David Charteris, 12th Earl of Wemyss

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Wemyss
and Earl of March

KT DL
David Charteris, 12th Earl of Wemyss.jpg
Personal details
Born Francis David Charteris
19 January 1912
Stanway, Gloucestershire
Died 12 December 2008(2008-12-12) (aged 96)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Mother Lady Violet Manners
Father Capt. Hugo Charteris, Lord Elcho
Residence Gosford House
Education Eton College
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Religion Church of Scotland
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1932–1944
Rank Major
Unit Lovat Scouts, Royal Pioneer Corps
Battles/wars World War II

Francis David Charteris, 12th Earl of Wemyss and 8th Earl of March KT DL (19 January 1912 – 12 December 2008), styled Lord Elcho from 1916 to 1937, was a Scottish peer, landowner and conservationist. From 1946 to 1991, he served as chairman of the board and then president of the National Trust for Scotland.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Belgravia in London, the eldest son of Capt. Hugo Francis Charteris, Lord Elcho, who was killed in action in 1916 in Egypt while serving in the First World War. His mother was Lady Violet Manners, daughter of the 8th Duke of Rutland. He was educated at Eton College and at Balliol College, Oxford (BA 1933), and also studied agriculture at both Oxford and Cambridge as a postgraduate student. At age 25, he succeeded his grandfather in the family titles in 1937.[2]

Career[edit]

Wemyss was commissioned into the Lovat Scouts (Territorial Army) as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1932.[3] He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1935 and transferred to the TA Reserve of Officers in 1937, and served as a Colonial Administrator in Basutoland from 1937 until 1944. During the Second World War, he did not rejoin the Lovat Scouts but instead served as a major with Basuto troops in the African Auxiliary Pioneer Corps from 1941 to 1944 in North Africa, on account of his fluency in Sotho.[4]

He was Deputy Lieutenant from 1959 to 1967 and Lord Lieutenant of East Lothian from 1967 until 1987, and a Justice of the Peace since 1957. He was appointed as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1959, 1960 and 1977. He held the honorary appointment of Lord Clerk Register from 1974 until 2007.[2]

He was a Lieutenant in the Royal Company of Archers. He was Chairman of the Council of the National Trust for Scotland 1947 to 1967, President from 1967 to 1991, and had been President Emeritus since 1991. He was Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland from 1949 to 1984, President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society from 1958 to 1962, and President of the National Bible Society of Scotland from 1960 to 1983. He was formerly a director of Standard Life and of Scottish Television.[2]

Personal life[edit]

The grave of Francis David Charteris, Aberlady Churchyard

He married, first, in 1940, Mavis Lynette Gordon Murray (d. 1988), daughter of Edwin Edward Murray, of Hermanus, Cape Province, South Africa. They had two daughters and two sons (one daughter died in infancy). The elder son, Iain David Charteris, Lord Elcho, was born in 1945 but died in 1954 as the result of an accident. Lord Wemyss married, secondly, in 1995, Shelagh Kathleen Kennedy, née Thrift.[2]

He lived in Gosford House, Longniddry, East Lothian. He died on 12 December 2008 at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Edinburgh, aged 96. He is buried in the family enclosure on the north side of Aberlady Churchyard.

His younger son, James Donald Charteris, Lord Neidpath (b. 22 June 1948), succeeded his father.[1]

Honours[edit]

Wemyss was made a Knight of the Thistle in 1966. He held an honorary LLD from St Andrews University, awarded in 1953, and an honorary DUniv from Edinburgh University awarded in 1983.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Earl of Wemyss and March". The Daily Telegraph. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The Earl of Wemyss and March: Landowner and conservationist who served the Scottish National Trust for half a century". The Independent. 15 December 2008. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "(Supplement) no. 33836". The London Gazette. 17 June 1932. p. 3955. 
  4. ^ a b "The Earl of Wemyss and March: president of the National Trust for Scotland". The Times. 18 December 2008. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Duke of Buccleuch
Lord Clerk Register
1974–2007
Succeeded by
Lord Mackay of Clashfern
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Tweeddale
Lord Lieutenant of East Lothian
1967–1987
Succeeded by
Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Hugo Richard Charteris
Earl of Wemyss and March
1937–2008
Succeeded by
James Donald Charteris