Cumbernauld is interpreted from the Gaelic as ” the meeting of the waters” – in reference to the Bog Stank and the Red Burn which are within the Cumbernauld Park area.
Its history stretches to Roman times, with a settlement near the Antonine Wall. The Antonine Wall was the furthest and most northerly boundary of the Roman Empire. The security that the wall gave from possibly hostile tribes to the north probably allowed the foundation of a settlement. A rural population grew in the area where Cumbernauld’s housing estates now stand, with the centrepoints being Cumbernauld House.
The House stands on the site of the old Cumbernauld Castle , first build in the Norman motte and bailey style and later embellished. First owned by the Comyns, and then by the Flemings, 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 roof of the great hall within Cumbernauld Castle collapsed while the queen was staying there, and although she was not hurt, she visited the relatives of those who were injured or killed in the village.
Royalty often visited the town to hunt the mysterious Scottish ox, or white cattle which roamed the woods around Cumbernauld. These woods were a surviving fragment of the ancient Caledonian Forrest, in which the oxen abounded.
In 1651, Cromwell’s General, George Monck, beseiged Cumbernauld Castle, Monck billeted English troops in Cumbernauld village. Cumbernauld house was built in 1731 for the Fleming’s of Cumbernauld. The last Lord Fleming died childless in1747.
The estate passed to the Elphinstone family – Charles Elphinstone – Fleming, laird from 1799-1840, had retired as admiral and was MP for Stirlingshire. His son Lieutenant – Colonel John Elphinstone-Fleming, died unmarried in1861. John Elphinstone- Fleming was succeeded by his nephew from Canterbury, Cornwallis Maude-Fleming, Son of Lord Hawarden. Cornwallis was killed in action fighting the Boers at Majuba Hill, Transvaal in 1881.
The Cumbernauld Estate was sold to William Burns, A businessman who made his wealth from shipping , they remained in the house until the Burns family sold the estate to the Government for new town development in 1955. Cumbernauld House was used by the architect’s who planned and designed the new town. In 1996 Cumbernauld House was gifted to North Lanarkshire Council by Cumbernauld Development Corporation who had been wound up under local goverment re-organisation. In 1997 North lanarkshire sold the historical house to a private business,rather than keep it for use of the local community.