Clan Menzies

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Clan Menzies are a good example of an anglo-Norman family who recieved Scottish lands through royal patronage and founded a clan based not so much on the idea of kindred as fuedal tenure. <ref>David Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames (Collins, 1995, 2000)245</ref> Their aristocracy became Gaelicised and were powerful in the Central Highlands. <ref>Dorward Surnames, 245</ref> They also held land in Aberdeenshire and Lothian. <ref>http://www.menzies.org/history/index.htm (accessed 13th July 2014)</ref>

Origins

This is a name of Norman origin. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia (Barnes and Noble, 1994) 272</ref> It originated in Mesnieres om Normandy. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref> The family who settled in England adopted the name of Manners and were ancestors of the current Dukes of Rutland.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref> The first recorded member of the family in Scotland was Anketillus de Maynoers, who appears on a donation to the Abbey of Holyrood during the reign of William the Lion (d.1214) <ref>http://www.menzies.org/history/history_full.htm (accessed 13th June 2014) </ref>

Middle Ages

However, the first known chief, Sir Robert de Meyneris appeared at the court of Alexander II. <ref>http://www.menzies.org/history/history_full.htm (accessed 13th June 2014) </ref> He received royal favour and became chamberlain in 1249.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref> Sir Robert also recieved grants of lands in Atholl and Glen Lyon. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref> Later these were added to by a grant of Aberfeldy in Strathtay to his son, Alexander. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref>

Alexander de Meyneris made a spectacular marriage to Egidia, daughter of James, High Steward of Scotland. His son, Sir Robert, was an associate of Robert the Bruce and was rewarded with lands in Glendochart, Finlairg, Glenorchy and Durisdeer.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref>

Sixteenth Century

A later Sir Robert Menzies built Castle Menzies, at Weem, around 1488.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref> However, Weem was soon plundered, in 1502 by Stewart of Garth over a land dispute. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref> Janet Menzies had married a Stewart around a century earlier, and Garth claimed these lands as part of her dowry. An appeal to the Crown resulted in James IV ordering Stewart of Garth to make compensation, and made the Menzies lands into the free barony of Menzies in 1510.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref>

In 1540 James Menzies of Menzies married Barbara Stewart, daughter of the Stewart Earl of Atholl and and cousin of Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref>

Seventeenth Century

Castle Menzies

Despite these royal connections, the chiefs were in conflict with the Marquess of Montrose. A chief was fatally wounded by royalist forces during a skirmish.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref> His son was a major in the Covenanting army and was killed, again by the forces of Montrose, at the Battle of Inverlochy.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref>The Menzies Chiefs embraced the reformed religion but, nevertheless, supported the early attempt to restore the Monarchy during the Commonwealth. <ref>http://www.menzies.org/history/history_full.htm (accessed 13th June 2014) </ref>The Menzies families in the north took an independent line from their chiefs, and supported Montrose. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 273</ref>

In 1665 Sir Alexander Menzies became a baronet of Nova Scotia.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref> Alexander's brother was Colonel James Menzies of Culbean who claimed to have survived no less than nine serious wounds. James is the ancestor of the present chiefs. Another of Alexander's brothers was killed at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 272</ref>

The chiefs of Clan Menzies opposed the policies of James VII of Scotland (II of England). When James was forced from his throne in 1688 the Menzies chiefs supported Mary II of England and Prince William of Orange. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 273</ref>

However the clan was again divided as Major Duncan Menzies of Fornock led his men in the Highland charge at the Battle of Killiecrankie in which they defeated Government troops. Amongst the Government troops at Killiecrankie were hundreds of their Perthshire kinsmen, who had formed and Independent Highland Company.The Menzies Independent Company later fought at the Battle of Cromdale in 1690 where the Jacobites were defeated.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 273</ref>

Jacobitism

When the “Old Pretender, the Chevalier St. George made a bid for the throne of Scotland in 1715, the Menzies' of Culdares, Bolfracks and Shian were among the clans who rallied to the call, but the then Chief, Sir Robert, was nine years old at the time and represented by his great-uncle James as regent or tutor, and Captain James, who had fought at Killiecrankie with his brother on the Government side, considered it prudent not to commit his ward to the enterprise. <ref>http://www.menzies.org/history/history_full.htm (accessed 13th June 2014) </ref>

In the 1745 rising the Chief adopted a neutral position and took no active part, but the Clan was “out” under Menzies of Shian who subsequently paid dearly with his life for the cause.<ref>http://www.menzies.org/history/history_full.htm (accessed 13th June 2014) </ref>The Chief, nevertheless gave to Prince Charles the hospitality of his house for two days during the ill-fated retreat from Stirling to Inverness in 1746 which ended in the tragedy of Culloden.<ref>http://www.menzies.org/history/history_full.htm (accessed 13th June 2014) </ref>

The Menzies lands at Glen Lyon provided shelter for refugees from Culloden, including members of the Prince's personal staff.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 273</ref>

Eighteenth Century

At the end of the eighteenth century James Menzies, merchant of Weem, was one of the leaders of a protest against the Militia Ballot Act, which had been passed in fear of an invasion by the French Revolutionary Government.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 273</ref> This act made compelled all men between the ages of nineteen and twenty three to join the army. However the protest was scattered by the arrival of government troops.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 273</ref>

Twentieth Century

The Menzies baronetcy became extinct on the death of Sir Neil Menzies of Menzies in 1910.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 273</ref> His sister, Miss Egidia Menzies, succeeded to the estates but they were sold following her death in 1918, leading to the loss of many clan relics with the sale of the castle's contents.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 273</ref> <ref>http://www.menzies.org/history/history_full.htm (accessed 13th June 2014)</ref> Menzies Castle declined and was used as a medical stores depot for the Polish army. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 273</ref>

With the extinction of the main Menzies of Weem line, the Clan was therefore without a Chief until Ronald Steuart Menzies of Culdares and Arndilly, the lineal heir of Colonel James Menzies of Culdares, a prominent Covenanting officer and cousin of the first Baronet, petitioned Lyon Court in 1957 and obtained arms in the title of “The Menzies of Menzies”. His son, David Steuart Menzies of Menzies is the present Chief.<ref>http://www.menzies.org/history/history_full.htm (accessed 13th June 2014)</ref> Menzies Castle was saved from ruin by the Menzies Clan Society.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 273</ref>

Today

The present chief is David Menzies of Menzies. <ref>http://www.menzies.org/index.htm (accessed 13th July 2014)</ref>

References

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