Headless woman to be laid to rest in Highlands - again

A service will be held at Wardlaw Mausoleum at Kirkhill, near Inverness, for the woman. PIC: Contributed.
A service will be held at Wardlaw Mausoleum at Kirkhill, near Inverness, for the woman. PIC: Contributed.
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The remains of a headless woman who was exhumed in the search for the body of a clan chief are to be re-interred in the Highlands.

The remains of the woman, thought to be aged around 25 when she died, will be re-interred at Wardlaw Mausoleum at Kirkhill near Inverness on Tuesday.

They were found in a coffin in the crypt at Wardlaw along with the remains of four other people, including a child, during the search for the final resting place of Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, the chief of Clan Fraser of Lovat who was executed following the Battle of Culloden.

Erik Lundberg, custodian of Wardlaw Mausoleum, said a short religious service will be held as the remains are laid to rest once again.

Mr Lundberg said: “It is only fit and proper that we hold this service. These were people, afterall.

“We still have no clue as to who the woman was but her remains will be placed back in the crypy with the others and a new plaque will be put on the coffin.”

The plaque will be inscribed with two lines of poetry by Sorley MacLean, written in Gaelic, with the service to be led by a priest from St Mary’s Catholic Church in Beauly.

The coffin was exhumed by forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black, formerly of Dundee University, last year.

She was called in by Wardlaw Mausoleam and the Fraser of Lovat family to end speculation over the whereabouts of the body of the clan chief, known as The Old Fox.

Officially, his coffin was placed in the crypt at St Peter ad Vincula chapel at the Tower of London several years after his beheading at Tower Hill, which was watched by thousands.

Known for his double dealings with the British Government and the Jacobites, he was executed for his support of Bonnie Prince Charlie during the 1745 rising.

It has long been claimed that his body was smuggled back to the Highlands by supporters on a boat out of London.

However, Professor Black confirmed that the coffin suspected of holding the clan chief contained the remains of a young woman.

Mr Lundberg and author Sarah Fraser, who is married to a descendant of 11th Lord Lovat,will soon visit the crypt at Tower of London.

It is hoped the coffin there could also be exhumed in a bid to solve the mystery.