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The Black Knee Chronicles

Volume 3

Joan Frazer's Legends

At least partly in response to Deryk's Legends of the last Chronicles, Joan, widow of James Frazer (1913-1966) relates below some of her family memories.

After I married James in 1940, I left my job in London and stayed for a while with my father-in-law Joseph Francis Frazer (186?-1946) (always referred to as Father Frazer), and he used to tell me stories about the family.

Now Jamie told me that it was Simon, Lord Lovat's son, James of Brae, who escaped to France and was protected by the King of France. I believe that he was given an estate and married the daughter of the Commandant of the Military Academy at St Germain. The French Frazer's were then known as Frasellier, I believe. A descendant, either son or grandson then emigrated to Ireland and married into an Irish family.

Father Frazer loved to tell the story of two Frazer brothers (probably his uncles) who lived in a beautiful but dilapidated house which could have been Dunnacleggan, as it rings a bell. One of them was named Robert and the other Peter, who used to return home on leave from India from time to time. He was either in the Indian Army or a planter. He had a great desire to breed a wonderful herd of Jersey cows in the Park, so he used to send money to buy a few from time to time. When Peter returned from India he looked forward to seeing his herd grazing in the park. But when he arrived he only saw one or two slightly undernourished cows which his brother Robert had hastily put there! Robert tried to evade the indignant questions, but eventually revealed that the money, apart from that needed for the straggly cows, had been spent on propping up the house. Of course there was a terrible row and Peter would wail "My brother Robert" in despair. It seems that Robert was inclined to be irresponsible.

Father Frazer's grandfather (Robert, 1808-1860) was married to a very rich Irish woman (Bessie Roe) and he used to disappear to London where he actually spent two fortunes! He was persuaded by rather shady characters to invest money in schemes of which he knew nothing. His wife, who held the purse strings, advertised in a London paper that she would in no way be responsible for his debts.

Now Jamie's grandfather Joseph (1838-1908) had come over from Ireland and settled in London. This was the time of John Fraser's claim to the barony and estates. It seems that Joseph, who had no money, observed that John was illegitimate and not in the direct line. And that he himself was, but as he had no money to run the estates he would not lay claim, and that there was no point in claiming a title without the estate. He added that the Strichen Frasers had taken great care of them and therefore deserved to keep them.

Jamie's grandfather, the impoverished Joseph, stayed for some time at the vicarage. He was pretty ancient by that time. Blanche the housekeeper said he was very fond of her. He had a label pinned to him with his name and address as he used to go out for long walks and would be found wandering miles away.

Father Frazer also told me that when he was up at Oxford, he heard Lord Lovat, walking with a friend, say, pointing towards Joseph (himself or his father?), "There is the real Lord Lovat." Father Frazer knew that Lord Lovat knew.

During the last war I saw a photo of Simon Lord Lovat with his scouts - he was the image of Jamie - quite uncanny.

I was also told that pages had been torn out of registers etc in France in order to destroy any evidence required to trace ancestors there.

I find such family stories fascinating and believe that they hold the essence of family heritage. Please send me any family stories that are favourites, and that you would like to share.


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