Baldwin De Bigar
They hailed from Flanders and were once merchants who traded with England, Scotland and Wales in the 12th century. Baldwin a distinguished Flemish leader, settled with his followers in Biggar in Lanarkshire, under grant of David I. He also became sheriff of Lanark under Malcolm IV and William the Lion.
The legend tells he was the "father" of the Folkunga Dynasty.
*** Ingevald Folkesson c. 1038 of Sverige (Sweden)
**** "Earl" Folke Ingevaldsson ("The Fat" Earl Folke of Sweden) c.1067 d. Flanders, Belgium
***** Knut Folkesson (de Flanders) c. 1100 of Gavere, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium d. Lanarkshire, Scotland
****** Sir Baldwin De Bigar c .1150 m. Margaret Ava de Huntington (Princess of Scotland) daughter of David Of (Prince of Scotland) ?
Biggar and The House of Flemming
The first proprietor of Biggar, of whom we know anything, was Baldwin, who at first was styled Baldwin Flamingus, but who afterward, as was the usual custom of the period, took also from his lands the title of Biggar. He was appointed by Malcolm IV., the grandson and successor of David I., to the office of Sheriff of Lanarkshire—the shire of Lanark, at that period, including also the territory now forming the county of Renfrew. He, along with his stepson John, settled at Duneaton, and gave his name as Crawfordjohn.
Baldwin was succeeded by his son Valdeve, who, most likely, was also appointed to the office of Sheriff of Lanarkshire, as this office seems to have continued in the Biggar family for several generations. The most remarkable incident in his life, that has been preserved, is his capture by the English, along with William I., surnamed the Lion, at the siege of Alnwick Castle, in 1174. It may be stated, that the kings, of Scotland, some time previous to this period, held considerable possessions in the north of England, and had been deprived of them by the superior power of the English. William the Lion made a demand for the restoration of these provinces, but Henry, the English king, refused to comply. William, therefore, proclaimed war against Henry; and, during the year 1173, inroads were made, on both sides, into the territories of each other; and though much property was destroyed, and many lives lost, yet no decisive advantage was gained. Next year, William levied a numerous but undisciplined host, consisting of Scots, Flemings, and Gallowaymen, and invaded England. He laid siege to Alnwick Castle; but on the 13th of July 1174, with a lamentable want of prudence and caution, he separated himself from the main body of his army, and, attended by Valdeve of Biggar and about sixty horsemen, rode to some distance. The day was dark and misty, and, before they were aware, a body of horsemen had approached within a few hundred yards of them. The King at first took them to be a detachment of his own army; but they soon turned out to be a party of four hundred Englishmen, headed by several gallant Yorkshire barons, who had mustered this force, and were hasting to the assistance of their countrymen. When the King perceived his mistake, he disdained to flee, but cried out, ‘ Let it now appear who among you are good knights,’ and instantly charged against the foe. The King and his followers fought desperately, but, in the end, were overpowered by superiority of numbers; and the king, Valdeve of Biggar, and others were taken, prisoners.
For several generations, nothing very remarkable regarding the family of Biggar is known. Their names, however, appear very frequently as witnesses of important charters granted by the Scottish kings and barons, and the abbots of religious houses. For instance, William Flandrensis, most likely a son of Valdeve of Biggar, along with Hugo Cancellarius, who died in 1199, witnessed a deed of William I. to the monks of Kelso, and also a charter of the same monarch confirming the teinds of Linlithgow to the nuns of Manuel. He was also a witness of a donation of Richard le Bard to the monastery of Kelso, which was confirmed by Alexander n. in 1228. Hugh of Biggar, a grandson of Valdeve by his son Robert, as patron of the Church of Strathaven, granted, on the 14th February 1228, to St Machute’s of Lesmahagow, and the monks there, in pure and perpetual gift, all the tithe land of Richard le Bard lying on the south part of the river Avon, the great Kyp, the lesser Kyp, Glengenel, Polnebo, and Louchere. The names of the witnesses to this charter are interesting, showing some of the principal men then holding possessions in the neighborhood of Biggar. They were William Fleming, probably the under of the donor, Malcolm Loccard, most likely of Symington, Robert of Robertstun, Radulph of Cormaoeston, and Richard parson of Coulter. Peter of Biggar is mentioned in a charter of Anneis de Brus, granting the Church of Wodekyirch, or Thankerton, to the monks of Kelso; but, as is commonly the case in very old charters, the precise date is not given.
In 1232, Symon of Biggar is a witness of a charter of the Archbishop of Glasgow, transferring the Churches of Roberton, Wiston, Symington, Dunsyre, etc., to the monks of Kelso. Sir Malcolm Fleming, most likely a son of William formerly mentioned, witnessed the donation of the Church of Largs to the monastery of Paisley, by Walter, the High Steward, who died in 1246. In a charter of Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, of which he was a witness, he is styled, ‘ Vice Comes de Dunbarton,* which shows that during the reign of Alexander III. he had been appointed to the office of Sheriff of that county. Nicholas of Biggar, Knight, is mentioned in a deed dated at Lesmahagow in the year 1269, and he appears to have been Sheriff of Lanarkshire in 1273. He died previous to 1292, when the marriage of his wife Mary, and the ward and marriage of his daughters Marjory and Ada, were granted by Edward I. of England to Robert, Bishop of Glasgow. It has been asserted by some writers, that the Lairds of Biggar to whom we have already referred, were a different family from the Flemings who afterward were proprietors and superiors of this barony. A Fleming, they say, married one of the daughters of Sir Malcolm de Biggar just referred to, and receiving with her the lands of Biggar became the progenitor of the family who possessed the Biggar estate for some centuries. So far, however, as we can ascertain, this assertion is based entirely on conjecture.
An Account of the Biggar District, Archaeological, Historical and Biographical by William Hunter (1862)
According to research, Sir Nicolas De Biggar died with no male heirs, if this is correct so does the name.
Timeline Problems Recorded In History
(Irish and Scotch records to the date 26 April 1135 when one Bigger High Chamberlain of Scotland visited King William at Northumberland. Four miles south of Edinburgh laid and still lays the Bigger district and town of Bigger and in the old rains of Boghall Castle existed to a latedate the Bigger crest with the name "Hugh de Bigger" identical with thecrest illustrated in "Fairbaims Book of Crests 2 V" published by T. & E.Jack, Edinburgh and London.)
The earliest known English account of the name Biggar comes from the time of William the Conquer and the Norman invasion of England in. There was a gentleman by the name of Robert de Biggar, a Clan chieftain who was a valiant fighter under William. In recognition of his efforts on Williams behalf, he was given an Earldom and large tracks of land in the lowlands of Scotland, along the border with England, approximately 1066 or 1086 upon taking the Oath of Salisbury, making him directly responsible to the Crown.
During this time the castle was stormed, overran and some of the last remaining Biggars fled. The bailiff of Biggar under orders apparently chased them out from the Throne. The movement of the Biggars and Fleming’s from Edinburgh to Kirkcudbrightshire, ancestral seat of the Stuart Family with whom the Biggars were aligned through marriage occurred at this time.
David II was a weak and incompetent king whose administration was so wracked with corruption and greed that when Robert Stuart II (reigned 1371-1390), assumed the Throne of Scotland, many of David's supporters had their lands taken from them. Many Biggar lands were taken and given into the possession of the Kennedys, Earls of Wigton, descendants of the Fleming’s. The castle at Woolmet now belongs to the Earl of Wemyess.
This Castle at Woolmet they refer to is not Woolmet House (Major John Biggar). It is believed the house may have been built over the area where the castle once stood.
In August 1086 William I summoned ‘landowning men of any account’ to attend at Salisbury and swear allegiance to him and to be faithful against all other men. The oath was demanded at a time of crisis when the Conqueror was facing revolt and invasion.
RED BLOOD CUMMINGS
Sometime after 1261, a man by the name of Red Blood Cummings returned to Scotland from the Crusades. He was given the name Red Blood because, in the heat of battle, he was always covered with the blood of the slain. This man fell deeply in love with Mary Biggar, against the will and wishes of her family. The Earl of Woolmet had Red Blood slain on the castle steps. It was said that so many arrows were protruding from Cummings body that he looked like a porcupine. Since the Cummings was very well connected with the royal house of England under Henry II (reigned 1216-1272), they were able to bring great pressure to bear on the Biggars for this outrage. This infighting between the Cummings and the Biggars continued for almost 300 years.