The Boleskine Burial Groundmorthouse

Boleskine broadly covers an area from Loch Ness to Loch Killin but is more often associated locally with a small strip of land about which exists stories of death, witchcraft and religion.

The Boleskine burial ground is undoubtedly one of the better known land marks around South Loch Ness. It is situated on the B852 between Inverfarigaig and Foyers between the road and the loch and sits below  the burnt Boleskine House owned in past times by Aleister Crowley and later by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame.  There was a medieval church here, the walls off now part of the roofless enclosure on the east side of the graveyard, the only roofed building remaining being a small mort-house.  A mort-house was a mortuary where the coffined body would lay under guard until such time as it was of no use to body snatchers  and resurrectionists who would dig up newly interred bodies to sell to surgeons for medical studies. Boleskine has the only Mort house in the North of Scotland all the other buildings in cemeteries are watch-houses where someone would watch over the grave till such time as it was no use to body snatchers (generally around six weeks) .

No comprehensive record exists of the stones in this ancient graveyard. Therefore a small contingent from the South Loch Ness Heritage Group with help from some local people is undertaking the task of mapping the graveyard and recording all the known graves, slabs and memorials. Each known stone will be identified by position (a map will be included), description (shape, colour and motifs etc.) and the inscription recorded exactly as written (misspellings and errors included). A digital photograph will be taken of each stone and an index of names will be produced. It is expected that this survey will be of use and interest not only to the local population as part of its heritage but also to historians and genealogists tracing their family history.  When the survey is completed details  will be intimated on this web site , also of how to obtain relevant information of  the grave inscriptions and accompanying photo .

Two particular gravestones are perhaps worthy of mention

grave stone

The tombstone of Donald Fraser of Erchit dated 1730 clearly shows three holes made by musket balls. Legend has it that, just after the Battle of Culloden, a military wagon carrying supplies to Fort Augustus and guarded by soldiers, passed along the road above the burial ground as a funeral was taking place. One of the mourners is said to have grabbed a loaf of bread from the wagon and thrown it to some dogs. The soldiers fired their muskets to frighten the mourners before arresting the culprit and taking him to Fort Augustus. Those musket holes are still visible today. The story has a happy ending in that the minister of the time, one Thomas Fraser, followed on to the fort and persuaded the Duke of Cumberland to release his prisoner. In the attached photo, the musket holes can be seen in a line downwards toward the right-hand side of the stone.grave stoneAnother grave, that of The Honorable Jane Fraser, mentions her husband, The Honorable Archibald Campbell Fraser, 38th Chief of the Chief of the Frasers, son of Simon 12th Lord Fraser of Lovat beheaded at Tower Hill in 1747.

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15 Responses to Boleskine Burial Ground

  • Hi there, I visited Loch Ness last year and had a look at the burial ground which is lovely. I was wondering who owns it now?
    Thank you

  • Hi there
    I was up yesterday and took some photos… Probably not amazing ones, but if you’d like copies I’d be delighted to forward them to you. I ‘think’ my GGG Grandad was from there around 1777, but have been unable to definitively certify this… Yet!!
    I am certainly interested in any information that anyone has regarding the Fraser family from here.


    • Hi Ish,
      Sorry unfortunately we do not research genealogy in the area as it is very time consuming we are more involved with place names of the area. Inverness the largest local town has an archive centre incorporating a family history centre which have employed genealogists, one of them Ann Fraser comes from Dores and may be able to help you but there will be a charge involved as she is employed by the Archive centre.

      The Highland Family History society based in Inverness may be able to help, see contact email address
      Thank you for the offer of current Boleskine cemetery photos, but as we local, so any we require specifically we would be able to take as required. As this is Fraser clan area the predominate surname in the area was Fraser so as you can imagine it is quite difficult to trace Fraser family lines


    • I missed your reply yes thank you so much if you have any photos I would realty like to see them. Many thanks Louisa

  • Interesting! My G (x4) grandfather Corporal Thomas Fraser was born in Boleskine in 1755; I went to this graveyard in hope to find his parents: Thomas Fraser and Mary “McGilvry”. Alas! Too many graves and too many Frasers. Corporal Fraser fought for the British in the US revolution, was defeated at Yorktown and re-settled in New Brunswick Canada; he was a member of the 42nd Blackwatch Regiment, many of whom also settled in the same New Brunswick, Canada valley with surnames of Ross, Cameron, MacPherson, McNabb and MacKenzie. Your info. is very helpful.

    • To Harry McKone. Hi. I would really like to hear from you. I have written a book on the 71st Fraser Regt in the American war of independence. I have hundreds of original musters, documents etc. I am working in a reprint and am concentrating this week on Capt Thimas Fraser of Leadclune. I have researched 71st settlers in New Brunswick too.
      please contact me.
      Anyone else interested in the Frasers of Leadclune too

      • Cptn Fraser of the 71st had a brother Alexander who was a well known solicitor of Lincoln’s Inn. Alexander Fraser of Lincoln’s Inn is mentioned in a will of a cousin of mine. My cousin’s will refers to Alexander as his cousin. I am tracking how this relationship could be documented. Do you have any information on the mother of Cptn. Fraser? She apparently was the daughter of William Fraser of Ruthven. Did William have any other daughters?

        Any information will be appreciated.

        • Gordon
          I don’t have anything on his mother but I know he had sixteen children. I don’t know how I would put all the documents I have on here, so although I am reluctant to put my email address on, it is

          I mis spelled on my previous!

      • Ed Brumby: Are you still working of Capt. Thomas Fraser of Leadclune?

    • Hello Harry McKone. I too am a decendant of Corp Thomas Fraser out of Nashwaak NB, and have been very interested in visiting Boleskine to do further research as you had. Family surnames include Craig, MacKenzie, McLaggan and McKay. If you have found any further info on Thomas’ parents or siblings I would glad to hear from you.

    • Harry
      I would really like to hear from you re your 42nd descendant. I don’t really like putting my email address in but it is

  • Hi

    My grandfather was Angus MacArthur and he is pictured in the 1908 photograph at Boleskine school with his brothers and sister.

    His father, my great grandfather I understand was the parish minister and reverend John MacArthur. I am interested to know if anybody would know where his burial site may be or if there is a record of him anywhere.(Dealt with)



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