Landowner who devoted much of his life to the preservation of Scotland’s cultural heritage.
The 12th Earl of Wemyss and 8th of March, who died on December 12 aged 96, believed that aristocracy has to prove itelf in order to survive, and to that end he pursued a distinguished career in public life in Scotland, much of it devoted to preserving the country’s heritage of art, landscape and historic buildings.
He served as chairman of the council, and then as president, of the National Trust for Scotland from 1946 to 1991; as chairman of the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments for Scotland from 1949 to 1984; and as a member of the Royal Commisson on Historical Manuscripts from 1975 to 1988.
As chairman of the National Trust for Scotland, Lord Wemyss campaigned for houses of historical importance to be exempted from death duties. He also argued that disused railway lines should be adapted for the use of cyclists and walkers.
Under his chairmanship the Trust bought several new properties, most notably the 17th-century Craigievar castle in Aberdeenshire. In 1946 it presented General Eisenhower with a guest flat in Culzean Castle as a gift for life in tribute to his achievements as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. It was, Eisenhower said, “the best present I ever had”.
He held a number of ceremonial offices. On three occasions (1959, 1960 and 1977) he represented the Queen as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
He served on the Scottish Churches Council from 1964 to 1971, and for a time on the World Council of Churches.
• Full story at the Daily Telegraph.