; John Byres, References to a plan of the island of Dominica as surveyed from the year 1765 and 1773 (London, 1777) showed him as the original purchaser of Lots Nos. 16 (112 acres) and 17 (55 acres) in St Paul Dominica, which by c. 1773 were held by 'Greg and Cunningham'.

Further Information

Wealth at death
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
- 1797 [EY] → Joint owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

Portrait of Waddell Cunningham, by Robert Home c. 1786, in the Ulster Museum,... 

Relationships (1)

Business partners

Addresses (1)

Belfast, Ireland