Old Photograph Grave Of Jamie Fleeman Longside Scotland

Old photograph of the grave of Jamie Fleeman in Longside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Jamie was born in Longside, in 1713 and was one of three children. His precise date of birth is not given but he is recorded as being baptised on 7 April 1713. Few details are known about his father except he was a crofter who was also named James Fleming. There is also scant information about his mother other than that she drowned in a deep pool beside the Bridge of Ludquharn. The pool became known as " Fleeman's Pot ". Fleeman's sister, Martha, was a Presbyterian and often conversed by quoting Psalms and had the reputation of being demented. Fleeman's brother is believed to have died aboard HMS Serapis. Jamie becames best known as " the Laird of Udny's Fool " or " the Laird of Udny's Fule " in the Scots language. Although described as a fool, he had a reputation for his clever, witty repartee and many anecdotal tales of his actions are re-capped. He was specifically mentioned in the 1845 Statistical Accounts of Scotland and characterised in novels. Fleeman is associated with the Countess of Erroll and was used by her to carry messages to Jacobite rebels. He was probably the last family jester in Scotland. During a summer evening of 1778, Fleeman became soaked in a heavy rain storm. He quickly developed a fever, which then turned to jaundice. He received no offers of help and spent time wandering between different houses but no one was willing to give him shelter. Fleeman's weakened state caused him to rapidly become emaciated and lose his strength. He eventually found shelter in a barn at Little Ardiffery, in the parish of Cruden. He secured the barn door with a piece of planking and fell asleep. A short while later, some farm labourers, unaware Fleeman was sleeping behind the door, forced it open causing the plank to strike Fleeman's head. The severity of his injury was not discovered until some hours later; he was then taken to the kitchen and his wound attended to. Fleeman insisted he wanted to return to Longside, some eight miles distant. He took a whole day to walk back to his sister's cottage in Kinmundy. Two days later, Fleeman died. Two versions of his last words are given; they were either: " I'm of a gentle persuasion, dinna bury me like a beast " or " I'm a Christian, dinna bury me like a beast. "

All photographs are copyright of Sandy Stevenson, Tour Scotland, and may not be used without permission.

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