18th February 1816

Historian William Fraser is born

Fraser was born close to Stonehaven and apprenticed as a solicitor in the town, but it’s not for his legal work that he’s remembered. Rather, his name entered Scottish history through his study of history itself and, in particular, his record of the country’s landed families, which ran to more than 50 volumes.

So important was his work that he was eventually knighted as a result and, in 1901, the University of Edinburgh founded the Sir William Fraser Chair of Scottish History and Paleography.  The chair was funded by a £25,000 bequest in Fraser’s will.

Questions in the House

When the University of Edinburgh proposed leaving the chair vacant for up to two years following the retirement of Professor Geoffrey Barrow in 1992, an early day motion tabled in the House of Commons called on it to reverse the decision immediately, remarking that “this House deplores the decision of Edinburgh University not to appoint [a replacement and]… states that a reduction of chairs of Scottish history to only two is a threat to Scotland’s identity as a nation”. Only two MPs signed the motion: Margaret Ewing and Andrew Welsh, both of the Scottish National Party.



Other events that occured in February

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