The Collection

Your selection


Fraser, William, Sir, 1st Baronet of Ledeclune, Shipowner, 1737-1818.


Object connections:

Collection Archive
Gallery locationNot on display

Record details:

Biographical details Fraser was born near Inverness in 1737 and started his seagoing career in 1759 as fourth mate on the East India Company ship PRINCE EDWARD. He was in command of the LORD MANSFIELD when this vessel was lost coming out of the Bengal River in 1773. He became sufficiently wealthy to turn his interests to shipowning and his final voyage as a commander was on the EARL OF MANSFIELD in 1784. He married Elizabeth (Betty) Farquharson at St Giles, Camberwell, in 1786. From about 1790 onwards Fraser became principal managing owner of several East India Company vessels, including the ALFRED (1790), NEPTUNE (1796), OCEAN (1800) and PERSEVERANCE (1801). Fraser was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1791 and was created 1st Baronet of Ledeclune in 1806. He was also an Elder Brethren of Trinity House. He died aged 78 at Bedford Square, London, in 1818. A memorial tablet was erected in St. Marylebone Parish Church in London. A portrait of Fraser by George Romney (1734-1802) exists in a private collection, see the engraving by Benjamin Smith numbered PAG6488 in the Prints & Drawings collection. Fraser's wife was a daughter of James Farquharson (1724-1795), merchant of Camberwell, London. Farquharson was also a shipowner and on his death in 1795, his financial interests with the East India Company passed to executors including his son-in-law William Fraser. Lady Fraser died in 1834 and was buried at Langton Long in Dorset, where the Farquharson family had a country estate. This collection also has connections with James Farquharson (1764-1843), a senior officer and also a principal managing owner of vessels in the service of the East India Company. As commander of the ALFRED (1790) he took part in the action on 15 February 1804 during which a squadron of French warships was defeated and pursued off the Pulo Aur. Captain Farquharson was subsequently presented with a ceremonial sword by the Lloyds Patriotic Fund, similar to the sword numbered WPN1042 in the National Maritime Museum collection. Research suggests that Farquharson died at Winchester in Hampshire in 1843.
Description Fraser’s shipowning business operated from premises at New City Chambers, Bishopsgate, London, in the period circa 1790-1815. The surviving archive material consists entirely of receipts, accounts and policies.

The main series consists of bundles of receipts covering the expenses of the East India Company ships ALFRED (1790), NEPTUNE (1796), OCEAN (1788), OCEAN (1800) and PERSEVERANCE (1801).

Some of the records relate to the purchase of shares and subsequent payments of dividends; insurance policies and adjustments of average; stationary and offices expenses; and duties paid on various documents sent to the Secretary’s Office, East India House.

The routine ship expenses were for customs clearance, wharfage and pilotage; the purchase of food, stores and equipment; wages and bills of exchange for crew members. There are also receipts relating the attendance of shipwrights and other trades involved in maintenance and repair work; and charges incurred while vessels were berthed at the East India Docks in London. A small number of receipts relate to survey dinners and entertainments following ship launches.
Date made 1792-1815

Finding Reference FRS
Catalogue section Records of semi-governmental and non-governmental organisations
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Extent 7 boxes
Help us

Do you know more about this?

Share your knowledge