Library volunteer and Outlander lover Sue Henderson gives us a brief history of one of the most colourful figures in the Jacobite story. And to whom, we ask, does he refer in his last words?
SIMON FRASER, 11TH LORD LOVAT circa 1667 – 1747
Sometimes known as The Fox, Simon Fraser led a colourful life. Credited to ‘kidnapping’ with a view to forcefully marrying Lady Amelia Murray, daughter of John Murray 1st Marquis of Athol.
The Murray’s were a powerful family themselves and prosecuted Fraser who fled to France.
Convicted in ‘absentia’ attainted and sentenced to death, however, during the 1715 Rebellion, Fraser supported the Government and King, and was duly rewarded with a pardon for his crimes.
After winning litigation his title of Lord Lovat was bestowed upon him.
For whatever reason, he became entangled in the 1745 Rebellion, and was committed to a trial lasting from 9th March 1747 until 19th when he was condemned to death.
A great many rebel prisoners were transported to America “’Tis said that the government has for a good while past been at an expense of upwards of £40 a day for keeping state prisoners.”
On the 9th April 1747, the morning of his execution a terrible accident happened with scaffolding built in many stories by The Ship alehouse. This held several hundred persons on it, which had come along, for a day out! It fell down and 8 – 10 persons were killed including the master carpenter and his wife who was selling beer underneath it.
Just prior to his death, his Lordship called for William Fraser, his solicitor and agent, and holding up his gold headed cane said, “I deliver you this cane, as a token of my sense of your faithful services and of my committing to you all the power I have upon earth;” and embraced him. He now called for Mr James Fraser and embracing him said, “my dear James, I am going to heaven, but you must continue to crawl a little longer in this evil world” and took his leave of them both.