With their main territories in Carrick, in Ayrshire, and further southwest in Galloway, the roots of the ancestors of the Kennedys of today are not known with certainty.
But one theory is that, in common with many other prominent clans and families who settled on the western seaboard of Scotland, they originally hailed from Ireland.
They gained high honours and distinction, being granted the lands of Dunure, in Carrick, as reward for their support of King Alexander 111 in his victory over the Danes at the battle of Largs in 1263.
Later acquiring the lands of Cassillis, near Dunure, further distinction accrued in 1457 when Gilbert Kennedy was created 1st Lord Kennedy.
David, the 3rd Lord Kennedy, was created 1st Earl of Cassillis in 1509, and was among the many Scots slain four years later, along with King James 1V, at the battle of Flodden.
The dramatic saga of the Kennedys is chronicled here.