Origin of name of Oliver. 

There were other Olifurd/Olifards around at this time however, it is intimated that a Fraser Olifurd gave his name to Oliver Castle. But, I believe the name, a corruption of Holyford, had already existed in the area for some time and that he took this name Olifurd for himself that became Oliver.  The name of Oliver was still a very rare name in Scotland at this time.(6).  As late as the sixteenth century Oliver Castle was still recorded as Holyfir(3).    Holyford would be the name of the ford across the River Tweed adjacent to the site of the present Tweedsmuir Kirk and also the name of the nearby hill of Nether Oliver (Holyford) Dod.    An echo of the Holyford-Olifurd-Oliver concept is replicated for the origin of the surname of Oliphant that has been put forward by Beryl Platts(1) - where she cites Holyford-Olifurd-Oliphant.   This Holyford was in Northamptoneshire on the River Nene.   Excerpt from her book below   There is another reference to the connection between Olifurd and Holyford that is mentioned by James Denham (2).  More about Oliver on page  Tweedsmuir Kirk Mound - Chapel Knowe.  

Excerpt from Platt, Beryl; (1).


Excerpt from Denham, James; (2).


There would appear to be no connection between the name of Oliver in Tweedsmuir and the Scottish Borders Surname of Oliver that has its origins in the Jedforest area in Roxburgh.(4).   Oliver was considered as a Sept of Clan Fraser but this connection has has now  been deleted from the "Clan Sept List"(5).   However, the Tweedies are a sept of Clan Fraser.


1)   Platt, Beryl; Scottish Hazard the Flemish Nobility and their impact on Scotland, Proctor Press, 1985.  (Volume 1 Pages 170-171).

2)   Denham, James; Scotland's River Tweed and the Berwickshire Coast, James Denham, Galashiels, 2010.  pps 12-13. 

3)   Buchan, J.W. and Paton, Rev H; History of Peeblesshire, Jackson Wylie & Co, Glasgow, 1927.   Vol iii p29.

4)  Oliver, Winston, Col; The Oliver Surname on the Scottish Border, Private Publication, Galashiels, 1982. p3.

5)  Adam, Frank, revised by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney;  The Clan Septs & Regiments of the Scottish Highlands, Johnston & Bacon, Ellon, 2004. p 555.

6)  Patterson, William; Journal of Scottish Place name Studies, clann tuirin, Perthshire, 2017. Vol 11, p95.

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