Former Pupil Biographies
David Hay Fleming (1849 – 1931)
|FLEMING, DAVID HAY: Scotch Presbyterian; b. at St.
Andrews, Scotland, May 9, 1849. He studied at Madras College, St.
Andrews and then engaged in business (his family had a china and
stoneware business, which he sold in 1883 to devote himself to the
study of Scotch history.
In 1904-06 he was lecturer on church history in New College,
Edinburgh. In theology he was an old school Presbyterian and a staunch
Among his writings those of theological interest are The Martyrs
and Confessors of St. Andrews (Cup-Fife, 1887); Mary Queen of
Scots from her Birth to her Flight into England (London, 1897);
The Scottish Reformation (Edinburgh, 1903); and The Story o f
the Scottish Covenants in Outline (1904). He has also edited
Register of the Ministers, Elders, and. Deacons of the Christian
Congregation of St. Andrews, Comprising the Proceedings of the Kirk
Session and of the Court of the Superintendent of Fife, Fothrik, and
Strathearn, 1669-1600 (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1889-90); A. F.
Mitchell's Scottish Reformation (Baud Lectures for 1899, 1900);
and Patrick Walker's Six Saints of the Covenant (2 vols.,
David Hay Fleming was an eminent local historian,
antiquary, and critic. His papers are eclectic in nature, including
16th century trades books, 18th century University records, 19th
century local records, personal correspondence, household accounts,
newspaper cuttings, and notebooks, with an emphasis on local and
ecclesiastical history. A prolific writer, Hay Fleming kept many notes
from his preparations for publications, as well as drafts of works. He
was also keen to document St Andrews' history, copying many of the
manuscripts contained within the town archive. Much of Hay Fleming's
archive is composed of correspondence, with topics ranging from
archaeological finds, architecture, and Scottish history, to
bibliographical matters, genealogy, and breeding horses. Many of Hay
Fleming's letters to W A Craigie (1867-1957) discuss the meanings and
spellings of words. The 'St Andrews Standard Guide' was
published for many years and was based on his research, describing him
as 'The Historian of St Andrews'.
An independent scholar, and eminent local historian and antiquary, upon
his death in 1931 Hay Fleming bequeathed his personal papers, letters, and
notebooks, together with around 13000 books, to the town of St Andrews.
They were to form the nucleus of a public reference library, with the
proceeds of an endowment to be spent on works which would encourage and
facilitate the study of Scottish history. The Hay Fleming Reference
Library opened to the public in November 1936. Accommodated first in
Kinburn House, and then at the Town Library, it was transferred into the
custody of St Andrews University Library in 2000.
The 'Old Boys Chronicle' in the
Madras College Magazine
for December 1904
"The 'Old Boys' of earlier and of later standing are everywhere giving a
good account of themselves. Even while it is impossible here to refer to
all who are eminent, the names of a few may now be set on record as
bringing every credit to their former school .... Dr Hay Fleming is every
day adding to his established repute as an authority on Scottish History ..."
In 'The Madras College' Dr Thompson wrote:
"Dr Hay Fleming, whose writings did so much to encourage
the scholarly study of Scottish history, is remembered by the library he
built up and left to the town."