Outlander vs. Clan Fraser of Lovat

The US-American series “Outlander” brings the novels of Diana Gabaldon’s Highland saga to television in 4 seasons so far. In the meantime, shooting is already underway for the 5th season.

The series is not only set in Scotland, but also features the clan Fraser of Lovat and even Lord Lovat. That’s why it’s so important that we take a look at the history of the series and see where there are similarities with our history.

The Plot

In 1946, the nurse Claire is on her second honeymoon together with her husband Frank. The journey goes to the Scottish Highlands, more precisely to the vicinity of Inverness.
Within a stone circle, the “Craigh-na-dun”, Claire falls through time and lands in 1743.
The only way she can save herself from the initial difficulties is marrying a Scot – the handsome Jamie Fraser. The marriage of convenience becomes the great love.
Despite the luck of love, Scotland is facing a catastrophe, because the second Jacobite rebellion and, the defeat in the Culloden moor is imminent.

The first season tells of the time of meetings and preparations for the rebellion. It ends with the beginning of the Battle of Culloden. In the first episodes, the 2nd season deals with the battle from the point of view of Highlander Jamie Fraser, who miraculously survives.


Which facts can still be proven today?
How close are the stories to the story?

So let’s start by drilling and cleaning up something in history:

Clans, tartans and clan men:

The Clan Mackenzie and Fraser were actually both convinced Jacobites. After the rebellion had failed, however, both clans reconciled with the British, adapted and merged with the noble British upper class.
Despite the harmonious names of the clans, there was no direct connection between the two. As far as participation in the Jacobite rebellion is concerned, I have already addressed this in the first section. Unfortunately the series doesn’t show what happened to the clans after Culloden.

The Tartan used in the series was specially developed for this purpose and does not resemble the tartans of the involved clans. This also results from respect for the tradition of these proud families. After the 2nd Jacobite rebellion, no kilts or tartan patterns were allowed to be worn. The clans were deprived of their personality and ability to defend themselves.

Simon Fraser, the 11th Lord Lovat (In the movie Jamie’s grandfather) is a real historical personality. He changed the sides several times in the conflict between the Jacobites and the House of Hanover and finally he supported the Jacobites. Because of exactly this vicissitude he was sentenced to death for treason and executed in 1747.
The series also addresses the subject of changeability well – at first he doesn’t want to send anyone of his clan to Culloden, but then he decides to change his mind. Also from the personality, the makers of “Outlander” have met the “old fox” very well.

Apropos Fraser – Even if it won’t surprise anyone, there was no James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. Also there was no James Fraser at the given time – there are 2 documentary mentioned in the 12th and 15th century, so everything before the time in which the series plays.

Scenes of events:

The battlefield of Culloden is a historically correct site. Here the Jacobites fought against the English troops. This battle sealed sadly the end of Scottish clan life and culture.

Even if it looks romantic, Lallybroch is not the seat of Clan Fraser or Mackenzie. The real name of the building is Midhope Castle and is located about four kilometres west of South Queensferry. In fact, it belonged to the Earls of Linlithgow from the Clan Livingstone at the time. They took it over from Alexander Drummond of Midhope from the Clan Drummond.

Even a castle Leoch does not exist in reality. In the movie you can see Doune Castle, but it was built by Robert Stuart, the 1st Duke of Albany and has nothing to do with the Clan Fraser.
In the time of the 2nd Jacobite rebellion, the Jacobites used Doune Castle as a prison.
The actual family seat of Clan Fraser at the time stated was Beaufort Castle. The castle was owned by the family until the late 1990s. Unfortunately, it had to be sold because of an excessively high inheritance tax. The current Lord Lovat works tirelessly to ensure that the castle once again comes into the possession of the family.

Why did the Jacobite rebellion come about?

The Jacobites were not interested in Scotland’s independence and liberation from the English. The Jacobites were Catholic followers of the House of Stuart, which sat on the throne of Great Britain until 1714. The last Catholic Stuart King James II was deposed in 1689 and replaced by his Protestant daughter Mary II and her husband William III. After both Mary and her sister Anne died without an heir, the throne went to George I of the House of Hannover in 1714. He was the next heir to the throne after the “Act of Settlement” banished all Catholics from the throne. The Jacobites, on the other hand, rose up and regarded James II, his son James and his son Charles (called Bonnie Prince Charlie) as rightful kings.


In some places a very serious research was done. Especially the names of the clans and their participation in the rebellion are correct.
In the words of Simon Fraser, 18th Lord Lovat, “What’s not to like?” It raises the interest in Scotland the Scottish clans and their history.

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