Major-General Simon Fraser's Entail
In 1772 Simon Fraser petitioned the British government for a restoration of the Lovat estates which, together with the Lovat title, had been forfeited to the Crown when his father Simon Lord Lovat was executed for supporting the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. In the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion, his father, then Simon Fraser of Beaufort, had been on the government side, which had helped him, as the older surviving son of Thomas Fraser of Beaufort (1636-1699), to acquire the lands vested in the name of Æmelia, Baroness Lovat, by her father, Hugh Fraser 9th Lord Lovat (1666-1696).
A special Act of Parliament was passed in 1774 which permitted the King to grant to Major-General Simon Fraser of Lovat (1726-1782), in recognition of his military service to the Crown, subject to the payment of £20,983 Sterling; the lands, patronages, and other rights forfeited by the attainder of his father, Simon Lord Lovat (c1668-1747). The Lovat title, however, remained under attainder, and was never conferred upon General Fraser or his younger half-brother, Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat (1736-1815).
On 25 April 1774, at Inverness, fourteen Latin sasines were granted by Major-General Simon Fraser of Lovat to certain tenants, by which they became tacksmen of different parts of the Lovat estate. The properties described are in the Particular Register of Sasines for Inverness, SRO, RS39/13, ff. 157-174. The sasines [transcribed by Prof. Harry Duckworth] are in favour of the following individuals:
Fraser of Knockie Esq.
Having thus secured the lands and estate, Major-General Simon Fraser of Lovat, by a deed of entail dated 16th May 1774, registered at Edinburgh 18th June and 28th July 1774, had them settled, in default of the heirs male or female of his own body, upon his half-brother, Archibald Campbell Fraser (1736-1815), and failing him and the heirs male of his body, on the following cadet families and the heirs male of their body, in the order stated, namely Inverallochy, Strichen, Struy, Culbokie, Farraline, Foyers, Reelick, Belladrum, Eskadale, Culduthel, Erchitt, Gortuleg, Achnagairn, Provost James Fraser, Inverness, Balnain, Dunballoch, Fanellan, Daltullich, and Torbreck, whom all failing to his own nearest lawful heirs and assigns whatsoever.
in favour of Major-General Simon Fraser of Lovat, dated at Inverness October 10, 1775 [ff.
250b-158], gives the following line of succession to the Lovat estate: Alexander Fraser, younger of Strichen Thomas Fraser, 2nd son of #11
Alexander Fraser, younger of Strichen Thomas Fraser, 2nd son of #11
Thomas Fraser, 2nd son of #11
[Ed: According to the Register of Baptisms, Marriages & Burials for the Parish of Strichen, Aberdeenshire, Alexander Fraser, younger of Strichen (#11) had a son Alexander born in 1765, followed by Stewart McKenzie (#12) in 1766, Thomas (#13) in 1768 and William (#14) in 1769.]
We can only speculate on the reasons for excluding the descendants of James Fraser of Ardachy & Boblanie from succession to the Lovat estate; since James was the younger brother of Thomas Fraser of Knockie; and his surviving heirs should have come before the Frasers of Struy. In the chapter on the Frasers of Ardachy (p. 655) from his History of the Frasers of Lovat (1896), Alexander Mackenzie (1838-1898) refers to the curious sale and transfer of Ardachy in 1770/71 involving William Fraser of Balnain (1703-1775), Commissioner for General Fraser, although it is not known how the latter had the legal right to dispose of Ardachy at that time:
On the 7th of September, 1776, General Simon Fraser of Lovat, as the result of family arrangements following on the litigation already referred to and which had been continued for more than a generation, conveyed the estate of Ardachy to Captain Charles Fraser of the H.E.I.C.S., designed by him as heir-male and representative of Ardachy, on his paying back certain sums of money which had been advanced for the purchase of the lands from another member of the family.
Mackenzie also refers to the fact that Dunballoch, Fanellan, Daltullich, Phopachy & Torbreck were not descended from Lovat, but from Drumelzier & Hales; and the strange anomaly that Foyers and Relig, descended from natural sons, were included in the succession. General Frasers brother had a son who, in turn, had a natural son who was precluded from the succession. It also raises the question as to whether any heir male would have had a case to overturn the claim of any heir female of General Fraser, as his own father had succeeded in doing retroactively through Thomas Fraser of Beaufort (1636-1699), in respect of the succession of Æmelia, d/o Hugh 9th Lord Lovat (1666-1696).
According to the Lord Lyon King of Arms, in response to an enquiry from Dr D.J.M. Muffet, O.B.E., United Kingdom:
Even though he was the eldest surviving son of the 11th Lord Lovat, the General did not inherit the land from his father, nor did he get back his fathers title. The Arms of Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, executed on Tower Hill on 16 April 1747 still remained under attainder and since they had never been matriculated, they did not properly exist at all.
Thomas Alexander Fraser of Strichen inherited the Lovat land from Archibald Campbell Fraser, who in his turn had inherited it from his half-brother Simon Fraser, lately the Master of Lovat (a substantive dignity that was extinguished by the Attainder) and who became known as General Fraser, to whom the Crown granted it as some special Act of Grace in view of his military service.
Thus, in 1857, when the Scottish Title was restored to Thomas Alexander Fraser, since the executed Lovat remained under attainder - so did his property also remain attainted, apart from what the Crown had seen fit specifically to release, which was the Scottish title.
General Fraser had no issue by his wife, who survived him, and when he died in 1782 he was succeeded by his half-brother, Colonel Archibald Campbell Fraser, who, like him, was long a member of Parliament for Inverness-shire. He had the misfortune to outlive his five sons, and on his death, in 1815, the male line of the Lovat branch of the Fraser family became extinct, and the estates devolved upon Thomas Alexander Fraser of Strichen, Aberdeenshire (1802-1875), who was descended from Thomas, second son of Alexander Fraser 4th Lord Lovat (1527-1557).
After the death of Hugh Fraser 5th Lord Lovat on New Years Day 1576, in his 29th year, his younger brother, Thomas Fraser of Knockie (1548-1612), became tutor-at-law and guardian to Hughs young son and heir, Simon, who was then only a child. Somewhat wild and unruly in his youth, in 1586 Simon ran away from Kings College in Aberdeen and went to Ireland, where he was entertained by the Earl of Antrim. His uncle, Thomas Fraser of Knockie, prevailed upon Simon to execute an inhibition in 1587 to the effect that he would do nothing to hurt the interests of his family or prejudice his heirs, without the consent and advice of his three curators, one of whom was Sir Alexander Fraser, 8th laird of Philorth (c1537-1623). The 8th lairds uncle, Thomas Fraser of Strichen [3rd s/o Sir Alexander Fraser, 7th of Philorth], had been attacked and slain by Gordon of Gight on Christmas Eve 1576 over a dispute of Isobel Forbes rights to the Strichen estate 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]. Isobel, now a widow for the second time, to avenge her cause and the death of her second 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 wifes estate, and then bought the interests of his two step-daughters. He entered into a contract with Katherine and Violet Fraser, the heirs of his wifes 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 male 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. Knockie was sold in 1727 to Hugh Fraser of Balnain (1702-1735).
On the death of Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat (1736-1815), without legitimate surviving issue, the remaining Lovat lands passed, by entail, to Thomas Alexander Fraser of Strichen (1802-1875), only son and heir of Captain Alexander Fraser 9th laird of Strichen (1765-1803), Aberdeenshire, who had served in the British Army during the campaign in Holland and was involved in the battle near the town of Gilzean, south of Rotterdam, on 26 August 1794. When Captain Alexander Fraser in 1800 married Æmelia Leslie [d/o John Leslie of Balquhain, a prominent RC family], he converted, and their son Thomas was baptized in that faith on 24th June 1802 at Strichen House by the Rev. Mr Jas. Caruthers, Roman Catholick Clergy-man [Wits: John Leslie Esquire of Balquhain & James Edwards, servant Strichen house]. St Marys at Eskadale was the first post Reformation Roman Catholic Church built in the country. According to the Inverness Courier, April 4, 1827: The elegant new Roman Catholic Chapel built at Wester Eskadale, in Strathglass, by Thomas Alexander Fraser, Esq., of Lovat, was opened on Sunday last for divine worship. Thomas Alexander Fraser, 10th laird of Strichen, later 14th Lord Lovat, is buried at Eskadale, as well as subsequent generations of the Lovat family.
Thomas Alexander Fraser of Strichen was a year old when his father died and, having been raised by his mothers family, was only 14 when he first visited the lands of his predecessor, Thomas Fraser of Knockie, who had married the widow of Thomas Fraser of Strichen [3rd s/o Alexander Fraser 7th of Philorth] and settled in Aberdeenshire.
To provide further background for the Strichen succession, it may be helpful to chronicle the descent of the new heir to the Lovat estates from Alexander Fraser 5th laird of Strichen (c1659-1699).
In the History of the Frasers of Lovat (1896, p. 539), Alexander Mackenzie (1838-98) states:
Fraser fifth of Strichen married, first, a daughter of Cockburn of Ormiston, without
issue, and secondly, the Hon. Emilia Stewart, second daughter of James Lord Doune, eldest
son and apparent heir of Alexander, sixth Earl of Moray (marriage contract July, 1697),
An entry in the Edinburgh parish register for 1st December 1688 reads as follows: Alexander Frazer of Strichen & Mrs Elizth Cockburn Eldest lawful Daughter to Sr Archbald Cockburn of Langtoun. By Warrant of My Lord Bp of Edbgh ~ Mr John Cockburn minister of Ormiston, Mr Robert Muirhead & Elizth Nicolson after proclaimed by Dr Moore in the H K ye 16th instant. By Elizabeth Cockburn (c1660-1693), the 5th laird of Strichen, also written as Strachen or Strechin, had issue: Marion, Thomas, Helena and Hugh. The Strichen parish register notes the baptisms of Marion July 16th 1689 and Thomas June 1st 1691, and the Bills of Mortality of Wardlaw, Kirkhill, record the following entries: Helena daughter to the Laird of Strachin died at Moniack [his house in Inverness-shire] May 20, 1693 and was buried at Kirkhill. Hugh young Laird of Strachin died at Moniack July 2, 1693 and was buried at Kirkhill. Elizabeth Cockburn Lady Strachin died at Moniack July 23, 1693 and was buried at Kirkhill.
Alexander Fraser of Strichen married secondly, in July 1697, Æmelia Stewart, d/o James, Lord Doune [eldest s/o Alexander, 6th Earl of Moray]. By Æmilia Stewart (c1670-1711), he had issue, James and Alexander, likely born 1698 and 1699 respectively.
Alexander Frazer Laird of Strechin, sick on Sunday 22 Oct and died Friday at night Nov 3, 1699 at Moniack, was buried at Kirkhill with his 1st wife, Elizabeth Cockburn.
Æmelia Stewart, widow of Alexander Fraser, 5th laird of Strichen, married secondly about 1701, John Lindsay, 19th Earl of Crawford (c1675-1713), with issue: John born 1702, William born 1705, and two daughters, Catherine and Mary. Æmelia, Countess of Crawford, was buried at Holyrood in February 1711 and the Earl died in London in December 1713. John Lindsay, 20th Earl of Crawford (1702-1749), in 1747 married Lady Jean Murray [eldest d/o James, 2nd Duke of Atholl], against the wishes of her father. His wife having predeceased him, he died without issue, and was succeeded by his cousin once removed, George Lindsay, who became 21st Earl of Crawford (1729-1781).
The son of the first marriage, Thomas Fraser (b. 1691), settled in Campbelltown and married Margaret Campbell, d/o Colonel Charles Campbell by his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Bowles. Colonel Charles Campbell, whose first wife was Lady Sophia Lindsay [d/o Alexander, 1st Earl of Balcarres], was the third son of Archibald, 9th Earl of Argyll (1629-1685) by Lady Mary Stewart [eldest d/o James, 5th Earl of Moray], and brother german to Archibald, 10th Earl & 1st Duke of Argyll (c1658-1703) and John Campbell of Mamore (c1660-1729) who was the father of Primrose Campbell (1710-1796) who in 1733 married Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat (c1668-1747).
It is not known why his son Thomas by his 1st wife Elizabeth Cockburn, was passed over as the heir of Alexander Fraser, 5th of Strichen, in favour of his sons James and Alexander by his 2nd wife Æmelia Stewart. James Fraser, 6th of Strichen, was presumed to have died unmarried or without issue, before 1725. Alexander Fraser, 7th of Strichen (c1699-1775) was later known as Lord Strichen, a law lord who married in 1731 Lady Anne Campbell (c1695-1736), widow of James, 2nd Earl of Bute, and d/o Archibald Campbell, 10th Earl & 1st Duke of Argyll by Elizabeth Tollemache [d/o Elizabeth, Countess of Dysart & Duchess of Lauderdale by her first husband Sir Lionel Tollemache or Talmash]. The Duke and Duchess of Argyll later separated because he was a notorious philanderer.
Also of interest is the fact that the other daughter of Colonel Charles Campbell, and the sister of Margaret Campbell who married Thomas Fraser [eldest s/o Alexander Fraser, 5th of Strichen and half-brother of Lord Strichen] was Charlotte Campbell who married Thomas Fraser, 6th of Ardachy (1694-1754), Collector of Customs at Campbelltown, who was descended from James, youngest son of Alexander Fraser, 4th Lord Lovat (1527-1557), and brother of Thomas Fraser of Knockie, Tutor of Lovat (1548-1612) who acquired the estate of Strichen by marriage with the widow of Thomas Fraser of Strichen [3rd s/o Sir Alexander Fraser, 7th of Philorth].
In Some Fraser Pedigrees (1934) covering the chapter on the Frasers of Ardachy (p. 125), Duncan Warrand refers to Thomas Fraser, then living at Campbelltown, who was brother to Alexander Fraser of Strichen:
This Thomas Fraser married a sister of the wife of Collector Thomas Fraser, and had two daughters, Elizabeth, wife of Lieut. W. Fordyce, and Emilia, wife of W. Abernethy. Thomas Fraser, Collector of Customs married Charlotte, daughter of Colonel the Hon. Charles Campbell (third son of Archibald, ninth Earl of Argyll), by his second wife, Elizabeth Bowles - per Thomas Fraser-Campbell, Esquire, Lonsdale, Helensburgh.
It would be interesting to pursue the relationship of Thomas Fraser-Campbell to Thomas Fraser 6th of Ardachy (1694-1754) who was Collector of Customs at Campbelltown (1737), or his relationship to Thomas Fraser, the elder half-brother of Alexander Fraser 7th of Strichen (c1699-1775).
Gentlemans Magazine (Oct. 1761, p. 588) records the following marriage: Captain Campbell, to Miss Fraser, niece to Lord Strichen. Robert Campbell and Katherine Fraser were married 13 Sep 1761, and a review of the Army List for 1761 indicates that he was commissioned Captain on 3 June 1756 in the 3rd Regiment, Foot Guards. Captain Robt. Campbell of Finab is listed as a landowner in Dunoon and Kilmun in the 1751 Valuation Roll for the county of Argyll.
In research conducted subsequent to publication of this article in Canadian Explorer, the following entries were found in the Edinburgh Marriage Registers (1701-1800):
Capt. Robert Campbell of Finab, in S.E. p. & Miss Susan Ereskin,
d/o Mr. Charles E. of Tinwall, Lord Justice Clerk, in N.K. p. - 26 Mar.
Therefore, Katherine can now be identified as another, previously unknown, daughter of Thomas Fraser (b. 1691), elder s/o Alexander Fraser, 5th Strichen (d. Nov. 1699), by his first wife, Elizabeth Cockburn (d. July 1693).
researching the Canongate Marriage Register (1701-1800), the following additional entry
If Isabella was born after the birth in December 1733 of her brother Alexander Fraser, 8th Strichen (1733-1794) and before the death in October 1736 of Lady Ann Campbell, Lady Strichen, Isabella would have been 50 years of age when her own sons Alexander Mackay & Stewart Ruthven M'Kay were born. No record has yet been found of the birth/baptism of Isabella Fraser, d/o Alexander Fraser, 7th Strichen (c1699-1775) by his wife, Lady Ann Campbell.
Another entry from Gentlemans Magazine (1806, p. 873) reports: Lieut. W. Ogleby Fraser, R.N., brother to the titular Lord Lovat, married Miss Preston, Aug 23 1806, at Easingwold. According to the IGI, this entry refers to the marriage of William Fraser and Ann Preston at Easingwold, Yorkshire, England. While the parish register has not been checked for further information, the reference to the titular Lord Lovat is intriguing, since neither Lieut.-General Simon Fraser of Lovat (1726-1782), nor his younger half-brother, Colonel Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat (1736-1815), ever became Lord Lovat.
These were turbulent times and loyalties shifted rapidly in the years between the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745 which divided families and resulted in one of the most tragic periods in Scottish history. As shown by the Inverness Kirk-Session, records were sometimes destroyed by fire. Although some parish records were reconstructed in the aftermath of Culloden, several of those that have survived are almost illegible or look like they have been through a flood.
Thomas Alexander Fraser, 10th of Strichen (1802-1875), who became 14th Lord Lovat in 1857, but for the attainder, was the ancestor from whom is descended Simon Fraser 18th Lord Lovat, Chief of Clan Fraser of Lovat; and 25th MacShimidh, a designation passed down to successive male heirs of Sir Simon Fraser (k. 1333).
Sir Simon Fraser (k. 1333) should not be confused with Sir Simon Fraser, the Patriot, who was captured fighting for Robert the Bruce, and executed by Edward I in 1306. The patriots line ended in two co-heiresses who married, respectively, Sir Hugh Hay [ancestor of the Earls of Tweeddale], and Sir Patrick Fleming [ancestor of the Earls of Wigton].
Sir Andrew Fraser of Touch-Fraser (d. 1297), cousin of the patriot, was the father of Sir Alexander Fraser of Cowie [ancestor of the Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun]; Sir Simon Fraser [ancestor of the Frasers of Lovat, Lords Lovat]; Sir Andrew Fraser; and Sir James Fraser of Frendraught. Sir Alexander Fraser of Cowie, the Chamberlain, 1319-26, who had married Lady Mary Bruce [the widowed sister of Robert the Bruce], was killed at the Battle of Dupplin in 1332; and his three younger brothers were killed at the Battle of Halidon Hill, Berwick in 1333.
There is a commonly held belief that Alexander has been the traditional Christian name of the male heirs of the senior line of the Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun; in the same way that Simon has been with respect to the Highland branch of the Frasers of Lovat, Lords Lovat. In fact, of those who succeeded as male heirs of Sir Alexander Fraser (k. 1332), 15 were named Alexander, 4 William and one George. Among those who succeeded as male heirs of Sir Simon Fraser (k. 1333) and referred to as MacShimidh [prior to the current Lord Lovat who succeeded his grandfather in 1995], 8 were named Hugh, 7 Simon, 4 Alexander, 4 Thomas and one Archibald. While MacShimidh (son of Simon) has traditionally been associated with the Frasers of Lovat, it is worth noting that Simon has been a relatively recent naming custom among the successive male heirs of Thomas Fraser 10th of Strichen (1802-1875), who was created Baron Lovat in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, by patent, 28 Jan 1837, and proved his claim to the Scottish title in the House of Lords, 11 Aug 1857.
In the preface, written in 1879, to The Frasers of Philorth, Lords Saltoun, Alexander Fraser 17th (now 18th) Lord Saltoun (1820-1886), makes the following observation:
"The representatives of the respective lines of Philorth and Lovat were nearest of kin to each other in 1464, with the exception of the six sons of the Philorth at that time, and such has been the extinction of male descendants in the various branches of the line of Philorth, that at the present time, with the exception of my own two sons, my two brothers and their four sons, numbering eight persons in all, Lord Lovat (1828-1887) is my nearest legitimate male connection of the Fraser name."
With the exception of Lady Saltoun's two first cousins, their sons and grandsons, her own grandson, and the Frasers in Finland, that statement is still true. [ Clan Fraser, A history celebrating over 800 years of the Family in Scotland by Flora Marjory Fraser, 20th (now 21st) Lady Saltoun, published by Scottish Cultural Press, 1997.]
That statement can also be applied to Lord Lovat, his brother, his uncles and their sons, and the Moniack Frasers, descended from Thomas Alexander Fraser of Strichen & Lovat (1802-1875), whose ancestor was Thomas Fraser of Knockie, second son of Alexander Fraser 4th Lord Lovat (1527-1557). Therefore, most of the descendants of Lovat cadets still extant likely claim descent from the earlier line of the Frasers of Lovat or from a natural child of these families.
It is hoped that this story will encourage more people to take the time to do their own research, if only to verify, or question, the reliability of certain information previously recorded by others.
This Feature page was posted Jan. 2, 2003; updated May 20, 2003
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