This is an ancient name in Ireland, known to date back to the 12th Century shortly after the invasion of Henry 11 in 1171. The name means specifically "a man from Flanders" and was originally found as "Le Flamanc", one William Le Flamanc being so recorded in the Yorkshire Assize Rolls in 1219 A.D.. The name is also job descriptive, and "Le Flamanc" probably referred as much to the skills of a "Flemish weaver" as to the place of origin. In the early medieval period Flanders was the centre of all European textile industries and several English Kings offered "inducements" to persuade the Flemings to emigrate to Britain, and to set up manufacture.The Irish Flemings acquired considerable estates in Co. Meath for example Lord Slane of Slane Castle, but by supporting James 11 against William and Mary, (1690) were ultimately ruined. The name is now found in all Irish provinces, and has been particularly associated with the Church, in both denominations. Nicholas Fleming, Archbishop of Armagh (circa 1404 - 1416), the Rev. Richard Fleming (1542 - 1590) Professor of Philosophy, Paris, the most prominent theologian of his time, Rev. Patrick Fleming (1599 - 1631), author of the "Life of St. Columban" and the Rev. Thomas Fleming, Archbishop of Dublin (1593 - 1666). Recordings from Irish Church Registers include James Fleming, christened at St. Nicholas within Dublin on July 3rd 1694, and Thomas Fleming, who married a Sarah Aston at St. Peters, Dublin, on January 1st 1760. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Fleming, which was dated March 1st 1435, a christening witness at Slane, Co. Meath, during the reign of King Henry V1, "Founder of Eton College", 1422 - 1461. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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