Despite being derived from the French, ‘le Fleming’, the Fleming family are not descended directly from Flanders as the name would suggest but instead different bearers of the surname share multiple origins.
Despite this, the family can trace part of their origin back to a distinguished Flemish leader named Baldwin – who settled with his followers in Biggar, South Lanarkshire under a grant of David I of Scotland in the 12th century.
The family name would appear on the Ragman Rolls in 1296 – a document in which the Scottish nobility and gentry subscribed allegiance to King Edward I of England as his army advanced north into the country in order to keep their lands. However, the Flemings were firm supporters of the cause of Robert the Bruce and Scottish Independence – especially Robert Fleming who was one of the first men to join Robert the Bruce following the death of his rival John Comyn in 1306.
The Flemings would go on to receive Cumbernauld castle following this pledge of loyalty, a castle they would control for over 400 years before it was replaced with Cumbernauld House in 1731. The mansion was sold by the family in 1875.
In more recent times, the biologist Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) would achieve fame for his discovery of Penicillin in 1929 – regarded as one of the most significant scientific discoveries of all time. For this, he was rewarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945.