The Dowager Highlander by Hugh Frazer, 2017 Wilson and Grace Frazer, c. 1955 Table of Contents Table of Contents .2 1. Prologue .3 2. Proponents .6 3. The Internment and the Clan .9 4. The Forced Marriage .19 5. The Abduction and Miscarriage .22 .
5. The Abduction and Miscarriage .22 6. The Second Child and the Deal .24 7. The Imprisoned Father .33 8. The Return and Rejection .36 9. The Servant in London .41 10. The Years in France .43 11. The Huguenot Trooper .52 11. The Farmer and Father .60 12. Epilogue .68 Appendix:. .69 A: The Standard Narrative .69 B: Some Unexplained Mysteries .73 C: DNA Explore .74 D: Timeline .75 E: Blacknee Links .75 F: Copyright and Versions .76 1. Prologue This is a seed: May it fall on fertile ground. The story of Archibald the 1st, born 1703, and a disputed son of Simon, 11th Lord Lovat Introduction This is a re-interpretation of some aspects of the life of Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, who was notoriously executed at the Tower of London in 1746, using four presumptions as below. It is not pure make-believe but a story weaving the facts, unexplained mysteries and family traditions together to produce a different cloth, perhaps maybe-believe. The reason for this is to explore the possible parentage of my 7th generation grandfather, Archibald Frazer, who was born about 1703. Our family tradition is that we are descendants of Simon Fraser, and that the details were lost through successive generations because of a sense of shame, perhaps both from the notoriety of Simon and from the possibility of illegitimacy. .
My grandfather, Wilson Frazer and his brother Joseph, spent a great deal of effort in research over many decades without coming to a definite conclusion. A summary of their work can be found at: http://blacknee.com/ffc/BK0Index.html This link also describes my involvement, being born with a black birthmark behind my left knee. This is no longer black, but clearly visiqble, and it was part of my upbringing that I would restore the family fortune. Seeing as I was born in 1942, I have obviously not rushed into it, but perhaps better late than never. I am an engineer, not a historian, so my approach is to first devise a theory that fits all the knowledge available to me, then use this as a target for seeking further information that may modify or even deny the first theory. So any information that adds to my knowledge, be it for or against, is most welcome. The narrative contains much conjecture and dramatisation and it is to be expected that not all of this is true, but there is nothing within that is known to be false. Please direct comments to [email protected], and, if you wish, ask to be put on the mailing list to be advised of updates and other news. This is very much a work in progress, and will take a year or so to complete. This narrative is available online as a web page, pdf or ePub: Blacknee Links 1st Presumption: History is written by the winners. The first presumption is that history is written by men of influence, or at least under their direction, with the 'unimportant' bits left out, not to mention the inconvenient bits as well. A classic case is the invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar - veni vidi vici (I came, I saw, I conquered). We have some inkling of the true picture of how a thriving culture of many tribal groups was brought to its knees, but little from the written history of the conquerors. From their perspective it was all glory, with no mention of rape and pillage, nor of playing off one group against another, nor other nefarious deeds. The Britons were barbarians and all bad things were done by them, or at least they deserved what they got. The Romans were the 'civilisers', bringing advancement. 1700 in Scotland was a time of turmoil, being still in the feudal thrall of the aristocracy. The purpose of government and law was primarily seen as being to protect the rich and influential from the poor. So the history was written from above, and manipulated as necessary to encourage stability and protect the nobility. Change was in the air, which made the manipulation all the more desperate. 2nd Presumption: Character assassination was a common strategy. The second presumption is that the use of calumny, character assassination, was then equally a useful and effective political ploy as it is now, probably even more so. The laws of libel and slander were in their infancy, and, in any case, the law in Scotland was in the hands of the powerful and influential. So that a calumny target of a high ranking aristocrat had no recourse, other than perhaps to seek the support of another high ranking aristocrat. This would be problematic as such powerful men would be reluctant to rock the boat unless it were to be also distinctly to their own advantage, not just for friendship’s sake. 3rd Presumption: The influence of the clan was under-reported. .
A third presumption is that the influence of the clan is essentially ignored. The highland clan system was basically tribal and had its roots in neolithic prehistory. Many aristocrats, particularly from the lowlands, viewed the clans as a barbaric hang-over from a primitive age before Christianity and feudalism brought civilisation. There were many variations of the theme, but basically clan territory was owned and protected by the clan. It was not owned by the chiefs, and the chiefs themselves were most commonly created not by inheritance but by a process of selection by the clan elders. One such system is reported as being that a potential chief had to be a son of a daughter of a previous chief, and then judged by the clan elders to be the best choice from the point of view of warrior capability. The primary job of the chief was to be a leader to protect the clan from invaders. By 1700, the original clan system was long gone, with ownership of the clan lands firmly established as the inherited right of the chief, and the people of the clan officially relegated to being feudal subjects. However, the social cohesion and customs of the clan system remained, and remain nostalgically to this day. We are still tribal creatures, as can be witnessed at any major football match. We should be proud of this heritage, and not deny our inherited nature. It was then common in the highlands that the chief would respect and honour the old traditions, and allow himself to be advised by the clan elders, with a sense that he was born with a duty to the people of the clan. This was very different from the feudal system in the lowlands and England, where the Lords were sovereigns of their domains and had only duty to maintain their own inheritance and nobility. 4th Presumption: The influence of women was suppressed. The fourth and most crucial presumption is that the influence of women was suppressed, to an even greater extent than it is still today. The history as recorded is very dominantly male, with women being relegated to having no power at all, being simply chattels of their husbands, fathers or other male relatives. In reality there were as many women of intelligence and character as men, but they had to exert their influence behind the historical scenes, and so their actions are not recorded. Anthropological studies of the few tribal groups still existing show that women have much higher status, although there was a generally a defined role division; after all men cannot bear children and feed infants. From the clan tribe point of view it can be suggested that the defined status of women declined at the same time as Christianity and feudalism swept across Europe. Nonetheless there have always been intelligent and strong-minded women who will have their influence come what may. Part of the male dominant culture is to down-grade such influence, and fail to add it to the record. Conclusion: Take recorded history with scepticism In conclusion, it is appropriate to view recorded history with scepticism, certainly not take it as gospel. Verifiable facts are scarce, with much being left out as unimportant or inconvenient to those in positions of power and influence. When a powerful man makes a claim it is sensible to always ask where does the profit lie - maybe in the truth, but not necessarily. History is what is generally believed, not necessarily what actually happened. .
It is interesting that it is often seen as necessary to provide proof that an alternative view of events is correct, while it is not seen as necessary to provide proof for the commonly accepted version. An alternative view has to thread its way through the known evidence, but there are always possibilities for diffferent interpretations, particularly when the accepted story provides for maximum advantage and minimum scandal to the ensconced nobility. 2. Proponents Introduction The standard narrative only has two main proponents with Simon Fraser, the Old Fox, being a truly evil man, who lied, cheated, connived, raped and stole, whereas John Murray was a righteous man protecting his country and family from depredation. John Murray was 4th Earl of Tullibardine at the start of this story, while his father was 1st Marquess of Atholl, and one of the three most politically powerful men in Scotland, but getting on in years so that his son had taken up the reins of power. Simon Fraser, on the other hand, was an indirect descendant of an earlier Lovat, with essentially no political or legal clout. It is then no surprise that Murray won the calumny battle. This narrative proposes that the Dowager Lady Lovat was also a major player in what came effectively to be a war between the Murrays and the Fraser clan, mostly fought in politics and law, but with some real skirmishing. Amelia Murray Lady Amelia Murray was the sixth child and second daughter of John Murray, later 1st Marquis of Atholl, and his wife, Lady Amelia Ann Sophia Stanley, daughter of the 7th Earl of Derby. They had twelve children in thirteen years, four of which died young. [WM01] Amelia was an intelligent and affectionate child and became her father’s favourite, much to the jealous outrage of her brother John, who was the eldest, and heir to Atholl. After a family dinner she would climb onto her father’s knee for a hug, and get a small joy from the resentment of her brother, who treated her as a very unimportant person the rest of the time. The Marquis was often away on political business, and then brother John became the lord and master, at least in his own eyes, and made Amelia’s life a misery. She spent much time restricted to her room in Blair Castle, which had a small window with a window seat, where she would sit and read. She being a person of warmth and understanding, the servants would smuggle books to her from the castle library. Other than from her extensive reading, she also listened attentively to her father regaling his political exploits at the dinner table, mostly to educate his eldest son into the practical arts of politics, such as ensuring that one’s allies always profit from being so. Mainly this was only while Amelia was young, for, when son John was old enough, he would go with the men retiring after dinner to discuss manly things. Amelia was very influenced by the stories of her maternal grandmother, Charlotte, Countess of Derby, who was born into French Huguenot aristocracy and a grand- daughter of William of Orange. She was famous for defending her castle from .
Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War, in the absence of her husband. [WM02] Charlotte died two years before Amelia was born, but the legend of strong and courageous women was part of the family story, as was the connection with France and the Huguenots. When Amelia was 19, her father arranged for her marriage to Hugh Fraser, 9th Lord Lovat, who was some months younger. Hugh was orphaned at an early age and raised by his maternal uncle, Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbat. Hugh was neither physically or mentally strong and was easily controlled by Tarbat. As was the culture of nobility of the time, this marriage was not of her choosing, but was an opportunistic alliance, with possibilities for the acquisition of Fraser lands by Atholl and Tarbat. As was expected of her, and honouring her father’s wishes, she put on a brave face and moved into Castle Dounie, with a maidservant from Atholl. There were many challenges, with the first being the move from a luxurious baronial castle, Blair Castle, to Dounie, which was little more than a clan stronghold. Dounie was also is need of some attention. Hugh had spent little time there, being mostly lodged at Castle Leod with his uncle, while the Fraser estates were managed by the Earl of Seaforth, chief of Clan Mackenzie. Following her mother’s example as a domestic manager, Amelia started the process of putting things back into order. A more unexpected challenge was the difference between the baronial culture of Atholl and the clan culture of the Frasers. The Murrays of Atholl were not highlanders at that time, the Marquess’ grandfather having acquired the Atholl title and estates through marriage. The original clans included the Stuarts and Robertsons, but the Murrays considered themselves to be baronial nobles and ran their estates to support their status. The servants of the castle and the inhabitants of the estates were treated as feudal subjects, whereas the Frasers were still a clan so that there were strong ties of kinship at all levels of their society. In practical day-to-day terms, this meant that the baronial servants were dressed in uniform and required to behave as suited their lowly position in life, with orders from above being given with little consideration to their humanity, whilst, on the other hand, the clan servants were more casually and individually dressed and in general treated with the respect of kinship. This change was a relevation to Amelia, and she found the cohesion of the clan system appealing. She quickly learned that her husband, while being a perfectly good man, was not highly intelligent nor physically robust, and was also strongly influenced by his uncle, George Mackenzie of Tarbat. Since the death of Hugh’s father, the Mackenzie clan had extended its influence into the Fraser lands, resisted as much as possible by the lairds of the Clan protecting their own livelihoods. Amelia found that her sympathies were with the Clan, and developed considerable influence over her husband, helping to minimise the impact of Tarbat. She had to proceed with a great deal of circumspection, as a complaint from Tarbat to her father and brother about her interference could make things even more difficult. It was a great joy to become an important member of a family and clan, even if less grand than Atholl, rather than a junior female constantly under the thumb of her brother. She blossomed in the clan culture. Most importantly she developed close relationships and friendships with the women of the Clan. She saw that part of her job as the wife of the chief was to provide support on the occasions that women were under stress. Often this was to do with childbirth, .
which was a hazardous process in those times, with many children dying young and some mothers dying in childbirth. The women’s side of the clan was a largely unrecorded part of kinship, and a foundation stone of the ancient tribal culture. She was repaid for her kindnesses when her fourth child, and first son, also Hugh, died before his third birthday. He was a bonny baby when born, but did not thrive and finally succumbed to illness. The loss of a child is almost unbearable at the best of times, but the loss of a potential heir to the chieftainship added to the poignancy. The women of the clan mourned with her. Then double disaster struck. Her second son, John, again did not thrive and died a little more than a year old. Some months later, her husband fell ill on his way back from a trip to London, and died before making it home. She was now a widow with three daughters but no sons, and about to become central to a battle for the Lovat estates. John Murray Lord John Murray was the eldest son and child of John Murray, later 1st Marquess of Atholl, and his wife, Lady Amelia Ann Sophia Stanley. He was created 4th Earl of Tullibardine, then briefly 2nd Marquess of Atholl, and finally 1st Duke of Atholl. Like his father before him, he had a strong sense of entitlement, considering himself to be superior as a member of the nobility and having scant regard for those of lesser standing, expecting instant acknowledgement of his status and immediate obedience to his wishes, and displaying a violent temper when disobeyed. The 1700’s were an interesting time with both England and Scotland in a state of political flux, further complicated by the process of union between the two nations, providing fertile ground for opportunists to increase their political power and wealth. There was also a pressing desire for Scottish nobles to establish themselves in the eyes of the nobility of England. Lord John, Tullibardine until he became Duke, was, if anything, more astute at intrigue than his father. One does not become elevated to a Duchy in one’s early forties by barracking for the underdog. The Marquis, Tullibardine’s father, negotiated with Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbat, for the marriage between Hugh Fraser, 9th Lord Lovat, and his daughter, Amelia. Tarbat had been the guardian of Hugh since his parents death when he was five years old. By negotiation, the marriage contract included provisions for negating the usual clan practice for the title and estates to go to the heir male of a cadet branch in the event of a chief dying without a male heir, and instead specifying that the eldest daughter would become the heiress. The intent was that a marriage of the heiress would lead to the full ownership transferring to her husband. Neither Hugh nor Amelia were part of this negotiation, it being between the Marquis and Tarbat. Hugh was present during some of the negotiations, but the implications were beyond his understanding. Amelia was excluded as this was obviously men’s business. Tullibardine, then 24 years old, was present sufficiently to be fully aware of the plans afoot. Being a great believer in the value of contacts, Tullibardine chose to take advantage of his father’s French cousins as a reason to set up a small residence in Paris for occasional visits. This also provided the opportunity to discreetly keep on friendly terms with the Jacobite court at St Germains, just in case James VII & II was successful in regaining the throne of Scotland, and perhaps England as well. These were uncertain times, and he was far from being the only one with a foot in one camp, but at least a big toe in the other.
Simon Fraser Simon of Beaufort was not as high born, being the second son of a cadet branch of the highland Frasers. The Beauforts were the first cadet branch, followed by Inverallochy, Brea and then Strichen. After many years of struggle and manoeuvring, he eventually achieved the chieftainship of his clan and the right to the titles and estates of Lovat, but finally to be executed when about 80 years old. He had the dubious honour of being the last person to be beheaded at the Tower of London. He was a person of charm and good with words, both spoken and written, with a great need to be liked, particularly by the members of his clan, so that listening to other’s viewpoints was part of his style of leadership. As a young man he had no expectation of becoming of the heir male lineage, as he had an elder brother, Alexander, and his cousin Hugh, 9th Lord Lovat, was married and producing children. As a member of a cadet branch, he set out to make as much of his life as he could, including a time in the Atholl militia, with some Fraser clansmen as his contribution. He displayed great audacity and was not readily held down by authority or by the superiority of nobility. The combination of charm, good communication skills and audacity led to him having audiences with the ruling monarchs of France and England, as well as the Scottish royalty in exile in France. He also had a need to do things with flair and panache. Never the quiet achievement, but always with a much splash as possible. 3. The Internment and the Clan The internment of the frail young body of Hugh Fraser, 9th Lord Lovat, in the family mausoleum at Wardlaw was a quiet affair. There was no great eulogy of his triumphs and achievements as Chief because he had always been sickly and poor of understanding, as well as being raised away from his clan by his uncle, Mackenzie of Tarbat. He had died just before his thirtieth birthday, and during his short time as Chief had done his poor best to limit the predations of his Mackenzie uncles, who were manoeuvring to take over the estates and titles of Lovat. Nonetheless the funeral was well attended by the Clan, not least because a funeral was also a social occasion for the living; a time for reconnection with kinfolk and confirmation of the ties that constitute clan survival. It was a fine September day. After the funeral service there was a traditional meeting of the Clan gentlemen at Castle Dounie to both pay respects to the new Chief, Thomas Fraser of Beaufort, now 10th Lord Lovat, and to discuss the problems facing the Clan. Castle Dounie is an hours ride from Wardlaw, and Thomas and his sons Simon and John led the way on horseback, followed by the widow and her children in an open carriage, with those of the Clan going the same way trailing behind, mostly on foot, except for some elderly and senior members on horseback or in wagons. At first Lord Thomas was silent in his thoughts, then turning to Simon, 'Being the Chief is an honour that I never sought, but I will carry the duty as best I can. We face difficult times, with poor harvests and legal threats, and, at sixty-five, I am .