The name of Tweedsmoor - meaning the moor at the source of the River Tweed - came into being as the result of the late sixteenth century Scottish Reformation and the subsequent Covenanting era when the name was first recorded in 1644.   At this time the Parish of Tweedsmuir was formed and a custom built Presbyterian Kirk was built.   Prior to this date the Parish was part of Drumelzier Parish and known as South or Lower Drumelzier.   The area now called Tweedsmuir prior to 1644 was part of the Barony of Oliver and the nearest location recorded apart from Oliver and Fruid was Kingledores.

The hills around Tweedsmuir are dotted with bronze and iron age sites indicating that  around 2000BC there were more folks living in the Upper Tweed valley than there is now.   However, the earliest evidence of these people is the finding in 1991 of a broken yew longbow carbon dated to c4000 BC.   By 100 AD on the arrival of the Romans the occupants of the Upper Tweed fastness were known as the Selgovae - a name that translates as the Forest Hunters.  By c600 AD St. Cuthbert ventured into the valley in order to convert the inhabitants to Christianity followed by the Monks of Melrose in the thirteenth century.  Associated with this period are ancient chapel sites at Chapel Knowe, Chapel Kingledores and a Chapel in Fruid. 

The ancient families associated with Tweedsmuir are firstly the Frasers of Oliver and the Frasers of Fruid - the most notable probably being Simon Fraser of Oliver a distant kinsman of William Wallace.   He fought with Wallace and suffered the same death as Wallace in London at the hands of Edward 1 in 1306.   The Frasers were followed by two different branches of the Hay family - Hay of Yester and their cadet line of Hay of Talla and also the Flemings.   Other notable families are the Tweedies/Tweedie-Stodart of Oliver, Porteous of Hawkshaw. The Tweedies were the most numerous and the name is associated with many locations in the Upper Tweed viz.  Dreva, Drumelzier, Rachan, Broughton, Quarter, Wrae, Stanhope, Patervan, Kingledores and in Tweedsmuir Parish - Crook, Hearthstanes, Cockiland, Talla, Linnfoots, Oliver, Menzion, Fruid, Carterhope, Hawkshaw, Badlieu, etc. Other surnames that appear frequently in the records are Murray, Hunter, Welsh, Anderson, Loch and Chisholm.  In more recent times John Buchan who became the 1st Lord Tweedsmuir is associated with the area - he took the title when he became Governor General of Canada in 1935 - the Tweedsmuir National Park in BC Canada was named by and after him. Although the Scottish Covenanting Movement of the seventeenth century was mainly centred in the south-west of Scotland it did spread eastwards towards Selkirk and the Upper-Tweed valley became a hot-bed of activity.


Tony Hope