Case of Warlock and Witch Weirdos, The Wiers
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
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.
The Weirs were not Wiccans. There is no mention of Diana, Cernunos, or
a Book of Shadows in any of the records. Major Weir had to actually
insist people believe him when he first made his shocking confession.
No one tortured him for this confession, nor his sister Jane. As
mentioned, Weir's sister in law and step daughter confirmed many of the
things they admitted to.
It is probably true that some of the victims of witch
trials were mentally deficient or got on the wrong side of the
law. But he idea of all these innocent Pagans, frolicking through the
woods petting bunny rabbits as victims for the witch trials is
We see now from the cases of LaViosin and Wier that
not everyone executed in withcraft trials were innocent people.
LaViosin was a murderer and Weir was a rapist, and both admitted to
being involved in witchcraft. There were certainly more cases where
people weren't completely innocent of their crimes.
part of this website may be reproduced by any means in any way shape or
form without express written consent of the owner. Some
of the materials on this web site are copyrighted by others, and are
made available here for educational purposes such as
teaching, scholarship, and research FREE OF CHARGE. Title 17,
the US Copyright law states that such Fair Use "is not an infringement
of copyright"(click here to read
do not necessarily constitute endorsements, but are provided
aids to research. NONE OF THESE MATERIALS ARE TO BE SOLD. All
HTML is Copyrighted by Uncommon Sense Media. .