Most, if not all bearers of this Scots surname are ultimately connected with the Scottish family who hold the title Baron Lovat. Their origins are uncertain, the relevant records having been destroyed or lost in various stormy episodes in medieval Scottish history. As early as 1340 the lack of charters interfered with Hugh Fraser's claim to suceed his brother. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. The first Fraser in the Highlands was possibly Sir Andrew who acquired the lands of Lovat through his wife, the daughter of the Earl of Orkney and Caithness, through her descent from Sir David de Graham and from the Bissets. By a series of advantageous marriages, the Frasers acquired lands in different parts of the country by 1375. The Frasers took their share in the feuds of the clans, and in 1544 they espoused the cause of Ranald for the chiefship of Clan Ranald as against the claim of John of Moidart. Ranald had been fostered by Lovat and a desperate battle was fought on the shores of Loch Lochy between the Frasers and the MacDonalds. This battle is known as the Blar-na-Leine (the Battle of the Shirts) because the combatants removed their shirts, and fought with such determination, that when it ended, only five Frasers and eight MacDonalds remained alive. The Frasers opposed Montrose, but supported Viscount Dundee. For the part played by the clan in the '45, Lord Lovat (the Old Fox) was executed, although it was his son who commanded the clan at Culloden. The son was pardoned for his part in the Rising, and in 1757, raised 1800 Frasers for service in America where they fought with distinction. The title was attained, and about fifty years later the direct line failed. In 1837 Thomas of Strichen was created Baron Lovat, and from him descend the present Baron Lovat. Lord Saltoun is chief of clan Fraser, but the Frasers of Lovat have for long formed the Highland branch.
Plant Badge - Yew
War Cry - CAISTEAL DHUNI
Pipe Music - Lovat's March.
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