Documents relating to Scotland, 1272-1307, entry 1562), and Oliphant is mentioned as a prisoner in the Tower on 21 May 1305 (ib. entry 1668; Stevenson, Documents illustrative of the History of Scotland, p. 11). From Michaelmas 1303 till Michaelmas l307 the sum of 6l. 20d. was paid for his maintenance by the sheriff of London to the committee of the Tower (Cal. Documents relating to Scotland, 1307-57, entry 36). On 24 May 1308 Edward II gave command to the constable of the Tower to liberate him on his giving surety for his good behaviour (ib. entry 45). On his way to Scotland he came to Lincoln, and took out of prison four Scotsman who had served under him in Stirling Castle, who were to go with him on the king's service into Scotland (Rotuli Scotiæ, i. 61). He was in receipt of pay from the king of England in January 1310-11 (Cal. Documents relating to Scotland, 1307-57, entry 193), and he was appointed by Edward governor of Perth, which held out ar six weeks against Robert Bruce. Ultimately it was captured by stratagem, Bruce, after retiring with his army for eight days, returning suddenly during the night, and scaling the walls at the ahead of his troops. The town was taken on 8 Jan. 1311-12, when Oliphant was sent a prisoner to the Western Isles (Chronicle of Lanercost, p. 272). On 22 Feb. 1311-12 the collectors of customs of wool and hides in Perth were required to pay the whole of these to Olighant, in satisfaction of the king of England’s debt to him (Cal. Documents relating to Scotland, 1307-57, entry 247). Oliphant obtained his freedom at least before 2 Oct. 1313, when he received protection on his setting out for Scotland, and for his return to England (ib. entries, 313, 839). On 26 Dec. 1317 he received from Robert Bruce the lands of Newtyle and Nynprouy, Forfarshire, to be held in free barony; also, by subsequent charters, the lands of Muirhouse in the shire of Edinburgh; and by charter at Scene, on 20 March 1326, the lands of Ochtertyse, Perthshire. He was present at a great parliament held at Aberrothwich in Apr 1320, and his seal is attached to the remonstrance then addressed to the asserting the independence of Scotland. He was also present at a parliament held at Holyrood on 8 Merch 1326. He died in 1329, and was buried at Aberdalgie, where the original monument to his memory is still in fair preservation. He left a son, Sir Walter Oliphant of Aberdalgie, who married the Princess Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Robert Bruce. From him the Lords Oliphant are descended.
[Authorities mentioned in the text; Anderson's Oliphants in Scotland, 1879, xii-xxi.]
OLIPHANT, Sir WILLIAM (1561–1628), of Newton, advocate, son of William Oliphant of Newton, in the parish of Forgrandenny, Perthshire, was admitted to the Scottish bar on 20 Oct. 1577. Five years later (14 Oct. 1582) he was appointed a justice-depute (Pitcairn, i. 101), and in 1604 he acted as advocate-depute for Sir Thomas Hamilton, king's advocate. In the same year a commission was chosen to discusss the question of union with England, Oliphant was added as one ‘best affected fittest for that eirand' (Reg. of Privy Council, vii. 457). He was a a commissioner (1607) for reforming the teaching of grammar in schools, which had fallen into disrepute by the ‘curiositie of divers maisters . . . taking upon thaim efter their fantesie to teache such grammer as pleases them’ (Acts of Parl. iv. 374). His reputation at the bar meanwhile advanced; he appears in many of the leading cases (Pitcairn; Reg. of Privy Council, passim). He was chosen, with Thomas Craig, to defend the six ministers in January 1606; but he gave up his brief on the eve of the trial, on the plea, as Balmerino explained, that the king’s promise of leniency, provided they acknowledge their offense, not justify their obstinacy (ib. vii. 478). He thereby was the won the king's favour, and was soon amply rewarded. In 1608 the council, in a letter to the king, named him first of four who were ‘the most learned and best experienced of their profession’ (Denmylne MSS. A. 2. 39. No. 66). In November 1610 he appears as a justice of the peace for Perthshire and the stewartries of Strathearn and Menteith (Reg. of Privy Council, ix. 78).
He was elevated to the bench in January 1611, in succession to Sir David Lindsay of Edzell, one of the lords-ordinary. Thereupon the privy council wrote a long letter to the king, in which they declared how popular had been the election of one ‘whose bipast cariage is an hes bene onlie forceable to hold him in your Majesteis rememberance’ (ib. ix. 592). Next year (19 June) he was nominated in a royal letter as king's advocate, in succession to Hamilton, who had been appointed clerk of register. On 9 July following be was admitted of the privy council as lord-advocate, and was nighted by the chancellor in conformity with a mandate from the king. He retained his seat on the bench (ib. ix. 403). Parliament ratified his appointment in October, and granted a pension of 1,000l. for life,