Earl of Wemyss (pronounced "Weems") is the title held by a Scottish family who had possessed the lands of Wemyss in Fife 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, 3rd Countess of Wemyss, whose son David, 4th Earl of Wemyss, succeeded on her death in 1705. His son James, 5th 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 attainted, 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.
Earls of Wemyss (1633)
- John Wemyss, 1st Earl of Wemyss (d. 1649)
- David Wemyss, 2nd Earl of Wemyss (1610-1679)
- Margeret Wemyss, 3rd Countess of Wemyss (1659-1705)
- David Wemyss, 4th Earl of Wemyss (c. 1678-1720)
- James Wemyss, 5th Earl of Wemyss (1699-1756)
- David Wemyss, 6th Earl of Wemyss (1721-1787)
- Francis Wemyss Charteris, 7th Earl of Wemyss (1723-1808)
- Francis Wemyss Charteris Douglas, 8th Earl of Wemyss, 4th Earl of March (1772-1853)
- Francis Wemyss-Charteris, 9th Earl of Wemyss, 5th Earl of March (1796-1883)
- Francis Richard Charteris, 10th Earl of Wemyss, 6th Earl of March (1818-1914)
- Hugo Richard Charteris, 11th Earl of Wemyss, 7th Earl of March (1857-1937)
- Francis David Charteris, 12th Earl of Wemyss, 8th Earl of March (b. 1912)
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopędia Britannica.