Scott, Walter (1644-1693) (DNB00)

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SCOTT, WALTER, Earl of Tarras (1644–1693), born on 23 Dec. 1644, was eldest son of Sir Gideon Scott of Highchester, who was the second son of William Scott of Harden, and thus grandson of Walter Scott (1550?–1629?) [q. v.] When in his fifteenth year he was married by special dispensation from the presbytery of Kirkcaldy, on 9 Feb. 1659, to Lady Mary Scott, countess of Buccleuch in her own right; she was then only in her twelfth year, and his father was one of the curators. The youthful couple were separated by the civil authorities until the countess had completed her twelfth year, and she then ratified what had been done. The husband was not allowed to assume the wife's title, but the dignities of Earl of Tarras and Lord Almoor and Campcastill were on 4 Sept. 1660 conferred upon him for life. The countess soon died, and after protracted legal proceedings their marriage contract was reduced, and he was disappointed of the provision set apart for him therein out of his wife's property.

From 1667 to 1671 he travelled in France, Italy, and the Netherlands, and, returning by the English court, he endeavoured in vain to move Charles II to grant him a provision out of the Buccleuch estates. Towards the end of Charles's reign he took part in the plots concocted for the exclusion of the Duke of York from the throne, and being arrested was, on his own confession, found guilty of treason and condemned to death on 5 Jan. 1685. Owing, however, to his confession he obtained a remission, and was reinstated in his honours and lands by letters of rehabilitation on 28 June 1687. He died in April 1693. He married as his second wife, on 31 Dec. 1677, Helen, daughter of Thomas Hepburn of Humbie in East Lothian, and left by her five sons and five daughters.

[The Scotts of Buccleuch, by Sir William Fraser, i. 320–400 (with portraits of Tarras and his first wife).]

H. P.