1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wemyss, Earls of

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20713351911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 28 — Wemyss, Earls of

WEMYSS, EARLS OF, the title held by a Scottish family who had possessed the lands of Wemyss in Fifeshire since the 12th century, and of which various members had attained distinction. In 1628 Sir John Wemyss, who had been created a baronet in 1625, was raised to the peerage as Baron Wemyss of Elcho; and in 1633 he became earl of Wemyss, and Baron Elcho and Methel, in the peerage of Scotland. He took part with the Scottish parliament against Charles I., and died in 1649. On the death of David, 2nd earl of Wemyss (1610–1679), the estates and titles passed to his daughter Margaret, countess of Wemyss, whose son David, 3rd earl of Wemyss, succeeded on her death in 1705. His son James, 4th earl (1699–1756), married a great heiress, Janet, daughter of Colonel Francis Charteris, who had made a large fortune by gambling. His son David, Lord Elcho (1721–1787), was implicated in the Jacobite rising of 1745, and was consequently at tainted, the estates passing to his younger brother James, while the title remained dormant after his father's death, though it was assumed by Elcho's brother Francis, who took the name of Charteris on inheriting his maternal grandfather's estate. A reversal of the attainder was granted in 1826 to his descendant Francis Charteris Wemyss Douglas (1772–1853), who had been created Baron Wemyss of Wemyss in the peerage of the United Kingdom in 1821, and had assumed the name of Charteris Wemyss Douglas on inheriting some of the Douglas estates through a female ancestor. Thenceforward the title descended in the direct line.