Major Thomas Weir

Is your surname Weir?

Research the Weir family

Major Thomas Weir's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Related Projects

Thomas Weir

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
Death: April 11, 1670 (75)
Leith, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, UK
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Weir of Kirkton and Jean Somerville
Husband of Margaret Weir
Father of Thomas Weir
Brother of Jean Weir and Jonet Peter

Managed by: Mary Susan Newton
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Major Thomas Weir

Thomas Weir MyHeritage Family Trees

Weir Family Site (23andMe), managed by Laurel Weir (Contact)

Birth: 1595 - Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK

Death: Apr 11 1670 - Leith, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, UK

Parents: Thomas Weir, Jean Weir (born Somerville)

Wife: Margaret Weir (born Bourdon)

Son: Thomas Weir

Major Thomas Weir (Carluke, South Lanarkshire 1599 - Edinburgh 1670) was a Scottish soldier and presumed occultist, executed for witchcraft. Major Thomas Weir , who was executed in 1670, is remembered as Scotland's most notorious warlock. Throughout his life up until age 70 however, Weir's had an exemplary reputation. He w as a parliamentary officer, at one time in charge of the guards of Edinburgh, and as a church leader (he was a Deacon at his local church).People knew him to have the appearance of a pious man throughout his life. He was born in Lanark, about 1600, and served as lieutenant in the Scottish Puritan army in 1641 opposing the Royalists. In 1649-1650 he was a major commanding the guards defending Edinburgh. After his military service, he earned a living in a civil service post.

 Throughout his life, he seemed like a good Christian fellow to his neighbors. But in the final year of his life at age seventy however, he suddenly confessed, of his own volition and in the face of much doubt, to a list of horrible and unbelievable acts ranging from witchcraft, incest, sodomy, fornication and even bestiality. He confession also involved his sixty-year-old sister, Jane Weir, who was burned as a witch on her own confession later.
  Weir was very prominent in prayer meetings of evangelical Protestants, but never actually became ordained. According to one a contemporary account: "He became so notoriously regarded among the Presbyterian strict sect, that if four met together, be sure Major Weir was one. .." It was quite shocking to the people of Edinburgh when Wier suddenly admited to practicing sins that would have made even Anton LaVey blush. People present who heard Weir's confession disbelieved him at first, and sent for physicians to see if perhaps he was not suffering from some kind of insanity. But the doctors summoned determined , after much examination, that Major Wier suffered only from a guilty conscience. The civil authorities were compelled to arrest him on his own testimony. Major Weir was brought to trial on April 9, 1670, indicted on four counts:

1. Attempted rape of his sister, Jane Weir, when she was ten; and continued incest with her from the time she was sixteen years old to fifty, when he "loathed her for her age."

2. Incest with his stepdaughter, Margaret Bourdon, daughter of his deceased wife, who corroborated this. No doubt she was raped and had carried this burden wanting to tell someone for years.

3. Adultery with "several and diverse persons"; and fornication with Bessie Weems, "his servant maid, whom he kept in his house. . . for the space of twenty years, during which time he lay with her as familiarly as if she had been his wife." No doubt poor Bessie had felt coerced into the relationship being afraid of her boss, a very well connected and powerful man in the community.

4. Bestiality with mares and cows, "particularly in polluting himself with a mare, upon which he rode into the West Country, near New Mills." Years earlier he had been accused by a woman who caught him in the act, but because of Weir's reutation in the community, no one believed her.

Consult The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology by Rossell H. Robbins for details.

Witchcraft was also part of the crimes against the Weirs, although it was not formally charged, but it figured into the evidence. Major Weir's sister, Jane, was charged with him, for incest and sorcery, including " consulting witches, necromancers, and devils. " The evidence against the Weirs was their own confessions and testimony of witnesses that the Weirs had made confessions in their presence. These confessions were NOT obtained under torture.

   Major Weir's sister-in-law, Margaret, testified that when she was about twenty-seven, she had caught Weir and his sister having sex. Major Weir confessed to bestiality with a mare around 1652, and said a woman saw him in the act and complained. No one believed her however, and she was "whipped through the town [of Lanark] by the hands of the common hangman, as a slanderer of such an eminent holy man." No doubt Weir's reputation as a pious Christian helped shield his illicit activities.
  Jane Weir claimed during her trial years earlier she had "given her soul to the Devil". Jane Weir elaborated with tales of supernatural things that sound impossible,but there were many other things she admitted that corroborated the testimony of the Major and others.  A majority of the jurors found Major Weir Guilty; Jane Weir was found Guilty unanimously. Major Weir was executed on April 11, 1670, and his sister Jane the following day. Many pamphlets and personal journals recorded this event, and it continued to be discussed for at least the next hundred years and beyond. The Weir house (pictured left) in Edinburgh remained unoccupied for over a century, until one impoverished couple accepted the low rent and moved in. But the next morning they fled after they apparently saw "something" that frightened them. The house was the focal point of ghost stories and mysterious happenings. The Weir house remained empty for another fifty years. until its demolition in 1830.

Clan Weir Crest: Upon a chapeau, Gules, furred Ermine a boar statant, Azure, armed, Or Motto: Vero Nihil Verius (Nothing Truer Than) Origin of Name: Norse, ‘Vere’ for ‘Dam’ Region: Lowlands Clan Chief: None, armigerous clan

view all

Major Thomas Weir's Timeline

Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
Age 30
April 11, 1670
Age 75
Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, UK