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Index of first names

The Olivers

 

 

 

 

 

 

OLIVER (OLIPHER) - AS TENANTS AND VASSALS OF THE DOUGLASES

– Jedburgh, Jedforest and surrounds - Roxburghshire, Scotland

Oliver coat of armsIn the 1600 and 1700’s the Olivers of Jedburgh and Jedforest and surrounds in Roxburghshire were tenants and vassals(2) of the Douglases.
Oliver is a name spelt and pronounced in various ways and it is found in many countries but it is the Scottish borders that can perhaps lay claim to being the house of Oliver. The extensive lands of Jedforest and those adjacent were occupied by the Olivers, the farms were small and the holdings were often occupied by more than one family (could be other related families, or other families besides Oliver). The Olivers multiplied to such an extent that the Douglas family endeavoured to reduce the number of tenantry in the Forest, with difficulty.

The Olivers were in the main brave defenders of the borders but did make the odd inroads to Northumberland. In the main they didn’t have titles so many gradually left for other parts of the world.
It was thought by some Scottish writers of the past that Oliphant and Oliver (or Olipher as it was formerly spelt) was one and the same. However the Historian George Tancred thinks though this may have occurred in a few instances, it is unlikely that true border Olivers would have made such a change.

Olivers of Langraw (descended from the Olivers of Falside or Fa’side)
William Oliver of Langraw
William Oliver of Langraw
Remains of Dykeraw
The remains of Dykeraw

a. William Oliver of Langraw who died in 1812 was a tenant of several farms and ‘was credited with more intelligence than his neighbours’. However before his death ‘backing bills for needy and unscrupulous persons’ he lost a great part of his acquired fortune. He had married Margaret Stavert whose ancestor was said to have carried the Douglas banner at Otterburn in 1388. After he died his eldest son Andrew became possessor of Langraw. The next generations of Olivers farmed Langraw but it was sold by the family for a high price in about 1878.
b. Olivers of Liddesdale. Three sons of a George Oliver, a Liddesdale shepherd went to the United States and from these beginnings at South Bend in America the ‘Oliver Chilled Plough’ was devised and manufactured with huge success. One brother George stayed at home in Scotland.

Olivers of Dyke-raw or Dykeraw
a. These Olivers were tenants of Jedforest and the name of Robert Oliver of Dykeraw appears on the 1669 list of tenants and their holdings in the Jedforest. Also in the list is Gilbert Oliver presumed to be the son of Robert – these are supposed to be the ancestors of the Olivers who were Solicitors and Bankers in Hawick. Gilbert Oliver in Dykeraw married a Douglas and they had a son James baptised at Southdean in 1694. This James Oliver (tenant in Earleside) married
1. Bessie Douglas in 1722 – son James died in infancy; daughter Isabella married James Learmonth in Bedrule – issue Robert and Christian
2. Margaret Douglas in 1729 (a daughter of James Douglas of Trows – a branch of Douglas of Cavers. He was the Laird of Earleside). Issue – five sons and four daughters – one daughter was Christian. James a son born in 1731 became a merchant in Hawick, and also a tenant of the Duke of Buccleuch at Crumhaugh Hill and in 1906/07 this property was still in the hands of the Olivers
b. Oliver of Borthwickbrae-Burnfoot. Another James Oliver of the family, born in 1766 farmed Borthwickbrae-Burnfoot. His son James by Helen Elliot succeeded and in 1858 he occupied the farm of Howpasley, In 1906/07 James’s son William Moffat Oliver who took over the tenancy of Howpasley was residing at Whitriggs House. William was one of the original members of Lord Melgund’s Border Rifles. ‘After he retired from farming he took ‘Langraw House’.
c. Olivers of Borthaugh. This branch of the family descends from John Oliver born 1770, the second son of James Oliver the merchant in Hawick. He was a Writer and Bank Agent and the Town Clerk of Hawick. His eldest son George Oliver joined his father in business and was widely known as an agent for the Duke of Buccleuch. He became a tenant in Borthaugh in 1860. His son John Oliver born 1850 succeded his father as Writer, Bank Agent and tenant in Borthaugh. ‘John Oliver registered and baptized all his children with the name of “Lindsay” in memory of his mother and to distinguish the family...’ from other Oliver branches.
d. Olivers of Mayfield. James Oliver the fourth surviving son of John Oliver just mentioned built Mayfield House on land inherited from his father.
e. Olivers of Lynnwood. James Oliver of Lynnwood. Said to be the second surviving son of the firm in Hawick

An Old Jedburgh Forest Rent Roll – 1669
Andro Olipher in Sneepdykes
Thomas Oliver, Hill
Lyell Olipher, yr; Thomas Olipher, Minor – all in Ruchhirst
Thomas Oliver, Mervings-law
James Olipher yr,
John Olipher in Bank
John Olipher in Rodes
James Olipher in Souden
Thomas Olipher, Whytsyd; William Olipher, yr
James Olipher in Hynochheid
Stevin Olipher, yr
David Olipher, yr
Robert Olipher in Dykeraw
Thomas Olipher, handie, yr
Patrick Olipher, yr
Patrick Olipher, yr
Thomas Olipher, Braehead
George Olipher, Townheid
William Olipher in Chesters
Thomas Olipher, Pouhach
Wm Oliver in Chesters, yr
John Olipher, Smith, yr
Wm Olipher, yr
John Olipher, Hielie,
Gilbert Olipher in Dykerae
Thomas Olipher, elder, yr
Thomas Olipher, younger, yr
David Olipher in Suden
Tho. Olipher, yr
Adam Olipher
George and Wm Olipher in Slacks
John Olipher, yr
Andro Douglas, Souden Law,
Tho. Oliver Dyk
Tho. Douglas in Watersyd

(Tenants in the Forest – part of a list of 67 different tenants)

‘The rental is stated in money, capon, chickens, trees and services...’

Notes:
1.My Oliver line (writes Sally Douglas) at least in one case, is likely of the Olivers of Dykeraw -
Agnes (Annie) Douglas c1726 Hawick, was of Dykeraw (Jedburgh Abbey Graveyard). Her father was George Oliver c1697 of Dykeraw. Annie married George Douglas 1720 Jedburgh, a tenant of Howden and a Gardener.

George’s likely father James Douglas c1669 a Gardener and Burgess of Jedburgh - married a Jonnet/Jannet Oliver c1687 of Jedburgh (George’s mother also).
Jonnet’s parents were likely James Oliver c1647 and Margaret Lawley or Laidley c1653 – married July 1676 in Jedburgh, Roxburghshire. (Laidlie is also a name on the Rent Roll of Jedforest). This Oliver line could also be of Dykeraw in view of George Douglas 1720 also marrying an Oliver. (Families often married other close family members in the past)
[Ref: Rulewater And Its People... by George Tancred of Weems 1907]

2. (in the feudal system) a vassal is a person granted the use of land, in return for rendering homage, fealty, and usually military service or its equivalent to a lord or other superior; feudal tenant.

[Ref: Rulewater And Its People... by George Tancred of Weems 1907]

Sally E Douglas
9th March, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

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