Agnes MacNab, better known by her nickname Nessie, is a Scottish prostitute and madam who lives in London and is acquainted with Lord John Grey.

Personal History

Nessie's father and two brothers died at Culloden. After the battle, her surviving brother went away to sea. Her mother went south, begging for food and occasionally selling herself, and took Nessie with her. When Nessie was about five, they met an English soldier named Bob Harte, who set up a small private brothel and Nessie's mother worked for him. When Nessie turned eleven and started her courses, she was forced to become a prostitute as well.[2]

Events in the Lord John Series

Lord John and the Private Matter

In June 1757, Lord John Grey and Harry Quarry arrive at Madam Mags's brothel. Quarry for pleasure more than anything while Grey looking for information. Grey forestalls any suggestions Mags may have saying he'd like a young whore, but not a child. Mags brings him to Nessie, one of her young whores. Mags insults Nessie for her Scottish accent advising if it offended him he need only tell her to stop talking.

Once Mags has left Grey learns from Nessie, that Mags is really Magda and is German. At first Nessie refuses to have him learning he had been stationed at Ardsmuir. Grey makes it clear that he does not have intentions of sleeping with her. He keeps her talking with the story of how she ended up in London. Which she finds odd that he wanted to know how she got to London rather than how she came to be a whore. She tells him how her father and brother died in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. Her other brother having then gone off to find work leaving just her and her mother. They had traveled from Scotland begging and her mother ending up whoring to keep them fed. Her mother took up with a soldier that set her up in a cabin to privately entertain his associates, becoming her pimp, and started to add others. So when Nessie came of age he set her to whoring as well.

He asks her about Trevelyan, but she has not been with him and instead she goes to check with the other whores that weren’t with clients. By the time she returns Grey has passed out drunk from the wine. Knowing that he would most likely wake in the middle of the night to piss, and wanting to ensure she didn't get another man sent up she stripped him off his clothes and crawled into the bed with him. It was a good night's rest for her.

The following morning Nessie tells all that she had learned of Trevelyan, after payment for the information is negotiated. He did not go with any of the whores, but instead would go into Mags’ room and later a woman in Mags’ clothes walks out with a big lace cap - but it’s not Mag. The lady dresses in green then goes to a chair waiting out back and is taken away. Nessie tells him she’s not sure where the lady goes just that she leaves past dark and is back just before dawn. She offers to get Rab, a chairman that asks for her when he’s the coin, who’s been a chairman for this lady in green to tell her more. Grey gives her some extra money to ensure that Rab has money to see her very soon. While Grey goes to leave with Quarry, Quarry made the suggestion that he ought to try Nessie on his next visit. Nessie giving no tack made a disgusted look, but was saved that prospect when Grey advises she's Scottish and Quarry proceeds to express his dislike of the accent.

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

In early 1758, Nessie and her husband Rab MacNab save Lord John Grey when he is attacked on the street. Nessie and Rab have opened their own brothel.

The Scottish Prisoner

Nessie and Lord John meet briefly on the street.

Events in the Outlander Series

An Echo in the Bone

On December 24, 1776, Grey visits Nessie to gain some information on Percy Beauchamp. She confirms his suspicions that Percy is an associate of Captain Denys Randall-Isaacs.


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Physical Appearance

Nessie is skinny and has thick and curly hair.[2]


  • Agnes is the Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Αγνη (Hagne), derived from Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos) meaning "chaste".[3]
  • MacNab is derived from the Scottish Gaelic Mac An Aba, which means "child of the abbot".[4]



  1. In summer 1757, Nessie is fourteen (Lord John and the Private Matter, Chapter 6)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lord John and the Private Matter, Chapter 5
  3. Behind the Name: Agnes - accessed 04 June 2016
  4. Clan Macnab - accessed via Wikipedia 01 June 2016

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