Some Unexplained Mysteries
This narrative provides possible answers for those reported facts that are not covered by the standard version. There may be other explanations, and perhaps putting forward possible theories will lead to an improved understanding of the events and personalities.
Why did the Widow Lovat refuse to deny the marriage and provide witness to the accusation of rape?
Why was the marriage not solemnised by the Reverend James, who was Minister of Kirkhill, being the parish in which Castle Dounie was situated? Why was the first marriage carried out by the Minister of Abertarff, a neighbouring parish far to the west of Kirkhill? Why was there the need for a second marriage, and then by the Minister of Kilmorack, a parish to the north, but with the parish boundary close to Castle Dounie?
Is the story true of the beating that was inflicted on the Lady Amelia at Atholl, with a miscarriage of Simon’s child resulting? What were the circumstances?
The Reverend James Fraser of Kirkhill was a chronicler, with his writings up to 1674 being the Wardlaw Manuscript. It is unlikely that he did not continue his work until his death in 1709. Where are the later writings? Have they been destroyed?
Simon refers to his little French pageboy, and later to his French valet. It is would be quite expected that he might have French servants while in France, but why mention them in correspondence? And why bring the valet back with him on his eventual return to Scotland?
The unknown wife of Simon referred in the letters of Sir John MacLean? (BK1 Link) By all accounts, Sir John was a conservative and reliable person, so it is likely that he would still recognise the marriage of Simon to Lady Amelia, as did many in the Highlands. So it is most probable that the wife was in fact Lady Amelia. In addition, the reference to “fire and sword” is likely to be code for Tullibardine as it was his legal actions that led to the Commission of Fire and Sword being raised against Simon and his father, Thomas.
What hold did Sir George Mackenzie of Tarbat or Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Prestonhall have over Atholl that they were able to choose the spouse of the heiress Amelia?
How did the Clan survive during the time of Alexander of Fraserdale? Why was it not more absorbed by Alexander’s father, Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Prestonhall?
Why did Lady Amelia stay at Castle Dounie after the death of her husband? Why did she also remain after her daughter had been removed to Atholl?
At what stage did Lady Amelia become the Dowager? Dowager being an honorary for a widow with continuing influence, typically having a dower house and income. It is improbable that she would become Dowager while still claiming to be married to Simon.
Under what name was Archibald christened? The letter from the Marquise de la Frezelliere (BK3 Link) mentions “l’enfant baptisé sous votre illustre nom”. Does this mean the baptismal name was Simon, as would be normal Catholic practise where only the Christian names are mentioned? It would be natural for Simon to christen his eldest son this way, and perhaps understandable that the second name would be Archibald, as a respect to Archibald Campbell, Duke of Argyll. So perhaps “Simon Archibald Fraser”, who later decided he preferred the use of his second name, for obvious reasons.
What happened to the record of the baptism? I remember a story, I think from my Uncle Oliver, that pages had been torn out of baptismal records in France.
It is told that Major Fraser of Castle Leathers was sent by the Clan to bring their Chief home. Who were those that represented the Clan? Who funded the Major’s mission?
Archibald’s name is spelled as Frazer on his marriage bond and marriage licence with Ruth Whitehead, and in the text of his will, but there he signed his name as Fraser.