Occupants of the Saltoun Family Mausoleum, some more certain than others.

Who they wereWhat we know
Sir Alexander Fraser, 8th of Philorth 1537 – 1623.Sir Alexander built Kinnaird Head Castle in 1570 and received from King James VI in 1577 and 1592 charters creating a Burgh of Regality and a Free Port, called Fraser’s Burgh, being also authorised to found a university.

His 1623 will states:  “…..I commend my saull into the handis of my heawenlie father, and I ordeane my bodie to be buried at the south syd of the kirk of Fraserburge, and ane Ile to be buildit there, and ane little woult to be biuldit upon my corpse, that my bodie may rest till the glorious appeirnace of my blissed Sauior the Lord Jesus Cryst, at which tyme I hope for a glorious resurrection with the rest of Godis sanits :  my will is that the Ils be woultit and ane chalmer to be buildit aboue the woult, to be ane cessioun house or chalmer to the minister.  The ile to be thritte foot of heicht and als meke of length, and ane steeple to be buildit on the Ile, and ane bell to be put tharin, and passage to be maid on the eist syd, that the minister may go thereafter to the pulpit.”

He was buried in accordance with his last directions, at the south side of the church. We don’t know whether the vault and aisle were built as he had ordered. The old church was pulled down, and another erected on the same spot in 1782.

Alexander Fraser, 9th of Philorth (born c 1570 died c 1636)

Possible Occupant of the Vault.

Alexander Fraser, ninth of Philorth, was born about 1570; he received certain lands from his father during the latter’s lifetime, Aberdour, Scattertie, Tiberlie, and Utlaw, and on his marriage, in 1596, he received the lands of Pittulie.

Alexander married first Margaret, daughter of George, 7th Lord Saltoun of Abernethy and she died before 1608.

He then married Isobel Gordon, daughter of Robert Gordon of Lochivar.

He was served heir to his father in the lands and barony of Philorth and others on 17 December 1624, but his proprietorship must have been merely nominal, as Sir Alexander, his father, had resigned the lands of Philorth, etc., in 1615, in favour of his eldest grandson, Alexander, tenth of Philorth.

His life was uneventful. There is no mention of a burial place or a vault at his death, the date of which is only estimated from the fact that he is noted to have recently died in the records of a lawsuit dated 1637.

Alexander Fraser,

10th Lord Saltoun


10th of Philorth (1604-1693)

Alexander Fraser was educated at King’s College, Aberdeen graduating in 1619.  He signed the Solemn League and Covenant in1638 and served in Montrose’s army in 1369.  In 1644 he was an active supporter of the Covenanters.

He inherited the title of Lord Philorth in 1836.

As the result of a lawsuit Alexander lost the property of Cairnbulg and the manor place of Philorth (Cairnbulg Castle). he built Philorth House as a new family home in the 1660’s.

Financial difficulties ensued, however, when in 1670 he inherited from his unmarried cousin Margaret Abernethy the Saltoun title, which brought with it large debts.

He married three times: 1st Lady Ann Kerr, daughter of the Earl of Lothian who died in Fraserburgh aged 26;  2nd Dame Marion Cunyngham, widowed Countess of Findlater, who died shortly after the marriage ; 3rd Lady Sophia Erskine, sister of the Earls of Kellie, who may have survived him.

The title was inherited by his second son with Anne Kerr, William Fraser, the older son having predeceased his father.

The 10th Lord Saltoun’s death is recorded in the registry of the Episcopal Congregation of Fraserburgh:

Alexander Lord Saltoun, came to the lodging on the 10th day of July, in the year of God 1693, and he departed out of this life the 11th day of August 1693, and was buried in his own Ile in Fraserburgh the 18th of the present month.   He was carried to the Seatown on the 12th day of August at night.”  

It seems reasonable to believe that the remains of wives Ann Kerr and Marion Cunyngham were also placed in the vault at the time of their deaths.

William Fraser 11th Lord Saltoun, (1654 -1715)

William Fraser was considered to be an industrious and frugal man who during his lifetime managed to pay off debts and accrue a sizeable fortune.

He also had the advantage of having married Margaret Sharpe, daughter of the murdered Archbishop of St. Andrew’s,  Margaret, although not the Archbishop’s sole heir, brought a very considerable tocher (dowry) with her.

William had particular interests in mercantile projects and was a promoter of the Indian and African Companies, which were involved in shipping slaves from Africa to be sold in Jamaica.  Their ships sailed from Liverpool with goods to Africa, bought the slaves there and transported them to Jamaica and returned home laden with sugar and rum.  He invested in the South Sea Company which was also involved with the transportation of slaves to South America.

His health began to decline some months before his death, and, after a long illness he died on the 18th of March 1715, and his remains placed in the family vault.

Alexander Fraser, 12th Lord Saltoun (c.1684 -1748)

in 1707, Alexander Fraser, 12th Lord Saltoun married Lady Mary Gordon, daughter of George, 1st Earl of Aberdeen, and her dowry enabled him to restore the family fortunes still further.

On his father’s death in 1715 however, it became clear that much of the 11th Lord Saltoun’s money was already invested in loans used to finance the South Sea Company, which was to crash in spectacular fashion in 1721, with the bursting of the ‘South Sea Bubble’.

There were 462 members of the House of Commons and 112 Peers in the South Sea Company who were involved in the crash.

Lord Saltoun was an active politician and a supporter of the government. He did not espouse the Jacobite cause either in 1715 or in 1745 when his health may already have been failing; he died on July 24th 1748 at Philorth.

Mary died on February 18, 1753 at the age of  70 at Kinnaird Head.

Both Alexander and Mary’s arms are on the East Wall of the mausoleum; it seems reasonable to assume their remains were placed there.

Alexander Fraser,

13th Lord Saltoun (c 1720 -1751)

Alexander 13th Lord Saltoun was much given to foreign travel and spent some time in Paris. He lived in London during the time of the Jacobite rising in 1745/6 and this may have been his means of avoiding being drawn into trouble at home.

He succeeded to the title in 1748 but died only three years later at Fraserburgh on October 10, 1751. It is likely that his remains were placed in the Mausoleum.

He had not married and was followed by his brother George.

George Fraser 14th Lord Saltoun (1720 -1781) George married his cousin Eleanor Gordon, daughter of his aunt Henrietta Fraser and John Gordon of Kinellar.

He was a soldier in the Royal Marines where he rose to be a lieutenant, later spending his time managing his estate in Fraserburgh.

George died on August 30, 1781 (60) at Philorth. It seems safe to assume that his remains were placed in the Mausoleum.

Eleanor however died in 1800, and was buried at Holyrood Chapel.

Alexander Fraser, 15th Lord Saltoun (1758 -1793) 

Alexander was admitted to the Bar in 1780 but did not practice for any time since his father died the following year and he inheritade the Saltoun title.

It was he who sold Kinnaird Head Castle to the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1786.

He married Margery Fraser “Ness Madgie”, daughter of Simon Fraser of Ness Castle and died of gout at the age of 35 on September 13, 1793 while visiting his wife’s parents in Kent.

His remains were returned to Philorth and he was buried in the family vault in Fraserburgh.

In 1826 Margery died and her remains were buried in Holyrood Chapel. In 1853, however, they were laid beside her husband in the mausoleum.

Lieutenant General Alexander George Fraser, KTG, CB, GCH, 16th Lord Saltoun    

‘Waterloo Saltoun’


Alexander was born on 22nd April 1785 and was only eight or so years of age when his father died.   He entered the army as an ensign in the 35th regiment and became a lieutenant in the 42nd Highlanders where he rose to be captain.  He joined the brigade of Guards and was involved in the Napoleonic wars, initially in the battle of Corunna in 1809.  In 1811 he returned to Spain with his regiment and fought alongside the Spanish at the battle of Barrosa.   After some leave he returned to Portugal and was involved in the siege of San Sebastian.  In 1813 he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and in charge of the light companies of the brigade of Guards.  Following Napoleon’s captivity and exile to Elba Alexander resigned his command and returned to England.  He proposed to Catherine Thurlow and they were married on 6th March 1815.

Only few weeks later he was summonsed to join his regiment and they left for Belgium.  The regiment was engaged in the Battle of Quatre Bras and Waterloo holding key positions.  After the battle his regiment was renamed the Grenadier Guards in recognition of their vital part in the final defeat of Napoleon.

Catherine died in 1826 and her remains placed in the mausoelum.

Alexander attended the House of Lords and took an active part in supporting the Tory party.  In 1841 he was sent to China with reinforcements to join Sir Hugh Gough in the opium wars.  Following a treaty he set up headquarters in Singapore.  He returned home in 1844 and resumed his parliamentary life.  During his lifetime earned the honours of Order of the Thistle, Knight Commander of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross of Hanover, orders of Maria Theresa of Austria and St. George of Russia.

He died on 18th August 1853 at his Shooting Lodge near Rothes.  His remains were returned to Philorth House and were then placed in the mausoleum on the 25th August.

Alexander Fraser, 17th Lord Saltoun


‘Waterloo Saltoun’ was succeeded by his nephew, Alexander Fraser, third son of William Fraser and Elizabeth McDowell Grant and grandson of Alexander Fraser 15th Lord Saltoun, born on 5 May 1820 at Philorth.

He married Charlotte Evans, daughter of Thomas Browne Evans and Charlotte Simeon.

He was known as “Big Zander” and had a great interest in his family history.  It was he who wrote the 3 volumes of “The Frasers of Philorth”,  published privately in 1879 and from which much of this information is drawn. He commissioned the statue of ‘Waterloo Saltoun’ in miltary dress, placed in 1871 at the corner of the Town House, now the Faithlie Centre.

He also wrote to the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1864, requesting the return of “old inscribed stones” from Fraserburgh castle.

He died on 1 February 1886 in London, aged 65 years old.

I have been unable to ascertain whether either Alexander or Charlotte’s remains are placed in the old Mausoleum – or elsewhere (perhaps Mrs Nicholson could confirm).

Certainly the remains of all subsequent generations, if at Fraserburgh, are resting in the replica Mausoleum at Kirkton Cemetery, to the South of the town.