Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fleming, Malcolm

FLEMING, Sir MALCOLM, Earl of Wigtown (d. 1360?), the son of Sir Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld, was, like his father, a staunch adherent of King Robert Bruce. He was appointed steward of the household to David, earl of Carrick, and continued to hold the office after the young prince [see Bruce, David, 1324–1371] succeeded to the throne. He was also bailie of Carrick, sheriff of Dumbarton, and keeper of the castle of Dumbarton, for which last-named office he had an annual salary of a hundred merks. He was engaged in the battle of Halidon in 1333, the loss of which by the Scots left their country at the mercy of Edward III, who quickly reduced it all to subjection, save four castles and an island peel, the principal of which was the castle of Dumbarton. Fleming had escaped from the battle-field, and hastening home, placed this castle in a position to hold out for any length of time. Hither, says Wyntoun, resorted all who yearned to live freely. Here too he kept safely David II and his queen, until the king of France sent means to convey them thence to France, whither Fleming accompanied them. On his return he received in the following year Robert, the steward of Scotland, afterwards Robert III, who had effected his escape from Rothesay. David II and his consort returned from France to Scotland on 4 May 1341, and the loyalty of Fleming was rewarded on 9 Nov. following by a royal charter, dated at Ayr, granting him and his heirs male the sheriffdom of Wigtown and other lands, and creating him Earl of Wigtown, with right of regality and special judicial powers. Fleming followed David II into England in 1346, and with him was taken prisoner at the battle of Durham, 17 Oct., conveyed to London and incarcerated in the Tower. After a lengthened captivity he was liberated, and took a prominent part in the negotiations for the ransom of David II. At the meeting of the Scottish parliament at Edinburgh on 26 Sept. 1357 he was appointed one of the commissioners to conclude the treaty at Berwick on 3 Oct. following, and his seal was appended to that document. He died about 1360, and was succeeded by his grandson Thomas, earl of Wigtown, who sold the earldom to Archibald, third earl of Douglas, 8 Feb. 1371–2. Fleming married a foster sister of King Robert Bruce, who was called Lady Marjory, countess of Wigtown. The royal connection is shown in the fact that in 1329 Fleming received a royal gift of money on the occasion of his son's marriage. He had one son, Thomas or John, who predeceased him, and two daughters: (1) Lady Marjory, who married William of Fawside, and received during her lifetime a grant of part of the crown lands of Clackmannan; (2) Lady Eva, who married John of Ramsay, and with her husband received from the king the thanage of Tannadice.

[Wyntoun's Chronicle, bk. viii. chaps. xxvii. xxviii. xl.; Fordun à Goodall; Rymer's Fœdera; Hailes's Annals, ii. 185, 186, 239, 267, iii. 110; Robertson's Index of Missing Charters; Registrum Magni Sigilli; Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, v. 43.]

H. P.