Foren­sic ex­pert to tackle mys­tery of Si­mon the Fox

In­ves­ti­ga­tion: Tests to find out true fi­nal rest­ing place of Ja­co­bite clan chief

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - NEWS - BY ANN MACK

The mys­tery over the burial place of an ex­e­cuted Ja­co­bite clan chief could be solved next month by a renowned foren­sic ex­pert.

It has long been be­lieved by many peo­ple that the re­mains of Si­mon Fraser, 11th Lord Lo­vat – aka “the Fox” – lay in a crypt at Ward­law Mau­soleum at Kirkhill.

This is de­spite of­fi­cial records show­ing the Ja­co­bite sym­pa­thiser was buried at the Tower of Lon­don, where he was be­headed on April 9, 1747. It is thought he was around 78 when he be­came the last per­son to be ex­e­cuted by be­head­ing in Bri­tain.

“I be­lieve Si­mon Fraser’s body is in our crypt, but we want 100% proof”

But if tests prove the re­mains in a crypt at Ward­law are those of Si­mon Fraser, it leaves the ques­tion of who, or what, lies buried in his place at the Tower.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be car­ried out by Pro­fes­sor Dame Sue Black of the Cen­tre for Anatomy and Hu­man Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion at Dundee Univer­sity.

Pro­fes­sor Black came to Ward­law Mau­soleum last Oc­to­ber to dis­cuss the case with cu­ra­tor Erik Lund­berg. They opened the cof­fin and could see that the re­mains had no head.

Af­ter his ex­e­cu­tion it was re­ported that Si­mon Fraser’s was placed on a spike at Traitor’s Gate at the Tower of Lon­don.

Mr Lund­berg said: “I be­lieve Si­mon Fraser’s body is in our crypt, but we re­ally want to have 100% proof.

“When Pro­fes­sor Black car­ries out her de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tion, it might be dif­fi­cult to do a DNA test as this is best done when it fol­lows the fe­male line.

“But she will be able to find out the height of the body by ex­am­in­ing the bones and will be able to dis­cover if there were old in­juries.

“She will also be able to see if there are axe marks at the top of the ver­te­brae at the neck. There is a Hog­a­rth print of Si­mon Fraser and sev­eral books about him so there should be enough in­for­ma­tion to see if this is a phys­i­cal match.”

Mr Lund­berg said it is thought Ja­co­bite sup­port­ers brought the cof­fin con­tain­ing Si­mon the Fox back to Ward­law – the tra­di­tional burial place of the Lo­vat Frasers. “Dur­ing the restora­tion of the Tower of Lon­don in the 19th cen­tury, var­i­ous plaques from coffins were found and one had Si­mon Fraser’s name on it, so that is why the of­fi­cial line is that he is buried there,” he added.

SKULLDUGGERY: If Prof Dame Sue Black dis­cov­ers the re­mains at Ward­law are those of Si­mon Fraser, who or what is buried at the Tower?

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