The Frasers of Guisachan & Culbokie were descended
from William Fraser of Guisachan, the second son of Thomas Fraser Lord Lovat [1469-1524]
by his first wife, Janet Gordon. William was killed at Loch Lochy in 1544, together with
his younger brother, James Fraser of Foyness (Phoineas), his older brother, Hugh Fraser
Lord Lovat [1494-1544], and Lord Hughs eldest son, Hugh, Master of Lovat. This was
the famous and bloody Blar-na-leine or Battle of the Shirts between the Frasers and the
William Fraser 8th of Guisachan, by his wife Margaret Macdonell of Ardnabie, had five daughters, and nine other sons who held various commissions in the British Army. Captain John Fraser served with the 78th Fraser Highlanders under Lt-Colonel Simon Fraser of Lovat and later became a judge of the court of common pleas at Montreal. He died in 1795, leaving numerous descendants. Captain Simon Fraser of the Glengarry Fencibles emigrated to America with his family in 1773 and fought as a Loyalist in the American Revolution. He was captured and died in Albany Jail in 1779. Captain Simons widow brought the family to Canada, including their youngest son Simon, born near Bennington, VT. Young Simon was educated under the supervision of his uncle John, who arranged for him to be hired as an apprentice in the NorthWest Company. Simon Fraser [1776-1862] became a famous explorer, with a B.C. river and university named after him.
William Fraser 9th of Guisachan [Young Culbokie], built a new mansion house after succeeding to the estate on the death of his father in 1755. His great grandson William Fraser 11th of Guisachan was only 16 when he inherited the estate on the death of his grandfather in 1843 and 27 when he sold Guisachan in 1854 to Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, later Lord Tweedmouth and father of Ishbel, who became Lady Aberdeen - thus ending over 300 years of Fraser ownership.
18th Century etching by Augustus Butler depicting Guisachan House
There is a story told by Miss Mairi Chisholm (daughter of Margaret Fraser and Captain Ruari Chisholm) that during a dinner party at Guisachan, her grandfather said, "If anyone gave me £60,000 for Guisachan, I would sell it tomorrow." "Done," came the reply from the other end of the table. When her grandfather asked to be released from the sale the next day as he had not meant his remarks at dinner, Marjoribanks replied, "No. A gentlemans word is his bond." The sale of Guisachan estate, then about 20,000 acres, was completed for £52,000. Lord Tweedmouth built a new mansion house. His son Edward left the place after the death in 1904 of his young wife Fanny Spencer-Churchill (aunt of young Winston Churchill, who often spent holidays at Guisachan).
Guisachan House by Tomich,
Strathglass in its heyday
In 1962 the estate (considerably reduced in size) was
bought by a descendant of the Frasers of Gortuleg. Sadly, by that time Guisachan House was
a ruin. The estate was sold again in 1966 to a descendant of the Frasers of Balnain, and
is now in the hands of his son, Donald Fraser, who in 1990 wrote a wonderful booklet
A History of Guisachan describing life under the Frasers and Lord
This Feature Page was posted May 4/99