The Scottish Origins of Clan Joyce of Ulster: Fraser of Broadlands
Updated: Nov 3
Although registered with the Clans of Ireland, Clan Joyce of Ulster is known as having Ulster-Scots origins. So while its members can claim Scots descent from Ulster, Ireland, there is also a less well-known history to CJU. In particular how it is related to numerous Scottish clans, such as Clan Gordon, Clan Ogilvie, Clan Seton and so forth. For this article, we will focus on the ancestral connection to Clan Fraser of Broadlands, and its relationship to the Joyce (Joss) family.
Historically, Clan Fraser began with Sir Gilbert Fraser Sheriff of Traquair and Peebles (c.1214-1264), which branched off into Fraser of Lovat and Fraser of Touch. As a result, there are several subsepts from each of these major branches. However, to avoid any confusion, the Ulster-Scot Joyces descend from Sir Alexander Fraser of Touch who married Mary Bruce, sister of Robert the Bruce. To be more specific, it is through Alexander’s grandson, Alexander Fraser of Philorth, that this connection to Clan Fraser is established. When Beatrix Fraser (b.1654) married Laird William Joass (1632-1707) on April 16, 1679, she was the daughter of Patrick Fraser of Broadlands, whom was descended from the Fraser of Philorth. Through this history, one can clearly see how the family of Thomas Joyce/Joass (b. 1683), son of William Joass and Beatrix Fraser, is related to this famous Scottish Clan.
However, like most connections to Scottish royalty, there is plenty of networking through marriages and in-laws. For Beatrix’s father, Patrick, this was no different. Considered to be part of the Faculty of Advocates, an elite group of interconnected lawyers, he was well established in society. Marrying Margaret Seton (1625-1684), who was the daughter of Alexander Seton, son of 1st of Pitmedden and Beatrix Ogilvy, this is just one example. Throughout his career, he became associated with numerous other clans such as Clan Forbes, Clan Gordon, Clan Cheyne, Clan Leslie, Clan Ogilvy, etc. Without the marriage between Beatrix Fraser and William Joass, the Ulster-Scot Joyces could not trace their ancestry deep into Scottish history. And surprisingly, even to King Edward II of England