‘Outlander’s’ Dun Bonnet Based On Real-Life Person

Outlander returned on Sunday with trouble for Jamie Fraser and his family. After six years of hiding out in a cave, Jamie realized that too many were putting their lives at risk for him. It was clear the British wouldn’t stop looking for the man known as the Dun Bonnet and he needed to act.

But did you know that the Dun Bonnet was a real man from the same time period Outlander is set in? According to Radio Times, the man was even better known as James Fraser, chief of Clan Fraser. Yes, it just so happens that this is Jamie’s full name (and he is technically still chief of the clan). The naming isn’t coincidental. While doing her research, Diana Gabaldon learned that a chief of one of the clans was called James. She delved into who he was and how he is believed to have survived the Battle of Culloden.

This also isn’t the first time the Outlander novelist has used real characters in her series. Geillis Duncan was based on one of the witches burned during the witch trials and Bonnie Prince Charlie was a focal character throughout Season 2. Gabaldon has also shared why she decided to bring in the character of James Fraser (the Dun Bonnet).

The real Dun Bonnet was supposedly the real James Fraser, who was part of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. He hid in a cave around Loch Ness for seven years. That cave still stands, with many Outlander and history bloggers sharing their visits to the Fall of Foyers caves.

It wasn’t quite Fraser’s family risking their lives to save the clan leader. It was the local people, who would call the Dun Bonnet ‘Bonaid Odhair,’ which is Gaelic for Dun Colored Bonnet. This allowed the people to discuss the man in hiding without alerting the Redcoats. The Duke of Cumberland wanted this fugitive and would imprison anyone he believed hiding him.

The Dun Bonnet From 'Outlander' Was Real
Image by Starz/Starz Media Room

The filming location of the caves in Outlander hasn’t been disclosed, although the inside is in the studios. However, they exterior is very similar to the real Dun Bonnet caves. The inside of the caves is now tiny and likely wouldn’t have been easy living for the fugitive.

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Very little is mentioned about the real Dun Bonnet after his seven years in the cave. It likely didn’t take the same tale as Outlander‘s Jamie Fraser, who fans know will eventually be reunited with Claire 20 years after saying goodbye.

[Featured Image by Starz/Starz Media Room]