Fraser Clan History

The origin of the name Fraser is believed to lie with a knight called Frezel from the lordship of La Frezeliere in Anjou, who came to Scotland in the 11th century.

In 1160 the name of Simon Fraser is recorded as the owner of Keith lands in East Lothian, and he gave the church there to Kelso Abbey. Simon became a popular name for Frasers. His grand-daughter became the heiress to the Keith lands and they passed to the family who would adopt Keith as their name.

Oliver Castle and Tweeddale passed to the Frasers until the wars of independence, after which the clan moved north and expanded across the Highlands. During the wars, Sir Simon Fraser fought for Wallace at Rosslyn in 1302, defeating the English. While fighting for Robert the Bruce in 1306 he was captured, and like Wallace, was executed in the cruellest style, being hanged and quartered.

The co-heiress of the Earl of Ross was Joanna, and her hand was won by Sir Alexander Fraser of Cowie and Durris in 1375, bringing to the family the lands of Philorth and the castle now called Cairnbulg (main image).

In 1592, Sir Alexander, 8th of Philorth, was given a charter by James VI to the fishing village of Faithlie. He improved the harbour, making the area a thriving town, which soon became a free port and burgh called Fraserburgh.

Fraserburgh was to have had a university but the religious troubles and competition from Aberdeen stemmed the town’s growth. By building Fraserburgh Castle the Laird bankrupted himself, and had to sell the Castle of Philorth. The marriage of Alexander, 9th of Philorth, brought him the title of Lord Saltoun, a title bourne by the Clan Fraser chiefs till today.

The first Lord Fraser was created in 1663 by Charles I, and occurred at a time when the chiefship was disputed by the Frasers from Oliver Castle who had settled in Mar.

It was Andrew Fraser, 1st Lord Fraser, who completed Castle Fraser.