Lord William Dunsany is the husband of Lady Louisa Dunsany, master of Helwater. By the late 1750s, they were impoverished aristocrats who sought suitable marriages for their two remaining children, Geneva and Isobel.

Personal History

William and his wife Louisa had three children. Their eldest, Gordon Dunsany, was killed in the Battle of Prestonpans. After this loss, they devoted that much more upon their daughters, Geneva and Isobel. After the Jacobite Rising of 1745 their estate, Helwater, fell rather heavily into debt.

Events of the Outlander Series


In 1756, Jamie Fraser arrives at Helwater. The Dunsanys were not made aware of his true identity and are told his name is Alex MacKenzie.

In 1757, the Dunsanys arrange for their eldest daughter Geneva to be married to the wealthy but elderly Lord Ellesmere. Lord Ellesmere provides them 30,000 pounds in exchange for marrying a virgin of good name.

In 1758, Geneva dies in January a few hours after giving birth to a son, William Ransom. The Dunsanys go to Lord Ellesmere's house to take William back to Helwater. Lord Ellesmere is drunk. He knows the baby is not his, but is determined to keep him as his heir. An argument erupts between Lord Ellesmere and Lord Dunsany. Lord Ellesmere grabs William and threatens to drop him out the window if the Dunsanys do not leave. Jamie grabs a pistol and fires at Lord Ellesmere, killing him.

The Dunsanys prevent a scandal by pretending that Jamie was never present in the room, and they presumably instruct the footman, Jeffries, on what to say in the coroner's court. Ultimately, a verdict of "death by misadventure" is returned. In gratitude to Jamie, Lady Dunsany offers to ask Lord John Grey if he can exert his influence to have Jamie released from the conditions of his parole so that he can return home. Jamie replies that he is not ready to return home yet, and Lady Dunsany tells him that he only has to ask.

After the death of their daughter, the Dunsanys dote upon William.

In 1764, Lord John Grey weds their remaining daughter, Isobel, and the couple takes on the roles of mother and father to young William.

Events of the Lord John Series

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

The Scottish Prisoner


Physical Appearance

Lord Dunsany is described as having clear gray eyes and grizzled hair.[3]





  1. Written in My Own Heart's Blood, Chapter 3
  2. There are discrepancies regarding Dunsany's title and honorific. He is described as a baronet in Voyager, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, The Scottish Prisoner, but also as viscount in Brotherhood of the Blade. Throughout the series he is consistently called "Lord Dunsany", which would suggest he is a baron, viscount, marquess, or earl; as a baronet he would be styled as "Sir William Dunsany" or "Sir William" but he is never addressed as such in the series. His wife is addressed as "Lady Dunsany", which would be correct for the wife of a baronet, baron, or viscount. But his daughters are addressed throughout the series as Lady Isobel and Lady Geneva, which is only appropriate to the daughters of dukes, marquesses, and earls, whereas the daughters of a baron or viscount are styled as "The Honourable X" and the daughters of a baronet as "Miss X" prior to marriage.
  3. Voyager, chapter 14
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