Clan Fraser
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Frasers of Lovat clan badge

This is the sixth stop on Sassenach's tour of Lallybroch.
If you would like to take a self-guided tour, use the following links:

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James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser descends from the Frasers of Lovat. Jamie's parents are fictional; however, his grandfather, who appears in the Outlander Series, was a real historical figure. He was executed for his part in the Jacobite Uprising of 1745, as Gabaldon relates in her series. To see Jamie's genealogy from his grandfather, Simon "the Old Fox," 11th Lord Lovat, go to the Clan Fraser Genealogy page. To read a biography of "the Old Fox" and see his portrait, visit the Clan Fraser Association for California's page entitled History of Chiefs, Lords Lovat. To find out more about the history of the Clan Fraser, try the Clan Fraser Society of Canada's page History of the Frasers in Scotland. Also try a very nice site The Frasers, and Brian Fraser Lovett-White's site, both of which have links to other Fraser sites.

Fraser mapThe Frasers of Lovat are closely associated with the Highland town of Beauly. Jamie travels to Beauly to see his grandfather in Dragonfly in Amber. Beauly is about 12 miles west of Inverness, where Claire is staying with Frank at the beginning of Outlander. The Lords Lovat called Castle Dounie home from 1511 until it was burned following the Battle of Culloden. Presumably, this was the castle that Jamie and Claire visited when they went to Beauly. Near the site of the ruined Castle Dounie is Beaufort Castle, built in the 1880s, which was the home of the chiefs of Lovat until 1995, when it was sold. It is now a private residence. Click this map of "Fraser Country" to see a larger version.

Jamie Fraser's ArmsThe Outlandish Companion provides pictures of some Fraser arms on p. 214. However, the pictures are not drawn in color and they are very small. These are Jamie's arms, as described in the book. If you would like to use this image, please provide a link to my page and give me credit somewhere on your site.

In heraldic terms, Jamie's arms would be described as "Quarterly, 1 and 4: Azure three fraises Argent; 2 and 3: Argent 3 antique crowns Gules, a Bordure Checky Gules and Or." (Or at least that is my best guess.) That basically means that the arms are divided into quarters, the first and fourth of which have three white (or silver) fraises (cinquefoils or flowers) on a field of blue; the second and third of which have three red crowns on a field of white (or silver); bordered in red and gold checkers.

Jamie explains the origin of the name Fraser to Claire in Drums of Autumn, p.314 (Dell paperback edition):

"D'ye believe in signs at all, Sassenach?"

"What sorts of signs?" I asked guardedly.

In answer, he bent, plucked a sprig from the ground and dropped it into my hand - the dark green leaves like small round Chinese fans, a pure white flower on a slender stem, and on another a half-ripe berry, its shoulders pale with shade, blushing crimson at the tip.

"This. It's ours, d'ye see?" he said.

"Ours?"

"The Frasers' I mean," he explained. One large, blunt finger gently prodded the berry. "Strawberries ha' always been the emblem of the clan - it's what the name meant, to start with, when a Monsieur Freseliere came across from France wi' King William that was - and took hold of land in the Scottish mountains
for his trouble."

From Clans and Families of Scotland: A History of the Scottish Tartan, by Alexander Fulton:

The first known Fraser in Scotland was Simon Fraser, who in about 1160 donated the church of Keith to Kelso Abbey. The name came from the lordship of La Fraseliere in Anjou, and a descendant of Simon Fraser, Sir Gilbert Fraser, established the main line of the family in about 1250 at Touch-Fraser, Stirlingshire. His direct descendant, Alexander Fraser (d. 1332), was knighted by King Robert I (the Bruce) before the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. After the battle he married the Bruce's sister, Lady Mary - who had been strung up in a cage for four years by King Edward I of England in reprisal for the Bruce's coronation - and he was later Chamberlain of Scotland. Their grandson gained the lands of Philorth in Buchan by his marriage in 1375.

Sir Alexander Fraser (1537-1623), 8th Laird of Philorth, founded Fraserburgh, and would have founded Fraserburgh University, too, if the project had not run into difficulties. He also built Fraserburgh Castle, which his family found to draughty to live in. The 9th Laird married the daughter and heiress of Lord Saltoun, their son succeeding to the Saltoun title, in which is now also vested the chiefship of Clan Fraser.

Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat (Jamie's grandfather)The Frasers of Lovat are descended from Sir Alexander Fraser's younger brother, Simon, who also fought at Bannockburn, and each chief of Clan Fraser of Lovat is known as MacShimi (son of Simon). Simon Fraser (1667 -1747), 11th Lord Lovat, was one of the more colourful characters in the history of the Highlands. After his father had inherited the title of 10th Lord on the death of his great-nephew, Simon tried to abduct the 9th Lord's nine-year-old daughter and heiress. Foiled in this, he married her mother by force. In the early 1700s he regularly switched his allegiance between the Government in Britain and the Jacobites in France, playing one side off against the other. During the Rebellion of 1715, he appeared actively to support the Government. In 1745, he waited to see which way things were going, and then compromised by ordering his son to bring out the Frasers for Bonnie Prince Charlie. After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he tried to escape, was captured, and (at the ripe age of 80) beheaded.

Our next stop on the tour is Quotations.

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