WEIR, WIER. Of Norman origin from one or
other of the places named Vere in Calvados, Manche, Eure-et-Loire and Oise.
The word was introduced into Normandy by the Norsemen from their own ver,
a station, as in fiskiver, a fishing station, a word etymologically akin
to OE. weir, wear, a dam. Ralph or Radulphus de Ver is perhaps the first
of the name recorded in Scotland. As Ralph de Ver he was taken prisoner
at Alnwick along with William the Lion in 1174. He witnessed a charter
by King William "de decimis
episcopatus" of Moray between 1174-84, and as Radulph de Veir orVeyre, within the same period, he gave a bovate of land to Sprowestun, Rosburgh, to the Abbey of Kelso, his brother Robert being one of the witnesses. The same, or perhaps a succeeding Raduiph de Ver or de Uer, witnessed a little before 1204 a grant to the Abbey of Arbroath, and before 1214 another charter by King William. The Weirs of Blackwood, Lanarkshire, claim or claimed to be descended from this Radulph though they only appear in record in 1400, when they obtained the lands of Blackwood. Richard Wer of Lanarkshire rendered homage in 1296. In the same year a writ was directed to the sheriff of Edinburgh ordering him to restore to Thomas le Wer his forfeited lands. Between 1398 and 1400 Rothald or Rothaldus de Were, bailie of Lesmahagow, had a charter from Patrick, abbot of Kelso, of the lands of Blackwood, Mossinyning, and Durgundreston, and in 1497 Abbot Robert granted Rogerhill and Brownhill to Robert Weyr for services rendered. As vassals of the
abbots of Kelso the Wiers held extensive lands in Lesmahagow andGeorge Were and Thomas Were were jurors on an inquisition made atLanark, 1432. George Were had a remission for his share in burningthe town of Dunbertane in 1489. William Veir, post in Aberdeen,1612, received payment for his services. Some of the Macnairs inCowal have Englished their name Weir, and the name in Dumbartonshire may be an Englishing of Mac Amhaoir, "son of the officer." This last name has been extinct for about 200 years, and
the translation into English may have had something to do with itsdisappearance. Major Weir the "Bowhead Saint," burnt for witchcraft and other crimes in Edinburgh, 1670, was one of the celebrities of this name, and in 1794 another Weir, also in Edinburgh, had a museum of natural history at 16 Princes Street. The Caithness pronunciation is "Whier", and on a tombstone in Temple churchyard, Midlothian, the name is spelled Wire. The names of James Ouhair in Scheilgreen, 1638, and Marion Wayre in Littleclyde, parish of Crawford-Douglas, may be other spellings of the name.
Vere 1709, Wair 1660, Ware 1632, Weare 1608,
Weer 1650, Weire 1504,
Werr 1501, Weyir 1599, Weyr 1528; Uair, Wir.