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FLEMING FLEMMING Northern Ireland to Australia

Our Surname is “Flemming” and this indicates that the deeper origin of my family is from the County of Flanders which is now part of Belgium. When they first arrived in UK the name was written as Flandrensis but eventually changed to Le Fleming and then to Fleming or Flemming. Both spellings have been used by my family over the generations.

My family were branded with the surname of Fleming after they arrived in England possibly with William Le Conqueror in 1066. Many Flemish accompanied him at the Battle of Hastings though not all were given our particular surname.

The wife of William the Conqueror was Matilda of Flanders and she was the daughter of the Count of Flanders so as she was their queen many Flemish people went to England with her and also later in the train of another Flemish Queen by the name of Maud.

They were rewarded with lands and titles along with many Normans for their faithful service to the King. In England and Scotland they helped build many of the ancient Castles and filled them with beautiful Flemish Tapestries, Flemish tiles and Flemish pottery. The Flemish people in general had a great influence in England and Scotland pre 1900s.

My Fleming family along with many other Flemish people were then booted out of England by King Henry and so moved north to Scotland for a few generations. Life in Scotland was far from peaceful to say the least as crowns changed hands at the swing of an axe so due to religious persecution many Fleming families moved to Ireland and Northern Ireland.

My Robert Fleming was born in County Tyrone in the 1852 and his two older sisters Margaret and Jane were born in the 1830s. Their parents John Fleming and Mary Griffin were simple farmers. John Fleming also earned income as a bootmaker as life was not easy in Northern Ireland during the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Robert’s two sisters Jane and Margaret decided to leave the town of Drumquin in 1854 and arrrived on the ship “China” after travelling via Liverpool. They already had relatives in the colony by the surname of Griffin and Grfffith . These were related to their mother Mary who was born at Dromore, Tyrone, Northern Ireland in the early 1800s. Her parents were a Welsh peasant farmers by the name of Alexander Griffin and Jane Sommefield or Sommerville. Many of their sons had came to Australia in the 1840s and some of their daughters had shipped off to the USA or Canada.

News from Australia must have been good as Robert decided to follow his two sisters in 1879 leaving behind his mother. His father was probably already deceased by this time so a new life in Australia and being reunited with other family members must have been good enough reasons to cut ties with his home back in County Tyrone.

Mr Robert FLEMMING lived to 86 years of age and was the oldest living member of the Protestant Alliance Lodge which he joined when he first arrived in Orange in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. The Lodge was then known as The Orange Benefit Society.

Shortly after his arrival in Australia in 1879 he shared a farm with his sister, Mrs. Margaret GRIFFITH, at March. He later married and made his home in Orange where he raised a family of ten.

Mr Robert FLEMMING had 25 Grandchildren and was one of the first pioneering farmers of the Orange District. He arrived in Orange at the age of 27 years leaving County Tyrone Northern Irealnd, where he was born. He made his first home in Nile Street after his marriage to Rebecca Charlotte GREEN of “WELLWOOD” ORANGE in 1883. She predeceased him by 23 years in 1913.

Although he was a keen cricket enthusiast his main interest was in cultivating chrysanthemums.

His flowers were well known at the Bathurst and Orange District Shows. Robert Flemming spent most of his life in ORANGE and had many old friends in the town. He was a faithful member of the Congregational Church and he was interred in the Methodist Portion of the Orange Cemetery.

As a direct descendant of Robert Flemming who came from Drumquin & Dromore, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland I am very grateful that my ancestor chose to come to Australia to live. I am sure the choice was not an easy one. We also have a distant dna cousin match with the surname of FLANDREAU. Please email me if interested in this line of Fleming/Flemming. jflemming@iprimus.com.au or jayjaybird7@hotmail.com


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