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Tartan Illustrated: Fraser Hunting Modern
Motto: 'All My Hope Is In God'
The first reputed record is that of "Frysel" (vowels were at the time often interchanged), recorded on the Battle Abbey Roll - supposedly a list of William the Conqueror's companions, preserved at Battle Abbey, on the site of his great victory over Harold.However, the authenticity of the manuscript is seriously doubted. Note: The name "Ricardus Fresle" appears in the original Latin version of the Domesday Book as a tenant-in-chief in Nottingham. Also the hamlet of Fresle exists to this very day in Haute-Normandie and can be found on Google-Earth.
The first definite record of the name in Scotland occurs in the mid-12th century as "de Fresel", "de Friselle", and "de Freseliere", and appears to be a Norman name. Although there is no known placename in France that corresponds with it, the French surname "Frézelière" or "de la Frézelière" or "Frézeau de la Frézelière", apparent in France to this day, corresponds with Scottish version in spelling and traditional area of origin - Anjou. Indeed, apparently while in exile in France Simon Fraser 11th Lord Lovat "entered into a formal league of amnity" and "declared an alliance" with the French Marquis de la Frézelière and claimed common origin from the "les seigneurs de la Frézelière". The first annual gathering of the Clan Fraser in Canada in 1894 also recalls this connection.
Another tradition claims derivation from a Frenchman called "Pierre Fraser, Seigneur de Troile", who came to Scotland in the reign of Charlemagne to form an alliance with the mythical King Achaius. Pierre's son was then to have become thane of the Isle of Man in 814.
Yet another explanation for the surname is that it is derived from the French words fraise, meaning strawberry (the fruit), and fraisiers, strawberry plants. There is a fabled account of the Fraser coat of arms which asserts during the reign of Charles the Simple of France, a nobleman from Bourbon named Julius de Berry entertained the King with a dish of fine strawberries. De Berry was then later knighted, with the knight taking strawberry flowers as his Arms and changing his name from 'de Berry' to 'Fraiseux' or 'Frezeliere'. His direct descendants were to become the lords of Neidpath Castle, then known as Oliver. This origin has been disputed, and seen as a classic example of canting heraldry, where heraldic symbols are derived from a pun on similar sounding surname: (strawberry flowers - fraises).