Sharing a common ancestry with the Frasers of Saltoun, the Frasers of Lovat retain their own distinct clan chiefs who are recognised by the Lord Lyon.
Likely originating from the province of Anjou in north-western France, the Fraser name is possibly derived from a tribe called Friselii in Roman Gaul.
The clan are first mentioned in Scotland in 1160 when a Simon Fraser held lands at Keith in East Lothian and later generations of the family would go on to fight alongside Robert the Bruce during the Scottish War of Independence with Sir Simon Fraser, known as “the Patriot” being one of the main leaders of the Scottish forces over the course of many battles during the war such as at Methven in 1306.
The Frasers of Lovat would eventually become one of the most prominent clans in Inverness-shire and would later play a crucial role in the Jacobite Uprisings of 1715 and 1745 – especially in 1745 when the clan chief, Simon Fraser, 11th Lord of Lovat, would support the Jacobite leader Charles Edward Stewart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) despite having previously been on the side of the British government.
It was after the Battle of Culloden in 1746 that the clan’s traditional seat at Castle Dounie was burned to the ground as the Jacobite rebellion was crushed by the British government. A small house was built in its place and it would not be until the mid-18th century that a new castle would be built at the location – one that still stands there today.