- Clan Fraser of Lovat
Clan Fraser of Lovat is a Highland Scottish clan and is a branch of the Clan Fraser. The Frasers of Lovat are descendants from a younger brother of Sir Alexander Fraser. It is Sir Alexander Fraser descendants whom are the chief line of the Fraser clan. The current chief of the clan is Simon Fraser, 16th Lord Lovat.
For the history of the Clan before the Scottish Wars of Independence, see Clan Fraser
Clan Fraser of Lovat traces its heritage from Sir Simon Fraser, brother of Sir Alexander Fraser, Robert the Bruce's Chamberlain, whom Clan Fraser traces from. Sir Simon acquired the Bisset Lands around Beauly when he won the hand of its heiress, and these lands became the family home.
A record from 1367 describes Hugh Fraser as ‘Lord of Lovat and portioner of Ard’, the first known connection the Frasers had with Lovat land. By 1422 the Frasers of Lovat had extended their lands to include Stratherrick by Loch Ness, together with part of Glenelg.
Although the exact date of creation is uncertain, some time between 1456 and 1464, Hugh Fraser was raised to the peerage as Lord Lovat or Lord Fraser of Lovat. Around 1511, the 5th Lord Hugh Fraser of Lovat established his seat at Castle Fraser, which is now owned by Historic Scotland since 1971. The Castle stands in its old glory today.
Around the middle of the 18th century, Sir Simon Fraser, the 11th Lord Lovat was the third son of the seventh Lord Lovat. He captured and married the widow of the 10th Lord Lovat by drowning her squeals and screams by way of pipers. It is for this reason he was known as the Fox. Castle Fraser was therefore left abandoned with no male heir for nearly two centuries until 1962 when a rightful heir was located through a proper search. During the spring of 1962, Clan Fraser made a last minute attempt to keep Castle Fraser in Fraser hands, but the plan failed as the heir refused Castle Fraser, as he was an American citizen. In the early part of the nineteenth century Beauly Castle was constructed as the new seat of Lord Lovat for descendants of the 11th Lord Lovat. Beauly Castle is no longer owned by Clan Fraser, however it still stands in all its original glory.
Battle of the Shirts
The Frasers fought a great clan battle against the Clan MacDonald of Clan Ranald in 1544, Blar-ne-Léine, the Battle of the Shirts, over the disputed chieftainship of Clan Ranald. The Frasers backed a son of the 5th Chief, Ranald Gallda (the Stranger), which the MacDonalds found unacceptable. Prevented from battle by the Earl of Argyll, the Frasers were ambushed on their march home by 500 MacDonalds. Only five Frasers and eight MacDonalds are said to have survived the bloody engagement. Both the Lovat Chief, Lord Lovat and his son and heir were amongst the dead and were buried at Beauly Priory. Despite these atrocities, the Frasers were stronger than ever before within a hundred years.
Mary, Queen of Scots
Robert Mor Munro, 15th chief of Clan Munro, was a staunch supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots, and he consequently was treated favourably by her son, James VI. Robert was also a faithful friend of Mary. Buchanan states, when the unfortunate princess went to Inverness in 1562, that: "as soon as they heard of their sovereign's danger, a great number of the most eminent Scots poured in around her, especially the Frasers and Munros, who were esteemed the most 'valiant of the clans inhabiting those countries in the north.' " These two clans took Inverness Castle for the Queen, which had refused her admission. The Queen later hanged the governor, a Gordon who had refused her admission.
In 1571 the Clan Fraser joined forces with the Clan Forbes in their feud against the Clan Gordon. The Forbes were also joined by Clan Keith and Clan Crichton. The Gordons were also joined by Clan Leslie, Clan Irvine and Clan Seton. The feud between the Gordons and Forbes which had gone on for centuries culminated in two full scale battles: The Battle of Tillieangus and the Battle of Craibstone. It was at the Battle of Tillieangus that the 6th Lord Forbes's youngest son known as Black Aurther Forbes was killed. Legend has it that "he stooped down to quench his thirst and one of the Gordons gave him his death blow through an open joint in his armour".
A battle took place between the Clan Fraser and Clan Logan at Kessock where Gilligorm the Chief of Clan Logan was killed.
The Civil War
In 1649 during the Civil War the Clan Munro and Clan Fraser again took Inverness Castle. This time they were also joined by Clan Urquhart and Clan MacKenzie who they had recently made peace with. They were all opposed to the authority of the current parliament. They assaulted the town and took the castle. They then expelled the garrison and raised the fortifications. However on the approach of the parliamentary forces led by General Leslie all of the clans retreated back into Ross-shire. During that year several skirmishes took place between these parties.
18th Century & Jacobite Risings
1715 to 1719
During the Jacobite Uprisings of 1715 to 1716 the Clan Fraser supported the British government. In Inverness in 1715 Simon Fraser of Lovat (who had been outlawed and in exile), put pressure on the Jacobite garrison in Inverness, which was delivered upon the very day when the Battle of Sheriffmuir was fought and another Jacobite force was defeated at the Battle of Preston. Soon after this 31 year old Chief Colonel Robert Munro of Foulis marched into the town of Inverness with 400 Munros and took over control as governor from Fraser. A number of Frasers also helped to defeat the Jacobites at the Battle of Glenshiel in 1719.
1745 to 1746
However, the infamous Simon the Fox was also chief during The '45, and supported the Jacobites and Charles Edward Stuart, contrary to his action during The Fifteen (though, his clan did indeed rally for Jamie). Frasers were on the front lines of the Jacobite army at the Battle of Falkirk (1746), and the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
- Neil Grant. Scottish Clans and Tartans.Crescent Books, New York, 1987 ISBN 0-517-49901-0.
- Diana Gabaldon's has several novels that centre around the Fraser Clan, commencing around the Jacobite Rising: Outlander (aka in the UK as Cross Stitch), Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and An Echo in the Bone.
- Website of the Clan Fraser Society Scotland & UK
- Frasers of Lovat from Baronage Press
- The Frasers, an extensive site dedicated to all Frasers of Lovat and Scotland
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