The Flemings of Biggar and Cumbernauld

Claire Hawes
Friday 8 April 2016

This posting is the third in the series on themes that will be addressed at a conference held in St. Andrews on June 16 and 17 this year.  The Fleming family of Biggar and Cumbernauld became an important baronial family in late Medieval and Early Modern Scotland.  This session will revisit the Flemings in the light of recently discovered collection of their papers from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries which reveal the, sometimes dubious, actions and wide connections of this noble house.

Session Overview

The Fleming family was a significant player in the history of medieval Scotland as a number of blog postings over the past two years illustrate (see references below).  From their original lordship of Biggar, the family acquired property in many other parts of Scotland, most notably at Cumbernauld where their main castle was located.  Using a newly discovered collection of documents, this session will explore the family’s history and changes in fortune in the fourteenth and fifteenth century.

This collection of hitherto unknown charters was gifted to the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in 2014.  These have recently been made available to researchers at the University of St. Andrews and are helping to shed new light on the family and its relationships in medieval Scotland.  The parties to the charters vary widely. Almost all of the charters have, as one of the principal parties, a member of the Fleming family. The other parties are wide-ranging but include royalty such as David II, Robert III, James III, James IV, Charles II, and Mary, Queen of Scots. 

Session Participants

 Professor Michael Brown is professor of Medieval Scottish History at the University of St Andrews. His books include James I (Edinburgh, 1994), The Black Douglases (East Linton, 1998), The Wars of Scotland, 1214-1371 (Edinburgh, 2004) and Disunited Kingdoms: Peoples and Politics in the British Isles, 1280-1460 (Harlow, 2013). 

Dr. Bess Rhodes is a researcher at St. Andrews University who is focusing at present on “calendaring” the Fleming charters with a view to gaining a better understanding of the role played by the Fleming family in 14th and 15th century Scotland.


Blog postings on the Fleming family 

Baldwin and the 12th Century Incomers to Upper Clydesdale Revisited

The Flemings of Cumbernauld Castle

Mary Fleming and Mary Queen of Scots

John, 5th Lord Fleming

The Fleming Family Charter Collection

The Fleming Family Charter Collection and the Dark Side of Fifteenth-Century Family Life