Reverend Donald Fraser

Biography of Reverend Donald Fraser

Reverend Donald Fraser and Principal Sir Donald Macalister 1922
Reverend Donald Fraser and Principal Sir Donald Macalister 1922

Donald Fraser was a Free Church of Scotland missionary and the author of six books about his life and work in Africa.

Born 1st June 1870 in Lochgilphead, Argyll, Donald was the fourth of eight children of the Reverend William Fraser and Violet Ferguson. His older brother was the architect William Fraser.

In 1886, Donald began his studies at the University of Glasgow and in 1891 entered Trinity College, Glasgow to study for the ministry. He was ordained into the Free Church of Scotland in 1896.

He began his missionary work in Africa in the same year, and was assigned to Livingstonia, Malawi, which was home to the Ngoni people.

In 1901 Fraser married Dr Agnes Renton Robson, a medical graduate of the University who became a medical missionary. Together they had four children: Violet, George, Donald and Catherine. George’s son, Peter, became an advocate, MP and life peer as Baron Fraser of Carmyllie.

In the famine of 1902, the Frasers moved, with the Ngoni, to Embangweni in northern Malawi, and founded the Loudon Mission Station, which included a church, school and a hospital, which now operates as the Embangweni Mission Hospital. Reverend Fraser introduced practices and policies responding to the customs of the Ngoni people including championing vernacular village schools, encouraging indigenous church music and encouraging local leadership in the church, including Ngoni women elders.

In 1922, Fraser received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Glasgow and was elected Moderator of the 1922-23 General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland.

The Frasers returned to Scotland in 1925. From 1929 to 1933 Reverend Fraser served as Chaplain-in-Ordinary in Scotland to the Ecclesiastical Household of George V.

Donald Fraser died in Glasgow on the 20th August 1933. His wife returned his ashes to Malawi for burial at Loudon.


Reverend Donald Fraser
Born 1 June 1870.
Died 20 August 1933.
University Link: GU Degree: DD, 1922; Honorary,
Occupation categories: ministers; missionaries; Missionary
Record last updated: 6th Nov 2020

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