CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3470
TitlePapers of the Fraser Family of Castle Fraser and Inverallochy
Date16th century - 20th century
Extent130 boxes and 6 volumes: 45 linear metres
Administrative HistoryThe Frasers of Muchall built Castle Fraser in the 16th century, and it remained in the family until its sale in 1921 to Lord Cowdray. In 1976, Lord Cowdray's grand-daughter, Mrs Michael Smiley, generously gave Castle Fraser to the National Trust for Scotland with an endowment.

The earliest major representative of the family in the collection is Charles, 4th Lord Fraser, a proclaimed Jacobite who died accidentally in 1716 while attempting to escape from Government troops. As he died without issue his stepson by his wife's first marriage, William Fraser of Inverallochy (c.1672-c.1717), inherited Castle Fraser and its estates.

On William's death the estates were inherited by Charles Fraser, affectionately termed 'Auld Inverallochy', who was also a staunch Jacobite. His correspondence with Simon Lord Lovat illustrates his support for the 'Auld Pretender', James Stewart. Lovat also corresponded with Charles' son, also Charles Fraser, who was later to lose his life on the field of Culloden while commanding the Frasers of Lovat.

'Auld Inverallochy's' third son, Captain Simon Fraser, was killed at Quebec while serving with the 78th Highlanders in 1759. Charles' last surviving son, William, died without issue and the estates were split between William's two sisters, Martha (1727-1803), who eventually married Colin Mackenzie of Kilcoy, and Elyza, who died unmarried in 1814.

It had been intended that Martha's son, Alexander Mackenzie Fraser, would inherit, but he died of Walcheren fever in 1809, leaving the estate to be passed to his eldest son, Charles Mackenzie Fraser, on Elyza's death.

Charles had intended being a career officer in the army, but the loss of a leg at the siege of Burgos in 1812 put paid to his ambitions. He became a Colonel, retiring from the army and devoting himself not only to the running of his estates but also to the Aberdeenshire Rifle Volunteers.

Of his fourteen children only two out-lived him; his daughter Harriet, who died unmarried, and Frederick Mackenzie Fraser, who inherited Castle Fraser and its estates.

Frederick's first wife, Lady Blanche Drummond, died young without issue, and five years later Frederick married Miss Theodora Lovett Darby. They never had children, and after Frederick's death in 1897 Theodora lived on in the castle alone.

Increasingly impoverished, in 1921 she sold the Castle, its environs and estates to Lord Cowdray. She died in 1946, aged ninety-three. The 1976 the Castle was acquired by the National Trust for Scotland.
SourceThe papers of the Fraser family of Castle Fraser and Inverallochy were purchased by the University of Aberdeen in 1995, with the contribution of generous grants from the National Fund for Acquisitions, Friends of the National Libraries, and Gordon District.
DescriptionThe collection contains not only documents but also photographs, sketches, paintings, maps and artefacts, encompassing nearly 500 years of the history of the Fraser family.

A major part of the collection contains correspondence, especially that of Major General Alexander Mackenzie Fraser and his son, Colonel Charles Mackenzie Fraser. The correspondence mostly concerns the everyday running of Wellington's army, and ranges from India to the Netherlands, then continues into the Iberian Peninsula and thence to Waterloo.

There are also twenty-five letters - mostly unpublished - from the notorious Jacobite, Simon, 11th Lord Lovat, to Lord Charles Fraser and his successor Charles Fraser of Inverallochy, covering the period from 1715 to his execution for treason in 1747.

There is also a large amount of private correspondence from family members, including Elyza Fraser, a redoubtable lady whose journals of her travels with her companion, Miss Mary Bristow make interesting reading.

George Tomlinson, the first Bishop of Gibraltar, was married to Charles' daughter, and the five boxes of notes, drawings and correspondence concern his fascination with ancient Egypt, with sketches of cartouches, stelae and hieroglyphs predominating. He also produced squeezes, pressed paper images of bas-reliefs, and some of these still carry remnants of the pigment from the wall paintings.

Many of the Frasers were exceptional artists, and the collection contains a number of sketchbooks, especially those of Charles Mackenzie Fraser, whose drawings are extremely detailed.

Maps also constitute a considerable portion of the collection, from estate maps to military maps. Amongst the latter is one by William Roy of 1759 showing the Battle of Thonhausen, complete with flaps to denote military movements during the battle. Spanish cartographer Tomas Lopez is also well represented, with a complete collection of his maps of Spain and Portugal, still contained in the metal box used by Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Mackenzie Fraser to carry them around Spain by pack-mule.

Estate papers are also well to the fore, with vouchers, legal documents and correspondence showing in detail the difficulties of running a large estate. The earliest documents date from the mid 16th century, and are in good condition.

Notable persons named in the collection:

Dr. Thomas Arnold (1795-1842), Headmaster of Rugby School, 1828-1842.Regius Professor of Modern History, Oxford. Influence on education in public schools.

Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), botanist and explorer. Travelled with Captain James Cook to Australia on the Endeavour, 1768-1771. Advocate of British settlement in Australia. President of the Royal Society.

Samuel Birch (1813-1885), archaeologist. Assistant Keeper, then Keeper of Oriental Antiquities, British Museum. 1844-1885. Translator of classical Chinese texts. Noted papyrologist, who wrote a dictionary of Egyptian hieroglyphs and translated the Book of the Dead.

General Sir Thomas Bradford (1777-1853), military commander. Served with distinction in the Peninsula and in France under Wellington. Held command in France, 1815-1817, in Scotland, 1819-1825, Bombay 1825-1829.

Sir John Fox Burgoyne (1782-1871), military engineer. Commanding Engineer with General Alexander Mackenzie Fraser's expeditionary force to Egypt, 1806-1807; with Wellington throughout the Peninsular War. Inspector-General of Fortifications, 1845-1868. Adviser to the British Army in the Crimea, 1853-1855. Field Marshall, 1868.

Frank Calvert (1828-1908), Consul for the United States Embassy in Constantinople. British field archaeologist and contemporary of Heinrich Schliemann. Owned the site at Hissarlik and discovered the foundations of Troy.

Sir Alured Clarke (1745?-1832), military commander. Served in Germany, America, West Indies, at the Cape. Commander-in-Chief in Bengal, 1797, in India, 1798-1801. Field Marshall.

Admiral Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount (1724-1816), naval commander. Served with distinction in the West Indies against the French, and against the Americans in the Revolution.

John Jervis, Admiral, Earl of St. Vincent (1735-1823), naval commander. Served in the West Indies, North America, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the Channel. Created Earl of St. Vincent in 1797, after defeating the Spanish fleet off Cape St Vincent. 1st Lord of the Admiralty 1801-1806. Admiral of the Fleet 1821.

Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), portrait painter. Largely self-taught, became member of the Royal Academy in 1794.President of the Royal Academy 1820-1830.

Tomas Lopez (de Varga Machuca) (1730-1802), cartographer to the Spanish King. He created high-quality maps of Spain and America from his base in Madrid.

Simon, 11th Lord Lovat (1667-1747), Jacobite intriguer, son of Thomas Beaufort, third son of the 8th Lord Lovat. A Catholic convert and Jacobite, he was captured after the Battle of Culloden in April 1746, tried and convicted of treason. He was beheaded on Tower Hill on 9th April 1747, the last person to be so executed in Britain.

General Sir John Moore (1761-1809), military commander. Born in Glasgow, the son of a Physician. M.P. for the burghs of Linlithgow, Selkirk, Lanark, Peebles, 1784-1790. Obtained a command in the British Army in 1793; served in the West Indies and the Mediterranean. Became Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the Peninsula. Killed in action at the Battle of Corruna in 1809.

Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871), geologist and geographer. Born at Tarradale, Easter Ross. Joined the Geological Society of London, 1824, and served twice as President. One of the founders of the Royal Geographical Society, 1830, and served four times as President. President of the British Association, 1846. Surveyed the Russian Empire, 1840-1845. Appointed Director-General of the Geological Survey of Great Britain and School of Mines, 1855. Established the Silurian, Permian and Devonian geological systems. The Murchison Falls (Uganda) and the Murchison River (Australia) are named after him.

Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823), portrait painter. Born in Edinburgh. For 30 years a fashionable portrait painter, during which he painted most contemporaries of note, except Robert Burns. Member of the Royal Academy from 1815. Knighted in 1822.

William Roy (1726-1790), major surveyor and geodesist. Born in Lanarkshire.Employed in the military survey of the Highlands, 1747-1755, from which he prepared a manuscript map in the scale 1000 yards to the inch
Major-General and director of the Royal Engineers. Appointed Surveyor-General of the Coasts and Engineer for making and directing Military Surveys in Great Britain. Fellow of the Royal Society of London. Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), Scottish, novelist, poet, historian, antiquarian. Author of Waverley and numerous other, mainly historical, novels, including Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward. Created a baronet in 1820.

Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), military commander and politician. Rose (by purchase) to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the age of 25. Distinguished himself in India, first by capturing Seringapatam in 1799, then during the 2nd Mahratta War with a victory at Assaye in 1803. After the death of General Sir John Moore in 1809, Wellesley took command of the British Army in the Iberian Peninsula. Created Viscount Wellington after his victory at Talavera in 1809
Defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. Turned to politics, becoming Prime Minister from 1828 to 1830.

Sir Alexander Woodford (1782-1870), Field Marshall. Fought with distinction in the Peninsular War under Wellington
Commander of the 2nd battalion Coldstream Guards at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. Lieutenant-Governor of Malta and Corfu
Lieutenant-Governor then Governor of Gibraltar, 1835-1836. Knighted 1832.
ArrangementThis descriptive list incorporates, or is in part derived from, and replaces:
NRA(S) Survey list 0312 Castle Fraser manuscripts; 7 pages
NRA(S) Survey list 1129 Mackenzies of Kilcoy manuscripts; 3 pages
NRA(S) Survey list 2508 Castle Fraser Muniments; 4 sections


MS 3470/1-3 The Estate papers of Castle Fraser and Inverallochy:

MS 3470/1 Castle Fraser
MS 3470/2 Castle Fraser Estate
MS 3470/3 Inverallochy Estate

MS 3470/4-14 Papers of members of the Fraser family of Castle Fraser and Inverallochy:

MS 3470/4 Lord Charles Fraser of Inverallochy. (c. 1662-1716)
MS 3470/5 Charles Fraser of Castle Fraser and Inverallochy (Auld Inverallochy) (c. 1705-1787)
MS 3470/6 Major-General Alexander Mackenzie Fraser (1758-1809)
MS 3470/7 Miss Elyza Fraser of Castle Fraser (1754-1814)
MS 3470/8 Colonel Charles Mackenzie Fraser (1792-1871)
MS 3470/9 Colonel Frederick Mackenzie Fraser (1831-1897)
MS 3470/10 Marianne Mackenzie Fraser (1788-1852)
MS 3470/11 Helen Mackenzie Fraser (1790-1835)
MS 3470/12 Francis Mackenzie Fraser (1828-1849)
MS 3470/13 General family correspondence, accounts, etc.
MS 3470/14 Private letter-books and notebooks by various correspondents relating to members of the Fraser family

MS 3470/15-17 Papers of persons associated with the Fraser family of Castle Fraser and Inverallochy:

MS 3470/15 Mackenzie of Kilcoy
MS 3470/16 George Tomlinson, Bishop of Gibraltar (died 1863)
MS 3470/17 Henry le Poer Wynne, Lieutenant, Royal Engineers (1836-1874)

MS 3470/18-20 Papers arranged by topic:

MS 3470/18 Castle Fraser School
MS 3470/19 Railways
MS 3470/20 Ross-shire Militia and Aberdeenshire Volunteer Rifle Corps.

MS 3470/21-22 Miscellaneous Papers:

MS 3470/21 General Correspondence
MS 3470/22 General Items

MS 3470/23 Transcripts of papers in the collection

MS 3470/24-27 Papers arranged by form:

MS 3470/24 Sketch-books and Portfolios
MS 3470/25 Photograph albums
MS 3470/26 reference number not used
MS 3470/27 Large format plans, maps, photographs, etc.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
Related MaterialAdditional papers were deposited in 2008, mainly 20th century accounts and cashbooks (Accession 322). Please note that these papers are currently uncatalogued and please contact the Reading Room for access.
Publication NoteThe Frasers of Castle Fraser (1550-1976), by Helen R. Chavez. Northern Scotland 22 (2002), pp.153-57.
Lavinia Smiley, The Frasers of Castle Fraser (Salisbury: Russell, 1988)
Flora Marjory Fraser, 20th Lady Saltoun, Clan Fraser (Edinburgh: Scottish Cultural Press, 1997)
Six letters by Simon, 11th Lord Lovat, from the collection have been published in The Miscellany of the Spalding Club, 2 (Aberdeen: Printed for the Club, 1842), pp. 3-27. See individual entries.
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