According to local legend, William Wallace dressed as a pedlar in order to pass a guarded crossing (Cadger’s Brig) and spy on the English Army camp before the Battle of Biggar. However, there is no evidence that there was anything other than a ford here, and the Battle of Rosslyn happened at the same date (questioning the plausibility of the tale).
Biggar is located within the Barony of the Fleming Family (possibly so-called due to their origin in Flanders, although the family arrived from England at the time of Henry II). In the 12th Century Baldwin the Fleming was Sheriff of Lanarkshire, remains of his Motte castle are to be found in the grounds of Moat Park Manse, the Bailey was destroyed in the 19th Century in order to create a croquet lawn (the skateboard park of its day). No excavations have taken place on the Motte, so its role in the Wars of Independence cannot be determined.
Nearby is the Parish Church of St Mary’s, which was originally constructed in the 12th Century; it was replaced by the building we see today on the same site in 1547. This was to be the last Catholic church constructed in Scotland prior to the Reformation.
Clydesdale’s history is celebrated at the Moat Park Museum, which has a wealth of interesting archaeological exhibits. This is but one of many museums in Biggar, each one amply rewards their visitors with a fascinating array of artifacts.