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Origins of the Irish Wemyss


Weymes and Wymes are forms of the Scottish toponymic Wemyss found in Leinster as early as the fourteenth century.

The variants Wims, Wyms and Wymbs are extinct in north Connacht."(This indicates a general medieval origin though it can also be used as support for the followers of Robert the Bruce theory)

The following Wemyss are sometimes put forward as the sole origin of the Irish Wemyss

1. Sir Patrick Wemyss who was born near Fife,Scotland in the early 1600 and came to Danesfort in Co. Kilkenny in 1632 and died there in 1666 is the one most often mentioned. (We have documented several family trees that can be traced back to Sir Patrick)

2. Robert Bruce's followers. It has been suggested that the name came with followers of Robert Bruce who fled toIreland in the mid 1300. It is well documented inScotlandthat the Wemyss family were loyal to Bruce. (For many genealogists this is the probable origin of many Weymes)

3. General migration over a long period.County Sligo has the biggest concentration of Weymes possibly starting from Medieval times and is in easy reach of Scotland.

4. Sir John Wemyss of Bogie Is potentially ancestor of the name inIreland.He was the grandson of Sir James Wemyss of Bogie who had an only son called James.

Sir Robert Douglas Baronage of Scotland (1798) page 561. Sir James married Margaret Durie and they also had one surviving son John who became an officer in the army and having acquired a considerable fortune settled inIreland where his posterity still remains and makes a good figure. Sir John Wemyss-Kessler who is regarded as an authority on the family also advances this theory in his book: The House of Wemyss - A Thousand-Year History. (There is no evidence in any Irish records to this suggestion.)

5. Sir John Wemyss of Logie and Glenawley. Moved toIreland to serve as high sheriff ofcountyFermanagh and some consider being the original Irish Weymes/Wemyss. Many reference papers state that he was born before 1623 and that he married Anne Balfour daughter of Lord Balfour before 1638. The earliest verifiable record of him is that of a reference to his murder which is recalled by an entry in the Calendar of State Papers of Ireland-Charles. 1. 1625/1632; page 224 dated14th April 1627. This reference is concerned with the forfeiting of bail money of two individuals to the Kings Sewers for the non attendance of a number of persons who failed to appear in court concerning charges that the Bishop of Clogher murdered Sir John.

In a letter from the King to Lord Deputy (6/6/1627) the King states; it has now been proved that Sir John Weymes; High Sheriff of county Fermanagh was murdered by chaplains and servants of the Bishop of Clogher. The King formerly stayed all proceedings in the matter, being unwilling to cause a scandal in the Church. There was no love lost between Lord Balfour, (Sir John's father in law) and the Bishop of Clogher and it was a consequence of this that Sir John lost his life.

Some of the Bishops servants went to Lisnaskea, where they found three or four horses of Sir Johns, which they took away and sold in Enniskillen. Later in the same week they went out again and took some mares belong to Lord Balfour who were pasturing on theBishopsland, for which Balfour refused to pay rent for. At Enniskillen when they were overtaken by Sir John and some of Balfours tenants. Sir John who was incensed with the indignity done to him thrust a pike through the shoulder of one of the servants, William Galbraith. In the course of the fight that followed, Williams's brother Humphrey killed Sir John.

The Galbraiths were later tried for murder, but escaped the doom that Balfour had hoped for, but the Bishop had to pay a heavy fine for the wrongdoing of his servants. In Pynnars Survey page 536 entry (237) it states that Sir John Wemyss had the following children; James, Elizabeth and Anne. Pynnars

Survey pages 511/512 have a complete account of the ongoing conflict between Lord Balfour and the Bishop of Clogher, and also a thorough description of the circumstances that lead to the death of Sir John Wemyss.

6.Scottish settlers. Another theory is that the name came with Scottish settlers who came toUlster during thePlantation and indeed the surname is listed as Wims in the names of planters incountyDown. (Our research has not coveredNorthern Ireland but there are records of the name inIreland before thePlantation) Perhaps some day verifiable links will be established and speculation will end.

Variant Spelling of the Wemyss Name

(These are the variant spellings of the name that came to light during the research)

Wemyss Wemys Wyms Wymes

Weymes Wimbs Wymbs Weems

Wames Weims Wymess Weimis

Weimys Weyms Weymis Wemes

Wems Weemyss Wemise Wemyes

Weeme Waymus Waymes Wymbly

Wims Wimsey Wymsey Wheims

Wheims Wymie Wyme Whyms

Wyme Veims Vemyss Veymis

Van Weymes

De Bhuimh is the Irish (Gaelic) spelling of the name

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