History of Clan Menzies

So far     visitors have these pages since April 10, 1997.

Mesnieres in Normandy was the original home of the Norman family, who in England rendered their name as Manners and who were ancestors of the present Duke of Rutland.

Sir Robert de Meyneris appeared at the court of Alexander II, where he gained royal patronage, rising to become Chamberlain in 1249. Sir Robert received grants of lands in Glen Lyon and Athol (in Perthshire, Scotland) reinforced by a grant to his son, Alexander, of Aberfeldy (in Strathspey) in 1296.

Alexander also acquired the lands of Weem and made a splendid marriage to Egidia, daughter of James, the High Steward of Scotland. (High Steward is considered to be the origin of the name Stewart as in Charles Edward Stewart, a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie of 45 rebellion fame, a.k.a. the "Young Pretender").

His son, Sir Robert, was a companion in arms to Robert the Bruce and was rewarded with lands in Glendochart, Finlarig, Glenorchy, and Durisdeer.

It was the 8th Chief, another Sir Robert Menzies, who built the castle at Weem around 1488. James IV erected the Menzies lands into the free barony of Menzies in 1510.

In 1665, Sir Alexander Menzies was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia. His brother, Colonel James Menzies of Culdares, ancestor of the present chiefly line, was a veteran of the Civil War (English) as was claimed to have survived no fewer than nine serious wounds. Another of Sir Alexander's brothers died fighting for the royalists at the battle of Worcester in 1651.

Clan loyalties were divided by the exile of James VII and, although Major Duncan Menzies of Fornock led his Highlanders in the charge which broke the Government Troops at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, they faced, in the ranks of General Mackay's army, hundreds of of their Pertshire kinsmen. In 1715, Menzies of Culdares quickly rallied to the standard of the "Old Pretender."

Culdares was captured at Dunblane after the rising and spent many years in exile.

When the "Young Pretender" landed in Scotland in 1745, Culdares was beyond active campaining but nonetheless sent the prince a fine horse.

However, the clan was out in force in the '45' under Menzies of Shian who, with his son, was killed during the campaign. The Menzies lands at Glen Lyon provided shelter for refugees from Culloden, including members of the Prince's personal staff.

The Menzies Baronetcy became extinct on the death of Sir Neil Menzies of Menzies, 8th Baronet in 1910. His sister Egidia inherited the Estates which were sold after her death in 1918, after a bitter dispute which is still unresolved.

Egidia was a first cousin of my grandfather and he was unable to raise the money to fight for the title and died a few years after. My father was only 12 and knew nothing of the dispute and so it was lost. The Clan Chieftanship should also have followed, but a wealthy Australian ex-patriot sept of the Menzies clan fought tooth and nail and expended millions to claim the title of Clan Chieftain, an honourary title worth nothing (in lands, political power, or money), which they still hold even though they do not live in Scotland or ever visit.

The Castle is now owned by the Clan Menzies Society which has done a great deal of work to restore the building, even as far as opening function rooms for weddings.

My wife and I and daughter have had a good look around and are impressed by the work the present custodian has achieved.

"This is the outline of our origins and as I put the more recent past together I'll pass it on."

John Menzies
Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Menzies History Accounts on the Web:

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