School of History, Classics and Archaeology Teaching Collections

Sir William Fraser Facsimiles of Scottish Charters and Letters


Sir William Fraser Facsimiles of Scottish Charters and Letters


Sir William Fraser (1816-1898) was a genealogist, archivist, and Scottish historian. Trained as a solicitor, his professional involvement with peerage cases began a lifetime of research into the genealogy of Scotland’s most prominent landed families. Each of these families had its own charter chest, containing several centuries worth of muniments and letters. Fraser spent decades examining these collections, and used the material to furnish a series of family histories which were to occupy him over the course of a long and productive career. These volumes, produced at private expense, were accompanied by chromolithographic illustrations of the manuscripts in question. A series of 288 of these facsimiles of charters and letters, spanning from the eleventh to the early nineteenth century, was published by the Trustees of Sir William Fraser in 1903. A set of these original facsimiles is held by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, and another by the CRC Special Collections in the Edinburgh University Library. Since July 2015 this collection has been digitised and made available online for teaching and research purposes. 

The original Sir William Fraser facsimiles are available for consultation in the CRC Special Collections in the Edinburgh University Library. A scan of the accompanying handlist is available as a PDF here.

For a full biography, Gordon Donaldson, Sir William Fraser: the man and his work (Edinburgh, 1985) is available from the Main Library.

Collection Items

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