Hon. William Fraser

12th Oct 1791 - 21st Mar 1845

Claimant or beneficiary


Hon. William Fraser (1791-1845), London merchant, partner in Hon. Wm Fraser, Alexander, Neilson (q.v.), and 3rd son of Alexander Frazer, Lord Saltoun and Marjory Fraser, daughter and heir[ess] of the London merchant Simon Fraser of Ness Castle (q.v.).

  1. Hon. William Fraser's son Alexander became 18th Lord Saltoun upon the death of Hon. William Fraser's oldest brother Alexander George in 1853 (the second brother, the Hon. Simon Fraser (q.v.), had died in 1811).

  2. Two very different assessments of William Fraser appear in a volume of family memoirs of the later 19th century and a contemporary set of observations by a young servant in Fraser's household. According to Alexander Fraser (Lord Saltoun), The Frasers of Philorth 'His [the Hon.William Fraser's] character may be given in a very few words. He never made an enemy. Robust and active, he delighted in field sports and athletic exercise, while the kindness of his disposition and the geniality of his temper made him a very general favourite. A good husband and father, and a warm friend, there were many that sorrowed for this comparatively early death.' According to Christian Watt, who started work at Philorth in the 1840s '[t]he Laird's younger brother was not liked in the Broch [Fraserburgh]. He was known as "slave Willie". Along with a blackguard called Neilson from Liverpool he had taken part in the vile traffic of selling human beings in America and buying them in Africa. Willie did the books and Neilson did the dirty work, and after this awful trade was abolished, both landed in the gutter where they belonged. I can mind on WiIlie; he died after I worked at Philorth first. The mannie Neilson had several sons, all in the Army, where a smart uniform can make an erraster look like a gentleman until he opens his mouth. They used to shoot at Philorth, a lewd foul mouthed lot. The staff breathed a sigh of relief when slave Willie died first, he was Lord Saltoun's heir, and they had visions of him occupying Philorth with his vast brood.'


T71/892 St Vincent claim nos. 449B (Orange Hill), 450 (Waterloo Estate), 451 (Lot no 14 Estate (sic)), 557 (Sion Hill), 574 (Montrose), 599 (Golden Grove) and 745 (Cheltenham, Island of mustique); T71/877 Antigua claim no. 1045 (Yapton Farm?); T71/894 Trinidad claim no. 1838A & B (Clydesdale Cottage); T71/880 Grenada claim no. 955 (Union Estate).

  1. www.electricscotland.com/canada/fraser/merchants.htm [accessed 06/08/2012].

  2. Alexander Fraser (Lord Saltoun), The Frasers of Philorth [Edinburgh, 1879], p.313; Christian Watt (ed. David Fraser), The Christian Watt Papers (Edinburgh: Paul Harris Publishing,1993), p. 39 [William Fraser and Claud Neilson cannot have been engaged in the transatlantic slave trade in the 1840s, so that Christian Watt must have conflated their slave-ownership before Emancipation with slave-trading].

We are grateful to David Alston his help with this entry and for supplying the extracts from The Frasers of Philorth and The Christian Watt Papers.

Further Information

Elizabeth Graham Macdowall
Alexander Fraser, 18th Lord Saltoun (1820-1886)

Associated Claims (10)

£1,681 4S 1D
Awardee (Mortgagee)
£3,679 6S 5D
Awardee (Judgement creditor)
£8,926 12S 3D
£3,794 13S 7D
£2,993 13S 1D
Awardee (Mortgagee)
£3,101 19S 9D
Awardee (Mortgagee)
£6,525 9S 0D
Awardee (Mortgagee)
£3,363 5S 10D
£7,856 11S 7D
£1,341 12S 9D

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Firm Investment

Relationships (1)

Grandson → Grandfather

Addresses (1)

4 Manchester Square, London, Middlesex, London, England