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

    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 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 .
    This link also describes my involvement, being born with a black birthmark behind my left knee. This is no longer black, but clearly visible, 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, 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 has 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 original 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.