Weir, Thomas

Weir, Thomas (1600-1670)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In 1670 Major Thomas Weir voluntarily confessed to a long list of crimes including sodomy, bestiality with mares and cows, incest with his sister Jane (from the time she was sixteen years old until she was fifty) and with his stepdaughter Margaret Bourdon, fornication with his maid servant Bessie Weems, and witchcraft. At the age of seventy, Weir, an outstanding parliamentary officer, a Puritan, and evangelical leader of the Presbyterian strict sect, came to be regarded as one of Scotland's most notorious wizards. Despite efforts to stifle the affair and avoid scandal and disgrace, a minister in whom Weir had confided revealed the story to the Lord Provost of the city, and an inquiry was instituted.

Weir and his sister were arrested, and according to George Sinclar's Satan's Invisible World Discovered, 1871, "the terrors of God which were upon his soul urged him to confess and accuse himself." To various ministers who visited him in prison, Weir stated, "I know my sentence of damnation is already sealed in Heaven. . . for I find nothing within me but blackness, darkness, brimstone, and burning to the bottom of Hell." Jane Weir, in an attempt to save herself, accused her brother of witchcraft.

Major Weir always walked with a thornwood staff, on which he would lean even when praying. This came to be regarded as a wizard's staff, bringing him inspiration from the devil. The trial revealed that a woman had seen the Major having sex with a mare in 1651 or 1652 but that after reporting it she was whipped for slandering such a well-respected man. Weir's sister-in-law Margaret reported that when she was twentyseven she had seen him and his sister Jane making violent love in a barn. Jane Weir told tales of spirits doing magic work for her and of her and her brother traveling in a magic coach of fire that took them to Musselburgh and back to Edinburgh.

Found guilty, Major Weir was strangled and burned at a stake between Edinburgh and Leith on April 11, 1670, and his body was then burned to ashes. His sixty-year-old sister Jane was burned as a witch and for incest on April 12, in the Grassmarket at Edinburgh, on her own confessions and the evidence of her brother's statements.

References in periodicals archive ?
By Anna Theasby, Chloe Bridges, Emma Weir, Thomas Collins, Callum Goodwin &Ben McGee The milky way Gunky growing: investigating how bacterial biofilms are relevant to disease.
Over the past month nine players - Jelavic, David Weir, Thomas Kind Bendiksen, Darren Cole, Kai Naismith, Jordan McMillan, Kyle Hutton, John Fleck and Juan Ortiz - have been removed from the wage bill.
But Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone are fit and available again, to help counter the affects of suspension which see David Weir, Thomas Gravesen and Wayne Rooney all sit out the match.
David Moyes' outfit have won just one of their last nine matches and make the trip to the capital without David Weir, Thomas Gravesen and Wayne Rooney, while Kevin Campbell faces a late fitness test.
Moyes hopes to have a near full-strength squad available for the trip to Old Trafford, having rested David Weir, Thomas Gravesen and Mark Pembridge from the Worthington Cup win at Wrexham.
January's concert in The Series will include music by Judith Weir, Thomas Ades and Howard Skempton (a suite from the score he wrote for Motionhouse Dance Company's Delicate), and a new commission, Lamenting with Ariadne, from Scottish-born, long-time US resident Thea Musgrave.
David Weir, Thomas Gravesen and Wayne Rooney are suspended, Alan Stubbs and Kevin Campbell are major doubts, but Joseph Yobo has trained normally this week and Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone have also declared their fitness today.
DESPAIR: Everton's David Weir, Thomas Gravesen and Alan Stubbs turn away in disappointment after seeing Dion Dublin grab Aston Villa's winner yesterday; WINNER: Striker Dion Dublin ruins Everton's hopes of claiming a draw by turning in Aston Villa's winning goal in yesterday's Premiership clash at Villa Park; GOAL: Kevin Campbell equalises (left) and wheels away (second left) after Tomasz Radzinski (second right) pulled a goal back but David Moyes' day ended in despair (right); JOY: Dion Dublin celebrates his strike (left), while Everton defender Tony Hibbert goes on the attack (right); PICTURES by DAVE KENDALL
Dudley Hart blazed the trail in the final event before the Masters on six under, one clear of a group including Mike Weir, Thomas Bjorn, Bob Tway and Stuart Appleby.