Major Thomas Weir

1599 - 1670

Wizard and soldier. Born near Carluke (South Lanarkshire), Weir went on to become an officer in the Covenanting Army of James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose (1612-50). Retiring from active service, he was appointed to the honorary post of Captain of the Town Guard in Edinburgh (1649). Weir was a resident of West Bow in Edinburgh's Lawnmarket district, where he lived with his sister Jean. Dressed in a long cloak and always leaned on a staff, he was apparently pious man, who was respected for his powerful preaching. The populous were therefore shocked when he confessed to sorcery, incest and other black crimes. He was convicted in a sensational trial and sentenced to be strangled and burned at the stake. It was suggested that his staff had a life of its own, carrying out his evil orders and, when cast onto Weir's pyre, it is said to have been burned only with the greatest of difficulty. Jean was convicted of witchcraft and hanged in the Grassmarket.

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