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The Fleming Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: LET THE DEED SHAW

Let me share with you the fascinating history of your family, the Flemings. Your ancestors can be traced back to the Flemish origins of the name, which is derived from the French term ‘le Fleming,’ indicating the family’s connection to Flanders. Flanders, once a powerful medieval principality, is now divided among the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. During the reigns of David I and his son Malcolm, the Scottish crown encouraged the settlement of Flemish nobles and merchants in specific regions of Scotland.

It is believed that Baldwin, a prominent Flemish leader, chose to settle in the area around Biggar in Lanarkshire. In 1162, he was recorded as the Sheriff of Lanark, and this position seemed to be hereditary within the family for some time. However, in 1292, the direct male line of Baldwin came to an end with the passing of Nicholas of Biggar. Fortunately, his surviving daughter married a man named Patrick Fleming, establishing a lasting connection between the Flemish and Fleming families.

In 1296, during a period of political upheaval, nine individuals with the surname Fleming signed the Ragman Roll, pledging their loyalty to Edward I of England. Notably, Sir Robert Fleming, one of the signatories, was among the first to join Robert the Bruce and support him after the death of the Comyn at Dumfries in 1306. As a reward for his loyalty, he was granted the barony of Kirkintilloch, which had previously been held by the Comyn family.

In 1342, David II recognized the contributions of Sir Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld by creating him the Earl of Wigton. This honor was bestowed upon him in recognition of his assistance in protecting David II from Edward Balliol and the English. During the fourteenth century, the Flemings constructed Cumbernauld Castle, which was one of the largest castles in the country at the time. However, in 1371, Thomas, the grandson of the first Earl, sold the Earldom to Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway, a transfer that was confirmed by Robert II.

In 1606, John, the sixth Lord Fleming, was granted the title of Earl of Wigton. The Fleming family were staunch Jacobites, and the Earl of Wigton remained loyal to James VII following the Revolution of 1688. He opposed the Treaty of Union, voting against every article in the Parliament of 1706. However, during the Jacobite rising of 1715, he was arrested by the governor of Edinburgh Castle.

Flemings also established themselves in Glenshee from the early seventeenth century. Donald Fleming, born in the Blair Atholl area around 1720, proudly served as a Jacobite soldier during the 1745 rebellion. He is a distant ancestor of Ian Fleming, who gained fame in the twentieth century as the author of the James Bond stories.

Notable achievements within your family extend beyond the realm of history and literature. Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), a renowned biologist, made one of the most groundbreaking scientific discoveries in history when he discovered Penicillin in 1928. His remarkable achievement revolutionized medicine and earned him a share of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945, along with numerous other honors.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: LET THE DEED SHAW

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