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Ponts Map of Cumbernauld Castle Cumbernauld Castle actually refers to two castles which are roughly on the site of the now Cumbernauld House. The first castle was owned by the Comyn Family and was granted to the Fleming family after Robert the Bruce killed John 'the Red' Comyn in 1306 in Greyfriars kirk. The Motte of this Motte and Bailey castle can still be made out in Cumbernauld House Park just north east (appx 360 Metres) of Cumbernauld House. The Fleming family then constructed the second and larger castle on the site. When the Flemings came to construct their castle at the end of the 14th century, the best they would have been able to build would have been a strong stone tower. The country was much too improverished to permit anything more ambitious, such as the great courtyard strongholds built before the death of Alexander III. Such a tower would have been an "L-Plan", a rectangular block with a wing projecting at the end of one of the long sides. A few small timber or stone outbuildings would also have been attached. As time went on, and the power and influence of the family grew, the castle would have been enlarged by the addition of other stone structures, such as a great hall for festive occasions. In March 1544, an unexpected English visitor, Edmund Storey, a servant of Thomas Wharton, described his reception; "On the morrow, in riding towards Stirling, we came to Lord Fleming's castle of Cumbernall, and alighted near the castle gates, at which the Scotsman knocked and told the porter that a servant of the Master of Maxwell's came with a message. Thus I got access to Flemyng and said that a servant of Lord Wharton's was at the gates with letters for him. He was astonished, but sent for me, I thereupon delivered him the King's letters both to him and Maxwell. He kissed the letters and took off his bonnet, saying: "Jesus benedicite! how thou durst come hither into this country? but I am glad that thou art come to my house, and since thou art here the highest stone shall be the lowest ere thou shalt take any skaith." "[1] The site of the castle is where Cumbernauld house stands today and although the original tower has disappeared, blocks of its masonry can be picked out amongst the stones used to construct Cumbernauld House. Part of the courtyard buildings are still standing, particularly the wall that separates the lower service area from the car park. on the lower side of this there is a long row of corbels or projecting stones, of a distinctive 16th century pattern, designed to support timbers of a lean to building. The castle played host to the royalty of Scotland, including Mary, Queen of Scots, who visited the castle and planted a yew tree at Castlecary Castle, only a mile or two away, which still grows there. The whole great hall collapsed while the queen was staying there on 26 January 1562, and 7 or 8 men were killed.[2] Most of the queen's party were out hunting, Mary was not hurt and visited the relatives of those who were injured or killed in the village below. After the new house was built, the castle was converted to stables, and was burnt down by dragoons posted here in 1746. One original wall can still be seen in the allotment area. James IV wooed Margaret Drummond at Cumbernauld Castle, where Margaret's sister was married to Lord Fleming. The Drummonds' sisters lie buried in Dunblane Cathedral following their poisoning by a government determined to marry an unwilling King James to the sister of Henry VIII of England, Margaret Tudor. The murders made James IV a frequent visitor to Cumbernauld, Margaret Tudor accompanying him on one occasion. Mary Fleming was one of the four "Queen's Maries". Mary and her brother, Lord Fleming of Cumbernauld went into exile with Mary, Queen of Scots in France. In 1558, Lord Fleming was one of the Scottish Commissioners arranging the Queen's marriage to the Dauphin of France. Fleming and other commissioners died mysteriously on the voyage home, poison being suspected. Ponts Map of Cumbernauld In 1963-64, Cumbernauld Historical society, in co-operation with Glasgow archaeological society excavated an area to the north east of Cumbernauld House and uncovered part of the domestic periphery of the castle, comprising a 15th century rubbish chute, an adjoining prison and cellar and a well-house reached by a flight of steps. In 1981-82 Cumbernauld and Kilsyth district museums excavated an area adjacent to the earlier excavation and found a cobbled courtyard, the base of a circular building and significant walling. These excavations have been filled back in. References ^ Letters and Papers Henry VIII, vol. 19 part 1 (1903) no. 299 (3) & footnote (here returned to 1st person) ^ Calendar of State Papers Scotland, vol. 1, (1898), p. 597, no. 1071. CKDC Museums Fact Sheet - The Fleming Castle. A history of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth from earliest times - Hugo B Millar Cumbernauld Allotments Association Cumbernauld, Monklands Online "Days Gone By", Friends of Cumbernauld Glen