Frasers of Philorth

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The Frasers of Philorth are a Scottish lowland family, originally from the Anjou region of France. Their family seat is in Sauchen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Since the time of Alexander Fraser, 11th Lord Saltoun, the heads of the Philorth family are the Lords Saltoun. The current head of the Frasers of Philorth is Flora Fraser, 21st Lady Saltoun. The family's arms are "azure, three cinquefoils argent"—three silver strawberry flowers on a field of blue. The heraldic cinquefoil is a stylized five-point leaf; the cinquefoils which appear the Fraser of Philorth coat-of-arms are specifically strawberry flowers. Only the Lady or Lord Saltoun is permitted to display these arms plain and undifferenced.


Fraserburgh Alexander's grandson, also Alexander, married a daughter of the Earl of Ross, acquiring the lands of Philorth in Buchan, plus the castle of Cairnbulg, which has been the seat of the Fraser chiefs from that time forward.

In 1592, Sir Alexander, 8th Lord of Philorth, was given a charter by James VI for the fishing village of Faithlie. He improved the harbour, making the area a thriving town, which soon became a free port and burgh called Fraserburgh, a rival of Aberdeen.

The 9th Lord of Philorth married the heiress of the Lord Saltoun, a title borne by the Fraser chiefs ever since.

Fraserburgh was to have had a university, but the religious troubles and competition from Aberdeen stemmed the town’s growth. By building Fraserburgh Castle the Laird bankrupted himself, and had to sell the Castle of Philorth which passed out of the family for over 300 years until the 19th Lord Saltoun bought it back in 1934. Alexander, 9th Lord of Philorth, married the heiress of the Lord Saltoun, a title borne by the Clan Fraser chiefs since that time.

The Chiefship was in dispute between the Frasers of Philorth and another branch, which also came from Tweeddale, the Frasers of Muchalls.In the reign of Charles I. The peerage expired with the fourth Lord Fraser, who died in 1716 while on the run as a result of his participation in The Fifteen. The first two sons of Andrew, the 2nd Lord Fraser were thought to have died in the Battle of Dunbar (1650) in 1650, however in reality they were taken prisoner and sent to America, where they were placed into servitude. James and William Fraser changed their name to Frissell to protect themselves from Oliver Cromwell. James Frissell was placed in Roxbury and William in the Carolinas. Together, the two of them are responsible for almost all of the Frissells in America.

Family or clan?[edit]

In his colorfully expansive three volume history "The Frasers of Philorth", Alexander Fraser of Philorth, 18th Lord Saltoun states, in Volume One, (Edinburgh MDCCCLXXIX (1879):

"Some remarks upon the subject of the Highland Clan Fraser will explain their position; for their great influence in the Highlands of Scotland during comparatively modern times, and their possessions in those districts, have created the belief that all of the name must necessarily be members of that Clan, and some have supposed that the family had a Highland or Celtic origin, a supposition in some degree countenanced by one or two writers on the subject; especially by one who styles the town of Fraserburgh "strange offspring of a Highland Clan"... ...a branch, which also held lands in Forfarshire, obtained large possessions in the districts around Inverness, and eventually becoming very numerous, originated or formed the Highland Clan of the name. But the senior line, which continued to have their principal seat in the Lowlands, and those of the surname who remained in that section of Scotland, where Teutonic institutions prevailed, and whence the patriarchal system of Clans and Clanships had long been banished, had nothing to do with the origin or formation of the Highland Clan, and never belonged to it."

In other words, the Frasers of Philorth never belonged to the Highland Clan Fraser of Lovat, but are still related.[1]


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