The Black Knee ChroniclesVolume 5
by Hugh Frazer
This Chronicle presents the story of Simon of Brea, which by rights should have been the starting point of this series, being the accepted theory for our unknown ancestor for most of this century,
In 1885, John Fraser of Carnarvon presented a petition to the Committee of Privileges for the House of Lords putting his claim to "the dignity, title and honours of the Barony of Lovat".
John Fraser claimed to be a direct descendant of Alexander, elder brother of Simon, 12th Lord Lovat, beheaded for treason in 1747.
It was otherwise thought that Alexander died without issue from wounds sustained at Killiecrankie, but John claimed that Alexander had settled in Wales, married and had children, with John being the senior descendant.
The petition was heard in June 1885 but was dismissed - "Resolved that it is the opinion of the Committee that John Fraser has no right to the title, dignity and honours claimed in this petition".
This case motivated Joseph Frazer (1838 - 1908) to pen a letter to the Daily Mail. I do not know if this letter was published, or even actually sent, but in it Joseph claims that Archibald was the son of Alexander. Although this claim was later abandoned, it aroused the curiosity of his children, particularly of Joseph (1869 - 1946) and Wilson (1873 - 1963).
Shortly after the 1st World War, Joseph made an exhaustive study of the Lovat Frasers, and he and Wilson came to the conclusion that the connecting link to Lovat would have been Simon of Brea.
This lead to a lifetime of research for both Joseph and Wilson, and this work became to some extent a focus for bringing the family into closer contact. The Brea theory became the accepted family tradition.
It was not until many years after Joseph's death that Wilson started to explore the possibilities of Simon the notorious traitor being our illusive ancestor. At the time of publishing the first Black Knee Chronicle, I was not aware that he had kept his later researches much to himself, so that I was publishing new and controversial material.
Suffice it to say that we do not yet know the truth, and that, despite Wilson's later work, Simon of Brea is still a leading contender.