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The Great Historic Families of Scotland
The Frasers

THE Frasers, like most of the other great Scottish houses, were of Norman descent. Their original designation was Frissell, which occurs in the roll of Battle Abbey, and is still given to them in various parts of the country. As is the case with most of the old Scottish families, a fabulous origin is ascribed to the Frasers, whose ancestor, it is pretended, came to Scotland in the reign of Charlemagne, along with the French ambassadors whom that great monarch is said to have sent to form a league with King Achaius. Some have suggested that they descend from the tribe called Friselii in Roman Gaul, whose badge was a strawberry plant. The truth of these stories is unknown but it is generally believed that the name Fraser traces its origins to the French provinces of Anjou and Normandy. The Fraser arms are silver strawberry flowers on a field of blue. Only the Chief is entitled to use these arms plain and undifferenced.

The first generation on record included Simon Fraser of Keith, Gilbert Fraser of East Lothian, and Bernard Fraser of East Lothian, although it is not known if they were brothers or otherwise related. They first appear in Scotland around 1160 when SIMON FRASER made a gift of a church at Keith in East Lothian, to the monks at Kelso Abbey. These lands eventually passed to a family who became Earls Marischal of Scotland after adopting Keith as their name.

The Frasers moved into Tweeddale in Peebleshire in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and from there into the counties of Stirling, Angus, Inverness and Aberdeen. The second generation on record, believed to have been the sons of GILBERT FRASER of East Lothian, were Oliver Fraser, Udard Fraser, and Thomas Fraser, whose posterity is unknown.

OLIVER FRASER built Oliver Castle (no longer in existence), but died without issue. UDARD FRASER, alive in 1200 AD in East Lothian, from whom all Frasers are thought to be descended, was the father of Sir Bernard Fraser, Sir Gilbert Fraser, and Adam Fraser.

SIR BERNARD FRASER, first of Touch-Fraser, Vicomes of Stirling in 1234, had a daughter Helen who became a nun. SIR GILBERT FRASER, first of Oliver Castle, inherited from his brother, Touch-Fraser, was the father of John Fraser (d. ante 1263), Sir Simon Fraser (d. ante 1283), Sir Andrew Fraser (d. ante 1308), and William Fraser (d. 1297), Bishop of St. Andrew’s and Guardian of Scotland. ADAM FRASER, first of Drumelzier & Hales, was the father of Sir Laurence Fraser of Drumelzier & Hales, whose son Laurence died without issue; and Sir Alexander Fraser (d. ante 1296) who had two sons, namely, Sir William Fraser of Drumelzier, whose daughter became the ancestress of the Tweedies of Drumelzier; and Bernard Fraser, who was the progenitor of a large number of the Frasers who later settled in Inverness-shire and followed Lovat, although they were not descended from Lovat, but from Drumelzier. These were the Frasers of Fruid, Tain, Munlochy, Phopachy, Dunballoch, Newton, Kingillie and Fanellan.

WILLIAM FRASER, the celebrated Bishop Fraser of St. Andrews, 1279-97, and Guardian of Scotland, 1274-80, was the counsellor of Sir William Wallace, and one of the earliest defenders of the rights and liberties of the kingdom. He was one of the Lords of the Regency chosen by the States during the minority of the infant Queen Margaret, the ‘Maiden of Norway.’ After her death he was appointed by King Edward one of the guardians of Scotland, and rendered an enforced homage to that monarch. He took a prominent part in asserting the independence of Scotland against the violation of its rights and liberties by the English king, and was one of the commissioners who concluded a treaty, offensive and defensive, with Philip, King of France.

Sir Gilbert’s eldest son was JOHN FRASER (d. ante 1263), who was the father of SIR RICHARD FRASER of Touch-Fraser, Vicomes of Berwick, whose son SIR ANDREW FRASER of Touch-Fraser (d. ante 1297), Vicomes of Stirling, had four sons, namely, Sir Alexander Fraser (k. 1332, Dupplin), progenitor of the Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun [for whom, see below]; Sir Simon Fraser (k. 1333, Halidon Hill, Berwick), progenitor of the Frasers of Lovat, Lords Lovat [for whom, see The Frasers of Lovat]; Sir Andrew Fraser (k. 1333); and Sir James Fraser, first of Frendraught (k. 1333), whose line ended with his great grand-daughter Mauld Fraser who married Alexander Dunbar of Moray. Another son of John Fraser (d. ante 1263) and the younger brother of Sir Richard Fraser of Touch-Fraser, was SIR ALEXANDER FRASER, first of Corntoun, progenitor of the Frasers of Corntoun, Kinmundie & Muchalls, Lords Fraser, now extinct [for whom, see below].

Sir Gilbert’s second son, SIR SIMON FRASER of Oliver Castle (d. ante 1283), was High Sheriff of Tweeddale, 1263-66. His son SIR SIMON FRASER (d. 1291) was the father of SIR SIMON FRASER the patriot, executed in London in 1306.

SIR SIMON FRASER was the renowned warrior and patriot, and the bosom friend of Sir William Wallace. His grandfather held the office of High Sheriff of Tweeddale, and his father was one of the Scottish magnates who took part in the discussions respecting the pretensions of the various claimants to the Scottish crown, and supported the rights of Baliol. The great Sir Simon adhered faithfully to the cause of John Baliol till that weak and wavering personage betrayed his own cause, and surrendered the crown in 1296 to Edward I.

Sir Simon had evidently been regarded by the English monarch as unfriendly to his claims, for when Edward invaded Scotland in 1296, he carried Sir Simon with him to England, and kept him there a close prisoner for eight months. In June 1297, Sir Simon and his cousin received permission to pay a visit to Scotland, on giving their pledge to return, and accompany Edward on his projected expedition to France. The Frasers, however, like most of the nobles of that day, and even the clergy of the highest rank, seem to have regarded promises extorted by force or threats as not binding; and when Sir William Wallace, after the battle of Falkirk, resigned his double office as Guardian of the Kingdom, and General of the Army, Sir Simon was chosen to succeed him as commander of the Scottish forces, while Sir John Comyn of Badenoch was appointed Guardian. In 1303, an English army of thirty thousand men, in violation, it was alleged, of a truce which had been agreed upon between the Scots and English, invaded Scotland, and advanced to Roslin, a few miles from Edinburgh. They were divided into three bodies, encamped at a considerable distance from each other. The Scottish leaders, Sir Simon Fraser and Sir John Comyn, hearing of these hostile movements, made a rapid night march from Biggar at the head of ten thousand men, and next day (February 25th) attacked and defeated these three divisions in succession in one day.

Incensed at this defeat, King Edward invaded Scotland at the head of a powerful army, with which the Scots were quite unable to cope in the open field. Comyn and most of the great nobles made submission to the invader, but Sir Simon Fraser firmly refused to lay down his arms, and was, in consequence, expressly excepted from the conditions of the capitulation made at Strathorde [Strathearn?], on the 9th of February, 1303-4. Sir Simon remained in concealment in the north till 1306, when he joined Robert Bruce, who, in that year, was crowned at Scone. He was present at the battle of Methven (19th June 1306), where he performed prodigies of valour, and is said to have rescued and remounted the King when his horse was killed under him. According to one account, Sir Simon made his escape from the field along with Bruce, and was treacherously seized at Restalrig, near Edinburgh, in 1307 [1306?], by the retainers of one of the Comyns. But a different account of his apprehension is given in a manuscript chronicle in the British Museum, quoted by Ritson. After noticing the defeat of the Scots, the chronicler thus proceeds:—

‘When Robert the Bruce saw this mischief, and gan to flee and hov’d him, that men might not him find; but S. Simond Frisell pursued was so sore, so that he turned again and abode bataille, for he was a worthy knight, and a bolde of bodye, and the English pursued him sore on every side, and quelde the steed that Sir Simon Frisell rode upon, and then toke him and led him to the host. And S. Symond began for to flatter and speke fair, and saide, "Lordys, I shall give you four thousand markes of silver, and mine horse and harness, and all my armour and income." Tho’ answered Thobaude of Pevenes, that was the King’s archer, "Now God me so helpe, it is for nought that thou speakest; for all the gold of England I would not let thee go without commandment of King Edward." And tho’ he was led to the King, and the King would not see him, but commanded to lead him away to his doom in London, on Our Lady’s own nativity. And he was hung and drawn, and his head smitten off and hanged again with chains of iron upon the gallows, and his head was set at London Bridge upon a spear, and against Christmas the body was burnt for encheson (reason) that the men that keeped the body saw many devils ramping with iron crooks running upon the gallows, and horribly tormenting the body. And many that them saw, anon thereafter died for dread, or waxen mad, or sore sickness they had.’

A ballad which appears to have been written at the time gives an account of the cruel and barbarous treatment which the English king disgraced himself by giving to a knight conspicuous among his contemporaries for his high deeds of chivalry, as well as personal gallantry. After mentioning how Sir Simon was brought into London, with a garland of green leaves on his head, to show that he was a traitor, the writer goes on to say—

‘Y-fettered were his legs under his horse’s wombe,
Both with iron and with steel manacled were his hond,
A garland of pervynk set upon his heved ;
Much was the power that him was bereved
In land,
So God me amend,
Little he ween’d
So to be brought in hand.

* * * *

‘With fetters and with gives y-hot he was to draw
From the Tower of London, that many men might know,
In a kirtle of burel, a selcouth wise,
And a garland on his head of the new guise.
Through Cheape
Many men of England
For to see Symond
Thitherward can leap.

‘Though he cam to the gallows first he was on hung,
All quick beheaded that him thought long;
Then he was y-opened, his bowels y-brend,
The heved to London-bridge was send
To shende.
So evermore mote I the,
Some while weened he
Thus little to stand.

* * * *

‘Now standeth the heved above the tu-brigge
Fast by Wallace sooth for to segge;
After succour of Scotland long may he pry,
And after help of France what halt it to lie.
I ween,
Better him were in Scotland
With his axe in his hand
To play on the green,’ &c.

Sir Simon Fraser the patriot, executed in 1306, left no male issue, and with him expired the old line of the Frasers of Oliver Castle, whose grandfather Sir Simon Fraser (d. ante 1283) was the second son of Sir Gilbert Fraser, first inhabitant of Oliver Castle, and one of the most powerful families in Tweeddale. His two daughters inherited his extensive estates. The elder married Sir Gilbert [Hugh] Hay and became the ancestress of the Marquess of Tweeddale. The younger became the wife of Sir Patrick Fleming, from whom the Earls of Wigton are descended.

As previously stated, Sir Gilbert’s eldest son, John Fraser (d. ante 1263), was the father of Sir Richard Fraser of Touch-Fraser, Vicomes of Berwick, whose son SIR ANDREW FRASER of Touch-Fraser (d. ante 1297), Vicomes of Stirling, had four sons, namely, Sir Alexander Fraser (k. 1332, Dupplin), progenitor of the Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun [for whom, see below]; Sir Simon Fraser (k. 1333, Halidon Hill, Berwick), progenitor of the Frasers of Lovat, Lords Lovat [for whom, see The Frasers of Lovat]; Sir Andrew Fraser (k. 1333); and Sir James Fraser, first of Frendraught (k. 1333), whose line ended with his great grand-daughter Mauld Fraser who married Alexander Dunbar of Moray. Another son of John Fraser (d. ante 1263) and the younger brother of Sir Richard Fraser, was SIR ALEXANDER FRASER, first of Corntoun, progenitor of the Frasers of Corntoun, Kinmundie & Muchalls, Lords Fraser, now extinct [for whom, see below].

Although a Lowland family, the Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun, being the senior line, are Chiefs of the name of Fraser. Lord Lovat is the chief of the very numerous Highland clan Fraser of Lovat, based in Inverness-shire.

The Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun

The senior line is descended from SIR ALEXANDER FRASER, first of Cowie (k. 1332), who took part in the victory at Bannockburn in 1314, and married Robert the Bruce’s widowed sister, Lady Mary. Sir Alexander was Chamberlain of Scotland 1319-26, and his seal appears on the letter dated 6th April 1320 to Pope John XXII, seeking recognition of the country’s political independence under the kingship of Robert Bruce, which became known as the Declaration of Arbroath. He received lands in Aberdeen, Kincardine and Forfar to compensate for the lands confiscated by Edward I in 1306. Sir Alexander was killed at the Battle of Dupplin in 1332.

His son, SIR WILLIAM FRASER, second of Cowie, was killed at the Battle of Durham in 1346, and in 1375 his grandson, SIR ALEXANDER FRASER of Cowie & Durris, acquired the Manor Place (later to become Cairnbulg Castle) and lands of Philorth by marriage with Lady Joanna, younger daughter and co-heiress of the Earl of Ross. According to a prophecy of Thomas the Rhymer:—

‘While a cock craws in the north,
there’ll be a Fraser at Philorth.’

* * * *

Several generations later, ALEXANDER FRASER, seventh laird of Philorth (d. 1569) had several sons, one of whom was Thomas Fraser of Strichen, who was attacked and slain by Gordon of Gight on Christmas Eve 1576 over a dispute of Isobel Forbes’ rights to the Strichen estates as widow of her first husband, William Chalmers (held jointly by her and her second husband, Thomas Fraser of Strichen by charter obtained in 1573). After the death of Hugh, Lord Lovat on New Year’s Day 1576, in his 29th year, his younger brother, Thomas Fraser of Knockie (d. 1612) became tutor-at-law and guardian to Hugh’s young son and heir, Simon, who was then only a child. Isobel Forbes, now a widow for the second time, to avenge her cause and the death of her husband, turned to the Tutor of Lovat, Thomas Fraser of Knockie, then in Stratherrick, who took up her cause and married the widow. To prevent future disputes, Knockie purchased the claims of the Chalmers family on his wife’s estate, and then bought the interests of his two step-daughters. He entered into a contract with the heirs of his wife’s second marriage, with the consent of their guardian, Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth, whereby they were served heirs to their deceased father in the estate and barony of Strichen and immediately divested themselves of the same in favour of Thomas Fraser of Knockie and his heirs, begotten by him and his wife Isobel. Thomas Fraser of Knockie assumed the designation of "Fraser of Knockie and Baron of Strichen" or Fraser of Knockie and Strichen, for which he received a charter under the Great Seal of James VI in 1591.

Another son of Sir Alexander Fraser, seventh laird of Philorth, was John Fraser, Abbot of Compiègne, in France, elected in 1596 Rector of the University of Paris, who was the author of several treatises in philosophy, and two theological works.

Following the building of the harbour in 1546 by his grandfather, ALEXANDER FRASER, seventh laird of Philorth (d. 1569), SIR ALEXANDER FRASER, eighth laird of Philorth (d. 1623), had built in 1570 Fraserburgh Castle. Sir Alexander received from King James VI in 1577 and 1592 charters creating the fishing village of Faithlie, which he had transformed into a fine town and harbour, which he much improved, into a Burgh of Regality and a Free Port, called Fraser’s Burgh. He was also authorised to found a university, but no steps appear to have been taken to carry this proposal into execution.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, ALEXANDER FRASER, ninth laird of Philorth (d. 1636), who had married Margaret, heiress of the Abernethies, Lords Saltoun. In 1668 their son ALEXANDER FRASER, tenth laird of Philorth, also became tenth Lord Saltoun (d. 1693), a title which had belonged to the Abernethy family since 1445. The tenth laird was severely wounded at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, but survived, thanks to his servant who rescued him from the battlefield and got him home to Fraserburgh. In 1666 he built a house about a mile from Fraserburgh, which he called Philorth House, where the family lived. His son and heir, Alexander Fraser, Master of Saltoun, who married three times, died in his father’s lifetime, leaving his only surviving son William, by his first wife, to succeed his grandfather.

WILLIAM FRASER, eleventh Lord Saltoun (d. 1715) married Margaret Sharp, daughter of the Archbishop of St. Andrew’s who was dragged from his carriage and murdered in 1679.

Following the death in 1696 of Hugh Fraser, ninth Lord Lovat, without male issue, his young widow arranged a marriage for their eldest daughter Amelia with Alexander Fraser, Master of Saltoun. When the eleventh Lord Saltoun was traveling to Castle Dounie to discuss the details with Lady Lovat, Amelia’s uncle, Thomas Fraser of Beaufort and his son Simon kidnapped him, held him prisoner and threatened to hang him until he agreed to cancel the proposed marriage, which he did. The Master of Saltoun, later twelfth Lord Saltoun, married Lady Mary Godon, daughter of George, first Earl of Aberdeen. The family took no part in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 and 1745.

When the twelfth Lord’s eldest son, ALEXANDER FRASER, thirteenth Lord Saltoun, died unmarried, his brother, GEORGE FRASER succeeded as fourteenth Lord Saltoun. His son, ALEXANDER FRASER, fifteenth Lord Saltoun, who married Marjory, only daughter and heiress of Simon Fraser of Ness Castle, died young, in 1793, and was succeeded by his son, ALEXANDER GEORGE FRASER, sixteenth Lord Saltoun who died in 1853.

The Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun, worthily upheld the reputation of the patriotic family whom they had succeeded. The sixteenth Lord Saltoun in particular was a distinguished military officer. He was educated at Eton (where he was said to have made history by being the first boy to jump into the river Thames from Windsor bridge, a considerable feat); and at the age of seventeen was commissioned in the Army – initially in the 35th Regiment and then, after an exchange, into the 42nd Highlanders, the ‘Black Watch’. He obtained his captaincy in the Black Watch in 1804, still only nineteen years old; and in the same year exchanged into the First Regiment of Guards – to be named, after the Battle of Waterloo, the Grenadier Guards. There existed at the time a system known as ‘Guards double-rank’ whereby Lieutenants in the Guards ranked as Captains in the Army, Captains ranked as Lieutenant-Colonels and Majors as Colonels. Saltoun joined the First Guards as lieutenant-captain; in 1813, at the age of 28, he became captain-lieutenant-colonel. He joined when the Napoleonic wars had already been raging for many years; most service in the British Army was foreign service; and during his first eleven years with the Regiment he was seldom at home. He joined the 3rd Battalion and in 1806 and 1807 was with them in Sicily. In November 1808 he was in northern Spain, with Sir John Moore’s army, and fought at Corunna, 16th January 1809. Next, Saltoun, still with the 3rd Battalion, took part in an unsuccessful and poorly devised expedition in the summer of 1809 to the island of Walcheren, aimed at capturing the port of Antwerp. But in the spring of 1811 he was back in Spain, and thereafter took part in the decisive battles of the Peninsular War, that brilliant campaign conducted by Wellington, which ended with the expulsion of the French from Spain following the near-destruction of their army in the battle of Vittoria in 1812. There followed, for Saltoun, the crossing of the Pyrenees, the defeat of Napoleon’s forces in southern France, and peace in 1814 with the Emperor confined by the victorious Allies to exile on the Island of Elba. The Peace did not last long. In March 1815 Napoleon escaped from Elba and landed in France where he seized the government and reconstituted the Imperial Army with astonishing speed. The Allies – Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia – hastily composed a plan of campaign to invade France and restore its rightful king.

On March 6th 1815 in London, Lord Saltoun married Catherine Thurlow, whom he had met three years earlier while on leave. Hastily recalled, he embarked with the 3rd Battalion for the Low Countries on 9th April. On 16th June he was commanding both of the Light Companies of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of his Regiment, which together composed General Maitland’s 1st Brigade of Guards. Saltoun’s men were responsible for the Orchard at Hougoumont. In the first four hours of the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June he had two horses shot under him and a bullet through his shako. His rolled cloak was strapped across the pommel of his saddle, which was hurriedly shifted to successive mounts; and when it was later unrolled no less than seventeen French bullets were found in it! The battle raged all day, and it was he who, later in the day, first noticed the Imperial Guard emerge from the hollow where they had been hiding all day, and drew the Duke of Wellington’s attention to them. The enemy was kept at bay, though with dreadful carnage – of eighty-two officers of the First Guards who had marched to Quatre Bras, thirty-six had been killed or wounded. Saltoun was now in temporary command of the 2nd Battalion but a week later was again commanding the light companies at the siege and capture of Peronne, as the victorious Allies advanced towards Paris. While leading the assault, he received the only wound of his campaigning when a French bullet hit a purse (made by his wife) in his pocket and drove it into his groin. It was full of French gold pieces, which saved a serious wound, and the surgeon cut it out without trouble. He marched with the army to Paris and took part in the subsequent occupation after peace was finally attained.

Saltoun continued in the Army, visiting Philorth when he could. He was immensely popular there. He was promoted Major/Colonel and confirmed in Battalion command in November 1825 at the age of forty – first the 3rd Battalion, and in the following February transferred to the 1st Battalion. Sadly, his wife died in July 1826 and they had no children. He commanded the 1st Battalion until 1837, the year of Queen Victoria’s accession; and was then promoted to the rank of Major-General. He remained on the Army List, available for active duty if called.

The call came in 1841 when the British, for obscure reasons, decided to open another campaign in China, and an expedition was launched in the summer of 1842. The Army in China had been reinforced by troops from England, including Saltoun who arrived in Hong Kong on 2nd June. He had sailed from Plymouth on 29th December 1841 and was now commanding a brigade of some 2,200 men, which included two British battalions and one Indian battalion, with some additional Indian companies from Madras. The brigade was embarked in eleven ships, escorted by a warship of the Royal Navy, and sailed for the Yangtse. At Chin-Kiang-Foo on the Yagtse, the troops and a camp full of Chinese and Tartar troops lay at supporting distance from the town. General Gough, in overall command, ordered Saltoun’s brigade to attack this camp. The enemy was totally routed at a cost of three men wounded, and soon thereafter a peace was concluded. Saltoun was left in command of an army of occupation, and had his headquarters in Hong Kong. He sailed home in January 1844.

He had been awarded the orders of Maria Theresa (Austria) and St George (Russia) at the conclusion of the Waterloo campaign when decorations were bestowed between the victorious allies. In 1837 he had been given the Grand Cross of Hanover, and in 1842 was made Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. In 1846 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General and in 1852 he was made a Knight of the Thistle, the highest order of chivalry in Scotland.

Lord Saltoun had been elected a Representative Peer for Scotland in 1811, although he seldom had time to devote to Parliamentary matters. He was, throughout his life, devoted to music, himself playing the violin, singing with enjoyment and officiating as President of the London Madrigal Society and as a member of the Noblemen and Gentlemen’s Catch Club. From 1818 to 1853 he served as Permanent Steward of the Northern Meeting, which had been established at Inverness in 1788 to promote ‘social intercourse’ in the aftermath of the tragic events at Culloden and the depressing conditions faced by those living in the north during that era. Thomas Alexander Fraser of Strichen and Lovat, who became 14th Lord Lovat in 1857, served as Permanent Steward from 1853 to 1875.

Lord Saltoun was greatly admired by all sorts of men and women for his frank, open character. He would walk the two miles from Philorth into Fraserburgh, attend prayer meetings at a school, take tea with a simple fisher family, and walk home again. A keen sportsman, he regularly rented a house on the Scottish borders for fox hunting in the winter, and as regularly rented a sporting estate (where he died) in the hills above the Strathspey. The sixteenth Lord Saltoun "The Waterloo Saltoun" died on 18th August 1853, in the year after his great commander, Wellington, and only two years after his mother, who lived into her late nineties. He was described by Wellington himself as ‘a pattern to the Army, both as a man and a soldier’ and the words were just. He was a Fraser of whom the entire name, in every generation, can surely be proud.

He was succeeded by his nephew, ALEXANDER FRASER, seventeenth Lord Saltoun, a Representative Peer for Scotland, and author of The Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun (1879, 3 volumes), who died 1st February 1886, when the family titles and estates passed to his eldest son, ALEXANDER WILLIAM FRASER, eighteenth Lord Saltoun. He was a lieutenant-colonel in the Grenadier Guards, 1880-86, and his heart was in soldiering; but he decided to resign his commission to go and live at Philorth full-time and attend to his estates. He later joined the Gordon Highlanders.

The Frasers of Muchalls, Lords Fraser

The title of BARON FRASER (now dormant), in the peerage of Scotland, was conferred in 1633 on ANDREW FRASER of Muchalls (d. 1636), in Aberdeenshire. He was descended from Sir Alexander Fraser of Corntoun, who was the younger brother of Sir Richard Fraser of Touch-Fraser. His son, ANDREW, second Lord Fraser, joined the Covenanting party, and fought under the banner of Montrose against the northern Royalists. His grandson, CHARLES, fourth Lord Fraser, was a Jacobite, and in 1693 was tried before the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh, for proclaiming King James at Fraserburgh, for drinking his health and that of his son, and cursing King William and his adherents. He was found guilty only of drinking the healths of the expelled monarch and his son, and was fined two hundred pounds for the offence. Lord Fraser took the oaths and his seat in Parliament 2nd July 1695; and in the Parliament of 1706 he supported the union with England. But his Jacobite principles were only latent, not extinguished, and he took part in the rebellion of 1715. After its suppression he contrived to escape arrest by remaining in hiding, but lost his life in 1716 when he fell from a precipice near Banff while trying to escape Government troops. Having left no issue, the title became extinct on his death. He bequeathed his estate of Castle Fraser to his step-son, issue of his wife’s first marriage to Sir Simon Fraser of Inverallochy, Aberdeenshire.


I wish to thank General Sir David Fraser, military historian and author, for inspiring my interest in Fraser history and genealogy. As a grandson of the eighteenth [now nineteenth] Lord Saltoun (1851-1933), and first cousin of The Lady Saltoun, Chief of Clan Fraser, he spent a considerable amount of time at Cairnbulg Castle in Fraserburgh, where he had access to the Philorth Charter Room documents referenced in The Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun (1879) by the seventeenth [now eighteenth] Lord Saltoun (1820-1886). Sir David, who has kindly shared his research over the years, is a great admirer of ‘The Waterloo Saltoun’. As an example of verbal tradition reinforcing history, the incident of Saltoun’s purse was recalled to the nineteenth [now twentieth] Lord Saltoun, M.C. (1886-1979), a Representative Peer for Scotland from 1936 to 1964, and a POW in the First World War. After speaking in Manchester during the Election campaign in 1945, a man approached Lord Saltoun and asked if he was related to a Lord Saltoun who fought at Waterloo? He replied, "Of course." The man said: "My name’s Smith, we’ve been in the Grenadiers for a long time; and my grandfather told me that his grandfather had been standing next to Lord Saltoun, his officer, at a place in France when he was hit by a bullet and saved by his purse, and he turned and said, It’s always a good thing to have some money in your pocket, Smith!" Lieutenant-General Sir Peter Graham, the last Commanding Officer of the Gordon Highlanders, who is a great admirer of General Sir David Fraser, recalled to us his first encounter with the former superior officer, with great humour and affection. With men like the late Brigadier Lord Lovat (1911-95) and General Sir David Fraser, all Frasers can be justifiably proud of their heritage, on and off the battlefield.

I also wish to thank Alastair McIntyre for the opportunity to review, and correct, Dr. Taylor’s account of the early history of the Fraser family in Scotland; and for his dedication and enthusiasm regarding all aspects of Scottish history and culture.

Marie Fraser, Genealogy/Newsletter Editor, Clan Fraser Society of Canada

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