Additional Info

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

Share

Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

The Scottish Nation
Fleming


FLEMING, a surname derived from Flandrensis, a native of Flanders. In the Chartularies of Paisley and Kelso, it is written Flandrensis, Flaming, and Flammaticus, originally borne by one who came from Flanders. Among those who accompanied William the Conqueror to England was Sir Michael le Fleming, a relative of Baldwin earl of Flanders, whose descendants still exist, and enjoy a baronetcy, in the county of Westmoreland. The Scots Flemings descended from natives of Flanders, the most enterprising merchants of their time, who in the twelfth century emigrated first to England, whence being banished they removed into Scotland. [Chalmers’ Caledonia, vol. i. page 600.] Several of this name are witnesses to charters of Malcolm the fourth, William the Lion, and the three Alexanders. Baldwin, a distinguished Flemish leader, settled, with his followers, at Biggar in Lanarkshire, under a grant of David the First. He was first designated Baldewin Flamingus, but assumed from his lands the name of Baldwin de Biger. He was sheriff of Lanark under Malcolm the Fourth and William the First, and it has been supposed that this office became for some time hereditary in his family. His descendants, though legally designed of Biggar, retained the original name of Fleming, as indicative of the country whence their ancestors derived their origin. The Flemings of Biggar appear to have obtained a footing in Lanarkshire earlier than even the more celebrated race of Douglas, for about 1150, Baldwin de Biger witnessed the charter granting lands on Douglas water to Theobald the Fleming, and the first of the Douglas name on record is after 1175 (see DOUGLAS).

      Baldwin’s son, Waldeve, was taken prisoner with William the Lion at the siege of Alnwick castle in 1174. Willielmus Flandrensis, supposed to be Waldeve’s son, is witness to two charters of William the Lion, and also to a donation of Richard le Bard (now Baird) to the monastery of Kelso, which was confirmed by Alexander the Second in 1228.

      Sir Malcolm Fleming, probably his son, was sheriff of the county of Dumbarton in the reign of Alexander the Third. At this period the Flemings were very numerous in Scotland. Dominus Johanes Flemingum, and eight other principal persons of the name, swore fealty to Edward the First in 1296.

      Sir Robert Fleming, supposed to have been the son of Sir Malcolm, was one of the chief men of Scotland who proposed the marriage of the Princess Margaret of Scotland to Prince Edward at Brigham, 12th March 1289-90. Although he had sworn fealty to the English monarch, he was among the first to join Robert the Bruce in his attempt to obtain the crown, and recover the independence, of Scotland, and assisted at the slaughter of Comyn at Dumfries in 1305. The barony of Cumbernauld in Lanarkshire, which had belonged to the Comyns, was, with the barony of Leny, bestowed on him by King Robert. He died before 1314. He had two sons, Sir Malcolm, his successor, and Sir Patrick Fleming, sheriff of Peebles, who got the barony of Biggar by his marriage with one of the daughters and coheiresses of the brave Sir Simon Frazer, lord of Oliver castle, county of Peebles, upon which account this branch of the Flemings quartered the arms of Frazer with their own.

      The elder son, Sir Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld, stood high in the favour of Robert the Bruce, by whom he was appointed sheriff of the county, and governor of the castle of Dumbarton. He got grants of the whole barony of Kirkintilloch, which had also been their property, also of the lands of Auchindonan in the Lennox, and of the lands of Poltoun in Wigtonshire.

      His son, Sir Malcolm, also governor of Dumbarton castle, firmly adhered to the fortunes of King David Bruce, even when most overclouded. At the battle of Halidonhill, 19th July 1333, he was engaged in the second body of the Scots army, and was one of the few that escaped the carnage of that disastrous day. He immediately secured the castle of Dumbarton, the last resource of the remaining adherents of the young king, then in his ninth year, and resolutely defended it against the English. For safety King David and his queen were conveyed to France, being attended thither by Sir Malcolm Fleming. On the return of the latter he kept the castle of Dumbarton against Edward Baliol and the English, and in it gave shelter to the high steward of Scotland, afterwards Robert the Second, who, after the fatal battle of Halidonhill, had first taken refuge in the island of Bute. Sir Malcolm subsequently went to France, and accompanied King David and his queen on their return to Scotland, in May 1341 (see Dalrymple’s Annals, vol. ii. p. 209, note). On 9th November 1342 he was created by his grateful sovereign earl of Wigton. The king also bestowed on him a grant of regality, with power to judge in the four pleas of the crown. It is supposed that by this grant, the king intended, besides rewarding his fidelity, to circumscribe the overgrown power of the Douglases, lords of Galloway. The earl of Wigton was taken prisoner at the battle of Durham 17th October 1346, and with his royal master and others was conducted to a long and dreary captivity in the Tower of London. He sat in the meeting of the Scots estates at Edinburgh 26th September 1357, when commissioners were appointed to conclude the treaty for the release of King David, after a captivity of eleven years, which was accordingly done at Berwick on the 3d October following. The earl’s seal is appended to the concluded treaty. His only son, John, was one of the hostages for the ransom of King David, but he is said to have died before his father in 1351. The earl is supposed to have had also two daughters, the one married to Sir John Danielston of that ilk, and the other, Marjory, to William de Fawside.

      His grandson, Thomas Fleming, second earl of Wigton, was also one of the hostages for King David, and as such he was in custody of the sheriff of Northumberland, 10th November 1358. He sold the earldom of Wigton to Archibald Douglas, lord of Galloway, who could not brook the erection of a new regality within his territory, and resolved to obtain it for himself. The deed of sale, dated at Edinburgh 8th February 1371-2, was confirmed by King Robert the Second, on 7th October following. Thereafter Sir Thomas Fleming ceased to be styled earl of Wigton, the title in those feudal times being inseparably connected with the territory which conferred it. He died without issue, and was succeeded by his cousin, Sir Malcolm Fleming of Biggar, the son of Sir Patrick, above mentioned.

      Sir Malcolm Fleming, who thus inherited Cumbernauld as well as his own patrimony of Biggar, was taken prisoner at the battle of Durham, but soon made his escape. In 1364 he held the office of sheriff of Dumbarton. He had two sons, Sir David, his successor, and Patrick, ancestor of the Flemings of Bord.

      Sir David Fleming of Biggar and Cumbernauld, the elder son, received a safe-conduct to pass into England, 20th May 1365. He distinguished himself at the battle of Otterbourn in 1388; and on 6th July 1404 he was one of the commissioners for a truce with the English. He attended James prince of Scotland to the Bass in February 1405, and saw him safe on board the ship appointed to carry him to France, when on the voyage he was taken prisoner by the English. On his return home Sir David was attacked by James Douglas of Balveny, afterwards seventh earl of Douglas, and killed, at Longherdmanstoun, six miles west of Edinburgh, on the 14th of that month. He was buried at Holyroodhouse. Wintoun says of him:

    “Schire Davy Fleming of Cumbirnald
Lord, a knycht stout and bald,
Trowit and luvit wel with the king;
This ilke gud and gentyl knycht
That wes baith manful, lele, and wycht.”

He married, first, Jean, only daughter of Sir David Barclay of Brechin, and by her had a daughter, Marion, who became the wife of William Maule of Panmure, and in her right the latter claimed the barony of Brechin. He married, secondly, Isabel, heiress of Monycabow, by whom he had two sons, Sir Malcolm and David.

      Sir Malcolm, the elder son, was knighted by King Robert the Third. He was one of the hostages for James the First, when he was allowed to visit Scotland on 31st May 1421. He was also one of the hostages for his release, by the treaty of 4th December 1423, when his annual revenue was estimated at six hundred marks. He had a safe-conduct to go to England, to meet James the First, 13th December that year. He was among those arrested with Murdoch duke of Albany in 1425, but was soon released. He was the friend and counsellor of William sixth earl of Douglas, and on the treacherous invitation of the governor Livingston and the chancellor Crichton, he accompanied the former with his brother, David Douglas, to the castle of Edinburgh on 24th November 1440, when they were summarily arrested, and after a brief and hurried trial beheaded, Sir Malcolm Fleming sharing their fate. [See DOUGLAS.] He married Lady Elizabeth Stewart, third daughter of the regent, Robert duke of Albany, and by her had two sons, Malcolm and Robert, and a daughter, Margaret, married to Patrick, master of Gray.

      Malcolm, the elder son, is specified as one of the supplementary hostages for King James the First, 9th November 1427, and released 20th June 1432. He appears to have died before his father, without issue.

      Sir Robert, the younger and only surviving son, entered a protest against the illegal and unwarrantable sentence of execution and forfeiture passed on his father, and King James the Second, when he came of age, issued precepts for infefting him as heir of his father, who was found by inquests to have died at the faith and peace of his majesty. A safe-conduct was granted to him to accompany Sir James Stewart, called the Black Knight of Lorn, to England, 22d November 1447. He was created a peer of parliament, by the title of Lord Fleming, but the date of creation is not known, probably by James the Second, who died in 1460. His name occurs in the records of parliament, 11th October 1466. He had a safe-conduct to pass into England, with twenty persons in his retinue, 2d November 1484, and died in 1494. He was twice married, and by his first wife, Lady Janet Douglas, third daughter of James, seventh earl of Douglas, he had two sons and two daughters.

      Malcolm Fleming of Monycabow, the elder son, was one of the commissioners appointed to negociate the marriage of James prince of Scotland and Cecilia, daughter of Edward the Fourth, 18th October 1474. He died before his father. He married Eupheme, daughter of James Lord Livingston, and by her had two sons and two daughters. Sir David, the elder son, died in the lifetime of his grandfather.

      John, the younger son, second Lord Fleming, was one of the three lords appointed in July 1515, guardians of King James the Fifth in his infancy. He was sent ambassador to France, and on his return he was, in January 1517, appointed chancellor of Scotland. In 1519, he was sent over to France to urge the regent duke of Albany to return to Scotland; and he was one of the three noblemen appointed by parliament 1523, to abide with King James the Fifth, each for three months. He was assassinated while enjoying the sport of hawking, by John Tweedie of Drummelzier, James Tweedie his son, and others, 1st November 1524. He married, first, Euphemia, fifth daughter of David Lord Drummond, and by her, who was poisoned with two of her sisters in 1501, (see DRUMMOND), he had issue. He married, secondly, Lady Margaret Stewart, eldest daughter of Matthew second earl of Lennox. She got a charter from her husband of the lands of Biggar and Thankertoun March 12, 1508-9. They were soon after divorced, and she resigned the lands in his favour October 26, 1516, and was then designed ‘olim reputatae spousae dicti Johannis.’ She afterwards married Alexander Douglas of Mains. In 1508 he had been denounced rebel at the king’s horn, and fined in the penalty of five hundred merks for not entering John Fleming of Boghall, for whom he had become surety or bail, for trial, charged with art and part of the rape or ravishment of the said Lady Margaret Stewart. Lord Fleming married, thirdly, Agnes Somerville, whose parentage is not stated.

      Malcolm, third Lord Fleming, the eldest son, born about 1494, was great chamberlain of Scotland. On December 1, 1530, he was constituted sheriff of Tweeddale and Peebles. A great number of charters were granted to him of lands in the counties of Peebles and Roxburgh. He accompanied King James the Fifth on his matrimonial expedition to France in August 1537, and was made prisoner at the rout of Solway in November 1542, but obtained his liberty 1st July 1543, on paying a ransom of one thousand merks sterling. In August of the same year he was one of the nobility to whom was committed the safe keeping of the queen-mother and the infant queen Mary in Stirling castle. When the project of marriage between Queen Mary and Prince Edward of England was set on foot, he at first joined the English party, but soon deserted it. He had been accused of treason, but parliament, on 3d October 1545, declared that he was innocent of all crimes alleged against him, and a true baron and liege to the queen. He was grand carver to William St. Clair, earl of Orkney, the founder of Roslin chapel, who lived in Roslin Castle in the style of a prince. In 1545 Lord Fleming founded the collegiate church of Biggar, and largely endowed it for the support of a provost, eight prebendaries, four singing boys, and six poor men. It is built in the form of a cross; the fabric is still entire, but the steeple and spire have never been finished. He was killed at the battle of Pinkie, 10th September 1547, in the 53d year of his age. By his wife, Johanna or Jonet Stewart, natural daughter of King James the Fourth, he had two sons, James, fourth lord, and John, fifth lord, and four daughters.

      James, fourth lord Fleming, with Lord Erskine, accompanied the young Queen Mary to France in 1548, her majesty having been committed to their faith and care. With them also went the Lady Fleming, his lordship’s mother and aunt of the queen, with twelve young ladies and two hundred gentlemen and servants. He was continued great chamberlain of Scotland for life, by letters patent under the great seal, 10th March 1553. He was also appointed guardian of the east and middle marches, and invested with a power of justiciary within the limits of his jurisdiction. He was one of the eight commissioners elected by parliament, 18th December 1557, to represent the Scottish nation at the nuptials of Queen Mary with Francis, dauphin of France, 24th April 1558. Three of these commissioners died at Dieppe, on their return to Scotland, on the night of the 28th November 1558, supposed to have been poisoned. Lord Fleming, who was also suddenly taken ill at Dieppe, being the youngest of them, was not immediately cut off, and in the hope of recovery, hastened to Paris, where he died on the 15th December following, in the twenty-fourth year of his age. He married Lady Barbara Hamilton, eldest daughter of the regent duke of Chatelherault, and had by her one daughter.

      He was succeeded by his brother, John, fifth Lord Fleming, who was appointed great chamberlain of Scotland for life, by commission, dated 30th June 1565, and in 1567 he had a grant of the office of justiciary within the bounds of the overward of Clydesdale, and sheriffdom of Peebles, and governor of the castle of Dumbarton, which he secured for Queen Mary. He entered into the association on her behalf at Hamilton, 8th May 1568, and after the battle of Langside, he and Lord Livingston and the master of Maxwell, accompanied her majesty when she fled to Carlisle. He was forfeited by parliament, 17th November 1569. During the civil war that followed, he held out the castle of Dumbarton for the queen till it was taken by surprise on 2d April 1571, by Captain Thomas Crawford of Jordanhill, who scaled the rock during the night, and made prisoners of the garrison. Lord Fleming, the governor, managed to escape down the face of an almost perpendicular cleft or gully in the rock, and passing through a postern which opened on the Clyde, threw himself into a fishing-boat, and sailed over to Argyleshire. Thence he proceeded to France to obtain succours. He returned to Scotland in June 1572, and was mortally wounded by some French soldiers discharging their pieces for a volley on their entrance into Edinburgh, some of the bullets, rebounding from the causeway, having hit him above the knee, 5th July following. He was carried to the castle of Edinburgh, whence he was conveyed, in a litter, to Biggar, where he died of his wounds on the 6th September the same year. He married Elizabeth, only child of Robert, master of Ross, killed at Pinkie in 1547, and had a son, John, and three daughters. Among the prisoners taken at Dumbarton castle, when that fortress was surprised in 1571, was Lady Fleming, the wife of the governor. She was treated by the regent with great courtesy, and permitted to go free, and to carry away with her, her plate and furniture.

      John, sixth Lord Fleming, the only son, was created earl of Wigton, Lord Fleming and Cumbernauld, by patent dated at Whitehall, 19th March 1606. [See WIGTON, earl of.]

_____

      An ancient family of the name of Fleming possess the estate of Barochan in Renfrewshire. William Fleming (Flandrensis) of Barochan is mentioned as a witness to a charter granted by Malcolm earl of Lennox to Walter Spruel, in the reign of Alexander the Third, and in another charter of James high steward of Scotland, grandfather of Robert the Second. [Nisbet’s Heraldry, vol. i. p. 153, erroneously printed 192.] One of his successors, William Fleming of Barochan, was sheriff of Lanark in the reign of James the Fourth, and with six of his sons, was slain at the fatal battle of Flodden. In Crawfurd’s Description of Renfrewshire, and in the Old Statistical Account of Scotland, this laird of Barochan is called William, but in the New Statistical Account he receives the name of Peter, it being conjectured that he had two proper names. In those days, however, it was not usual for a person of his rank to bear more than one proper name. In 1488 William Fleming of Barochan was one of the arbiters betwixt the abbot of Paisley and the town of Renfrew. He was an expert falconer, and his tersel beat the falcon of James the Fourth, upon which the king took the hood from his favourite hawk, and put it on the tersel. The hood, which was richly ornamented with precious stones, and a pair of silver spurs which belonged to Fleming, are still preserved in the family. Most of the precious stones were stolen. One only remained of great value, but about 1832 it fell out, and not being missed at the time, it was lost. A few seed pearls only now remain. Falconry was long practised at Barochan. John Anderson, falconer on the estate, was present, in appropriate costume, under the patronage of the duke of Athol, at the coronation of George the Fourth. The above William or Peter Fleming, who by his wife Marion Houston, a daughter of the family of Houston, had seven sons, was succeeded by the youngest, James, from whom in direct descent was Alexander Fleming of Barochan who, with two of his sons, was in 1596 pursued at law by Patrick Maxwell of Dargavel, for the forcible abduction of Rebecca Maxwell his daughter. [Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials, vol. i. p. 377.] This was a crime rarely attempted but with heiresses. He died in September 1622. He was succeeded by his second son, William, the eldest having predeceased him. The son of this William, Malcolm Fleming of Barochan, married in 1780, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of William Fergusson of Doonholm in Ayrshire, and had by her, with four daughters, two sons, namely, John, who died young, and William Malcolm Fleming, who succeeded his father, on his death in 1818. William Malcolm Fleming of Barochan Tower, a magistrate and deputy lieutenant of Renfrew, and a commissioner of supply for that county, was at one period in the civil service of the East India Company in the Bengal presidency.

      One of the most striking antiquities of Renfrewshire is Barochan Cross, an ancient stone monument, the history of which is involved in obscurity. It is described in the Old Statistical Account, and in the Topographical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland, (under the article HOUSTON, in which parish it is situated). It first stood in the barony of Barochan on the side of the public road, but was removed by Malcolm Fleming of Barochan (who died in 1818) to a neighbouring hill, where the old mansion-house of Barochan formerly stood. This house is reputed to have been burnt by the English, during one of the invasions of Scotland by Edward the First. An engraving of Barochan Cross, which is eleven feet high, forms the frontispiece (both the east and the west sides being represented) of Hamilton of Wishaw’s Description of the shires of Lanark and Renfrew, printed by the Maitland Club in 1831, in one volume quarto.

      Sir Alexander Fleming of Ferm, commissary of Glasgow, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1666, but dying without issue, the title appears to have become extinct.

FLEMING, ROBERT, a much esteemed divine of the seventeenth century, author of the ‘Fulfilling of the Scripture,’ and other religious works, was born in 1630, at Bathans, or Yester, in East Lothian, of which parish his father, James Fleming, who was son-in-law of John Knox, having married Martha, the eldest daughter of the great reformer, was long the minister. The subject of this notice was his son by a second marriage. He was a very sickly child, and in his boyhood he nearly lost his life by the stroke of a club, which for some time affected his eyesight. These facts he himself recorded in a brief record found in manuscript after his decease, which he entitled ‘A short Index of some of the great appearances of the Lord in the dispensation of his providences to his poor servant.’ His choice of the ministry seems to have been fixed from a circumstance recorded in a short note in the ‘Index,’ where he specifies as a gracious manifestation from God, “a strange and extraordinary impression I had of an audible voice in the church at night, when being a child, I had got up to the pulpit, calling me to make haste.” After having acquired the usual rudimentary part of education, he was sent first to the university of Edinburgh, and afterward to that of St. Andrews, and at the latter place he studied divinity under Samuel Rutherford. “At the age of twenty, and probably at the close of his college life,” says one of his biographers, “and before he had been licensed to preach, we find him in the ranks of the Scottish army under David Leslie, but whether as a military volunteer in arms, or as a non-combatant, we cannot now discover. It is certain, however, that he was present at the disastrous conflict at Dunbar, and had a full share in its dangers, experiencing also, as he has noted in his ‘Index,’ ‘the Lord’s gracious and signal preservation and deliverance.’” He was soon after licensed, and in 1653, when the Church of Scotland was purely presbyterian, he was ordained minister of Cambuslang, in Lanarkshire, where he remained till after the Reformation. In 1662, in consequence of the passing of the Glasgow act, he was ejected, along with four hundred other ministers, on the attempt to establish episcopacy in Scotland. After this he resided mostly at Edinburgh and in Fifeshire, and other parts of Scotland, preaching when opportunity offered, till September 1673, when he was summoned, along with the ejected ministers in Edinburgh and its neighbourhood, to appear before the privy council, to receive sentence of imprisonment, and have the place of his ward appointed; on which he withdrew to London. During the following year his wife, who had remained in Scotland, died, when he ventured to return to his native country. On his journey north he fell under the York coach, the great wheel of which passed over his left leg, but without doing him any injury. After making some stay in Scotland, he returned to London, preaching, as formerly, among the presbyterian congregations of the English metropolis and the adjacent counties. In 1677 he received a call from the congregation of the Scots church at Rotterdam, to become their minister, which he cordially accepted. In 1678 he passed over to Edinburgh for the purpose of bringing his children to Holland with him. While in that city he ventured, in spite of the severe laws against holding conventicles, to collect meetings of his old friends, for preaching and devotional exercises, for which he was arrested and thrown into the Tolbooth, where he remained several months. A short time after the battle of Bothwell Bridge, he was brought before the council. He agreed to their demand to give bail for his appearance when called upon, but refused to consent to yield passive obedience to the royal authority, in all things, and was in consequence remanded to prison. He was soon, however, liberated, when he returned to Rotterdam. He was escorted to the ship by three of his friends, and after an interval of silence, he was overheard uttering to himself that “God will put a period to the race of the Stuarts, and that very shortly.” After the Revolution of 1688, he repeatedly visited London, where he remained several months at a time. During one of these visits, in the summer of 1694, he was attacked with his last illness, a fever. He died on the 25th July that year, in the fifty-eighth year of his age. He was the author of the following works:

      The Fulfilling of the Scripture: or an Essay, shewing the exact accomplishment of the word of God, in his works of providence performed, and to be performed; for confirming the believers, and convincing the atheists of the present time; containing in the end, a few rare histories of the works and servants of God in the church of Scotland. First part, Rotterdam, 1669, folio. The Second part, under the title of The Faithfulness of God, considered and cleared in the great event of his word, was afterwards published; and the Third part had the title of The Great Appearances of God for his church, under the New Testament; with many choice speeches of suffering and dying Christians. London, 1681, 2 vols. 12mo; 3d edition without name of place, 1681, 12mo. Reprinted in one volume folio in 1726. Numerous editions. An edition of The Fulfilling of the Scripture, with a Memoir of the Author, was issued by the Committee of the Free Church of Scotland for the publication of the works of Scottish Reformers and Divines in 1845, in 2 vols. 8vo.

      The Confirming work of Religion.

      The Treatise of Earthquakes.

      The one thing necessary.

      The Truth and Certainty of the Protestant Faith.

      The Epistolary Discourse, dedicated to Queen Mary. In two parts.

      The Survey of Quakerism.

      The present aspect of the Times.

      The Healing Work; written on account of divisions in Scotland.

      All these it was intended to have published in another folio, but the design was abandoned, and they are now extremely scarce.

      Sermon on Eccles. vii. 1. 1692, 8vo.

      Sermon on Jer. xviii. 7-11. 1692.

      Discourse, 1701. 8vo. – On Job xiv. 14. 1704, 8vo.

FLEMING, ROBERT, a learned and pious divine, author of ‘The Rise and Fall of the Papacy,’ and other religious works, son of the preceding, with whom he is often confounded, was born at Cambuslang, in Lanarkshire, during his father’s incumbency of that parish, although the precise year of his birth is now known. He received the rudiments of his education in Scotland, and studied for the ministry, first at the university of Leyden, and subsequently at that of Utrecht, in Holland. He has himself recorded in his ‘Christology,’ that, when very young, his overhearing his father declare in conversation with some friends, that he had bound himself by a solemn resolution, while at college, to prosecute the study of divinity for life, divesting himself, as far as possible, of all prejudices, whether of education, party, or interest, determined him to devote himself to the ministry, with a similar preparation. After having studied with great diligence and care, the classical writers, the philosophers of the heathen world, and the fathers of the Christian church, and made himself thoroughly master of the controversies of the day, he finally returned exclusively to the study of the bible. In 1688 he was, by several ministers of the Church of Scotland, at that time refugees in Holland, privately ordained to the ministry, but without being set apart, as pastor, over any particular charge. Soon after he repaired to England as domestic chaplain to a private family, and remained there for about four years. At this period he published several poetical productions, which, like many contemporary pieces of a similar kind, have passed into hopeless obscurity. On his return to Holland, he received, in 1692, an invitation from the English presbyterian church at Leyden, to become their minister, with which he complied. On the death of his father, two years thereafter, he received a call to his vacant charge at Rotterdam, and was accordingly inducted to the Scots church there in 1695. In little more than three years he received an invitation from the Presbyterian church congregation of Lothbury, London, to which King William the Third, who, when prince of Orange, had known him in Holland, added the weight of his personal request, and having accepted it, he removed to London, and became their minister in the middle of 1698. His majesty had such a high opinion of his learning, wisdom, and abilities, that he frequently consulted him on the affairs of Scotland, but so great was his modesty that his interviews with the king were always conducted in secrecy at his own express desire. He was held in high estimation both by churchmen and dissenters, and in particular was on terms of friendship with the archbishop of Canterbury and other church dignitaries. By the dissenting ministers of London, although he belonged to another communion, he was elected one of the preachers of the Merchants’ Tuesday Lecture at Salter’s Hall. Satisfied with his position, he not only refused several parochial charges in Scotland, but even declined the office of principal of the university of Glasgow, which had been placed within his reach by his kinsman Lord Carmichael, secretary of state for Scotland, and chancellor of that university, to whom he dedicated his ‘Discourses on Several Subjects’ published in 1701. In his dedication he mentions his being related to his lordship, and acknowledges his obligations for the offer of the principalship, which circumstances, he says, had compelled him to decline.

      After distinguishing himself by his writings as a firm friend to the British constitution and the protestant religion, Mr. Fleming died at London, May 24, 1716. Of the various sermons and tracts of which he was the author, the most celebrated is his ‘Discourse on the Rise and Fall of the Papacy,’ published in London in 1701. This remarkable work contains several passages founded on what he himself modestly calls a “conjectural” interpretation of the pouring out of the fourth vial in the Revelation, which strikingly coincide with the early events of the first French revolution, particularly as relates to the downfall of the monarchy. The Discourse, which had been almost forgotten for nearly a century, was by that astounding outbreak suddenly recalled to recollection. Fleming’s words, written in 1701, are: “There is ground to hope that about the beginning of another such century, things may again alter for the better; for I cannot but hope that some new mortification of the chief supporters of Antichrist will then happen; and, perhaps, the French monarchy may begin to be considerably humbled about that time; that whereas the present French king takes the sun for his emblem, and this for his motto, ‘nec pluribus impar,’ (a match for many,) he may at length, or rather his successors, and the monarchy itself, at least before the year 1794, be forced to acknowledge that in respect to neighbouring potentates he is even ‘singulis impar’ (not a match for one). But as to the expiration of this vial, I do fear it will not be until the year 1794.” And again, “We may justly suppose that the french monarchy, after it has scorched others, will itself consume by doing so, its fire, and that which is the fuel that maintains it, wasting insensibly, till it be exhausted towards the end of this century, as the Spanish monarchy did before towards the end of the sixteenth age.” It was in the commencement of 1793, when Louis the Sixteenth was about to die by the guillotine, that Fleming’s speculations, guesses, or conjectures, written ninety years before, and found to have been correct, were recalled to remembrance, and brought before public attention, not only by extracts published in newspapers, but by reprints of the work itself, both in England and America. It was also translated into different languages. After these events had passed away the work again fell into neglect, when the revolution of 1848 again brought it into notice. Referring to Italy, Fleming says, “The fifth vial, which is to be poured out on the seat of the Beast, or the dominions that more immediately belong to, and depend upon, the Roman see; that, I say, this judgment will probably begin about the year 1794, and expire about the year 1848.” The latter year, according to his interpretation of apocalyptical prophecy, he believes to be the date of the commencement of the downfall of the papal power, not rapid and sudden, but by gradual though sure decay. “We are not to imagine,” he says, “that this vial will totally destroy the Papacy (though it will exceedingly weaken it), for we find this still in being and alive when the next vial is poured out.” With regard to the pouring out of the sixth vial, current events (in 1853) give a wonderful significancy to his words. “The sixth vial,” he says, “will be poured out upon the Mohammedan Antichrist as the former was on the papacy; and seeing the sixth trumpet brought the Turks from beyond the Euphrates, from their crossing which river they date their rise, this sixth vial dries up their waves and exhausts their power, as the means and way to prepare and dispose the Eastern kings and kingdoms to renounce their heathenish and Mohammedan errors, in order to their receiving and embracing Christianity.” . . . “Supposing then that the Turkish monarchy should be totally destroyed between 1848 and 1900, we may justly assign seventy or eighty years longer to the end of the sixth seal, and but twenty or thirty at most to the last.” The year 2000 he calculates as the commencement of the millennium. A neat and carefully edited edition of ‘The Rise and Fall of the Papacy,’ reprinted from the edition of 1701, with an interesting memoir of the author, prefixed by the Rev. Thomas Thomson, was published at Edinburgh in 1849.

      Mr. Fleming’s works are:

      Poetical Paraphrase on the Song of Solomon; with other Poems. Lond. 1691, 8vo. This is the general title to the volume, but each portion of it has distinct paging and titles.

      Discourses on several subjects, viz. The Rise and Fall of the Papacy, &c. 1701. Various editions.

      A Practical Discourse on the Death of King William; with a Poetical Essay on his memory. Lond. 1702, 8vo.

      Christology; or a Discourse concerning Christ. London, 1705-8, 2 vols. 8vo.

      The First Resurrection; a Dissertation on the prior and special Resurrection of the most eminent Christian Witnesses. Lond. 1708.

      The Rod or the Sword; a Discourse from Ezekiel, chap. xxi. 13. Reprinted at London, subjoined to a Sermon on the Execution of Louis XVI. by Henry Hunter, D.D. London, 1793, 8vo.

      Speculum Davidicum Redivivum; or the Divine Right of the Revolution evinced and applied.

      Theocraty; or the Divine Government of Nations.

      The Mirror of Divine Love.

      The History of Hereditary Right.


Return to The Scottish Nation Index Page