Nellie Coweden was a servant employed by the Reverend Archibald Campbell to look after his sister, Margaret Campbell, during their journey to the West Indies.

Personal HistoryEdit

In her twenties, Nellie accepted employment with the Reverend Campbell, accompanying his sister as a lady's maid. Nellie died from a fever on the voyage from Scotland to Jamaica.

Outlander seriesEdit


When Claire Fraser arrives at Henderson's lodging house to see Miss Campbell, it is Nellie Cowden who shows her inside, introducing herself as Miss Campbell's maid, employed by the Reverend Campbell to look after his sister. She explains to Claire that Miss Campbell goes through a cycle of acting normally, if simple-minded, then screaming for no apparent reason, and finally subsiding into a catatonic state, acknowledging nothing and no one.

Nellie also tells Claire the story of how Margaret came to be this way (as told to her by Margaret's previous maid, Tilly Lawson).


Good-humored and kind, Nellie had genuine concern for Miss Campbell, but also couldn't resist sharing the sad tale about her charge's past.

Physical AppearanceEdit

She was heavyset, and missing a few of her front teeth.


  • Nellie can be a diminutive form of Nell, which was a medieval diminutive of names beginning with El, such as Eleanor, Ellen or Helen.[1]
  • Cowden comes from various English place names, which mean either "coal valley", "coal hill" or "cow pasture" in Old English.[2]


TV SeriesEdit

Main article: Outlander (TV series)



  1. Behind the Name: Nell. Accessed 1 August 2017.
  2. Behind the Name Surnames: Cowden. Accessed 1 August 2017.

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