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Clan and Tartan

Tartan Tuesday: Clan Fraser of Lovat

Tartan Tuesday: Clan Fraser of Lovat
By Kirsty McIntyre

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Clan motto: Je Suis Prest ("I am Ready")

As Outlander returns to the screen for its fourth season, millions of viewers around the world will tune in to see the show's Fraser family. But did you know the characters are actually members of clan Fraser of Lovat? Despite sharing a common origin with clan Fraser, the two are now distinct families.

It is believed that the Frasers came to Britain from France with William the Conqueror in 1066. One theory of the name's origin is the strawberry plant - known as "fraisier" in French. The strawberry flower has made its way onto the Fraser coat of arms, although it is unconfirmed if this is the true origin of the name.

The first record of the Fraser clan comes in the late 12th century, when Simon Fraser was awarded lands in East Lothian. They were involved in the Scottish Wars of Independence, with the eighty year old Sir Simon Fraser executed by King Edward I in 1306 after fighting alongside King Robert the Bruce.

The Fraser of Lovat line originated with Simon Fraser, the younger brother of Sir Alexander Fraser, chamberlain to Robert the Bruce. The lands around Beauly in Inverness were acquired by Simon through marriage, and to this day Fraser is the most prominent surname in Inverness-shire.

Clan Fraser of Lovat had a long-running feud with the MacDonalds of Clanranald, and fought with them at "Blar-na-Leine", or The Battle of the Shirts, in 1544. It's thought the battle was so called because the weather was so warm that fighters on both sides removed their plaids and fought only in their shirts. Despite the MacDonald troops being greater in number, the battle resulted in a stalemate, with five Fraser and eight MacDonald clansmen remaining.

Notable Frasers

Clan Fraser have come to worldwide prominence as the stars of the Outlander TV series and books by Diana Gabaldon. The series shows the clan involved in a number of famous events in Scottish history, including Scotland's clan system and the Battle of Culloden.

Actress Shelagh Fraser was best known for playing Luke Skywalker's aunt, Beru Lars, in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

American actor Brendan Fraser played Rick O'Connell in the Mummy trilogy, and starred in several others including George of the Jungle and Journey to the Centre of the Earth.