This ancient Scottish clan surname, is widely recorded in the spellings of Fraser, Frazer and Frazier, the latter being an American spelling. Curiously, although alwayts associated with Tweedale, its exact origins remain undetermined. The earliest recorded spelling forms include de Fresel, de Friselle and de Freseliere, indicating a possible French locational origin, however, there is no place in France answering to the spelling. A more likely explanation is that the name is not French at all, since the word 'fraisse' heraldically describes a strawberry, and it is known that early lands of the clan included an area at Neidpath where strawberys grew prolifically.Certainly the clan were know as the "Strawberry bearers", from their heraldic coat of arms, but this possibly sarcastic description does not seem to have harmed their chances in the world, the clan at onetime being the most powerful in Scotland. Examples of the early surname recordings include Symon Ffraser, who gave the church of Keith to the Abbey of Kelso in the late 12th Century, and George Freser who witnessed a Charter by Walter Olifard in the year 1210. Sir Simon Fraser, known as "the Scottish patriot" was one of Sir Willam Wallaces commanders. It is recorded that in the battle of Roslin in 1302, he defeated three regiments of the English army in one day. The Frasers were equally as proficient at aquiring land. By a series of advantageous marriages they spread their influence right across Scotland, William Fraser, earl of Ross, was chancellor of Scotland from 1319 - 1326. He fought with King Robert, The Bruce, at Methven in 1306. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir Simon Frasee, which was dated circa 1160, in "Rolls and Charters of East Lothian", Scotland, during the reign of King Malcolm 1V of Scotland, 1153 - 1165. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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