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Monday, July 4th, 2005, 08:39 AM
The Ancient History Of the Distinguished Surname *Fleming*

Amongst the family names emerging from the mists of time from are the ones from Holland and Belgium whose ancient posterity of Fleming and the distinguished history of this surname is closely entwined within the colourful tapestry of the ancient chronicles of Britain. Some spoke in an old French dialect and were known as "Walloons", coming from southern Belgium.

The Flemish and Dutch presence in Britain commenced about the year 1150 A.D., and contributed more to British industrial development than any other race. The Flemings were the artisan industrialists of the Low Countries.

The Flemings were recruited firstly in Scotland to develop Scottish industry. They became ardent Scottish patriots, so much so that at the storming of Berwick by the English in 1296, the Flemings barricaded themselves in the Red Hall with such stubborn resistance; they were buried to a man.

They later migrated south to Wales and the west of England where they spawned the weaving and the woolen industry. In Norfolk, Suffolk, and Hertfordshire they were particularly involved in papermaking and erected several fine paper mills.

Professional researchers have carefully scrutinized such ancient manuscripts as the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296), a record of homage rendered to King Edward 1st of England, the Curia Regis Rolls, the Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals, tax records and other ancient documents and found the first record of the name Fleming, in Lanarkshire where the were seated from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

During the early and middle development phase of the name many different spellings were found in the archives researched. Although your name, Fleming, occurred in many manuscripts, from time to time the surname was spelt Fleming, Flemming, and these variations in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. It was not uncommon for a person to be born with one spelling, married with another and yet another to appear on his or her headstone. Scribes and church officials spelt the name as it was told to them.

The family name Fleming emerged as a notable English family in Lanarkshire where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire. The name is said to have arrived in Scotland about 1126 with Baldwin de Fleming, Fifth Earl of Flanders, who settled in Barrochan in the upper ward of Lanarkshire. The Clan subsequently built Boghall Castle near Biggar in Renfrewshire. Theobald his son was granted additional land by the Abbey of Kelso. The Chief of the name became the Earl of Wigtown and the Clan assisted Robert the Bruce in securing a victory for Scotland in 1320. The Flemings assisted Mary Queen of Scots with an army of 6,000 men but they were defeated by the Regent's forces. Notable in the family at this time was Earl of Wigtown.

In England the Flemings started the trades of papermaking, book publishing, glass bowing, clothiers, glove making, and many more. Many Flemings rose to high office and became members of the Peerage, including the Earls of Radnor, and the Earls of Clancarty.

During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries England was ravaged by religious conflict. Puritanism, the newly found political fervour of Cromwellianism, and the remnants of the Roman Church rejected all nonbelievers and fought for supremacy. During these turbulent times the conflict between Church groups, the Crown and political groups all claimed their allegiances and their assessments, tithes, and demands on rich an poor alike broke the spirit of the people and many either turned away from religion, or, alternatively, desperately renewed their faith, pursuing with a vigour and ferocity, the letter of the ecclesiastical law.

The Flemings were responsible in Ireland for the development of the fine linen trade, for the development of Irish pottery, and gave their name to such streets in Dublin as Combe, Pimlico, and Spitalfield. The leader of the Flemish contingent in Ireland was a General, the Marquis de Ruvigny of Port Arlington. In Ireland they settled in the counties of Down and Meath. Baron Fleming and Viscount Fleming were leaders of the clan in Ireland.

In the midst of this religious turmoil of the middle ages the New World beckoned the adventurous. They migrated, some voluntarily from Ireland, but mostly directly from England, their home territories. Some also moved to the European continent. They settled in Australia, New Zealand, the Carolinas, Virginia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and the West Indies.

Members of the family name Fleming sailed aboard the armada of small sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30% to 40% of the passenger list never reaching their destination, their numbers decimated by illness and the elements.

In North America, included amongst the first migrants which could be considered a kinsman of the surname Fleming, or a variable spelling of that family name was Christopher Fleming who settled in Virginia in 1653; Elizabeth Fleming settled in Virginia in 1650; James, John, Joseph, Martin, Richard, Samuel, Thomas, and William Fleming all arrived in Philadelphia, Pa. Between 1840 and 1860.

From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagon trains to the prairies of to the west coast. During the American War of Independence, many loyalists made their way north to Canada about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.

Contemporary notables of this surname, Fleming, include many distinguished contributors Major James Fleming, an officer of the 28th Massachusetts Regiment during the War of 1861-65; Ian Lancaster Fleming, English novelist, who wrote his spectacular and successful spy thrillers "James Bond".

The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was:
A silver chevron with a double border.

The Crest was:
A goat's head.

The ancient family Motto for this distinguished name was:
"Let the Deed Shaw"

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