Menzies Clan Crest: The head of a savage.
Menzies Clan Motto: Vil God I Zal (God willing I shall).
History of Clan Menzies:
The origin of this clan lies in Mayneris, near Rouen, in France. The Anglo-Norman branch of the family took the name Manners, and are ancestors of the dukes of Rutland. Sir Robert de Meyners, who became Chamberlain of Scotland in the reign of Alexander II around 1248, is generally considered to be the founder of this dynasty.
Sir Robert was granted lands in Glen Lion and Atholl. At a later date, Alexander, his son, married Egida, daughter of James, High Steward of Scotland and acquired Aberfeldy, in Strathtay. Their son, Robert, was a childhood companion of Robert the Bruce and, following the Battle of Bannockburn, rewarded with Glendochart and Durrisdeer.
At the peak of their power, Clan Menzies held a significant swathe of the Central Highlands which included Weem, the Appin of Dull and Rannoch. The family also held land in Lothian and in Aberdeenshire. Castle Menzies, by Aberfeldy, was built around 1488 by Sir Robert Menzies, 8th Chief.
In 1510, following a dispute with the Stewarts of Garth, the Menzies lands were recognised by the Crown as a Free Barony. In the following century, however, Clan Menzies to begin with ignored the Royalist Cause, although their Perthshire kinsmen, Sir Gilbert Menzies of Pitfodels fought with the Marquis of Montrose at the Battle of Inverlochy, where his son was killed.
In 1665, Sir Alexander Menzies became a Nova Scotia baronet, but the Clan soon became divided over the Jacobite Cause, fighting on both sides at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. Menzies of Culdares supported the Old Pretender in the 1715 Uprising, and Menzies of Shian, and his son, were both killed during the 1745 campaign. Following the Battle of Culloden, several members of Prince Charles Edward Stuart's immediate following found shelter in Glen Lyon.
The Menzies Baronetcy became extinct following the death of Sir Neil Menzies of Menzies in 1910. Menzies Castle was sold in 1918 and during the Second World War was used as a Medical Stores Depot for the Polish Army. However, it was bought by the Clan Menzies Society in 1957 and is now open to the public. That same year, a descendant of the cousin of Sir Alexander Menzies successfully petitioned the Lord Lyon King of Arms to use the arms of Menzies of Menzies.
John Menzies (1756-1834) gifted his estate of Blairs in Aberdeenshire to the Roman Catholic Church for the education of priests. He also assisted in the founding of St Margaret's Convent, Edinburgh. Sir Robert Menzies (1894-1978) was born in Australia of Scottish descent and served eighteen and a half years as Prime Minister of Australia.
Surname distribution in Scotland: The Menzies name is most commonly found in Perth and Kinross (Perthshire and Kinross-shire), Dundee City, Angus (formerly Forfarshire), Stirlingshire, Edinburgh City, the Lothians (Linlithgowshire, Edinburghshire and Haddingtonshire), and Lanarkshire.
Places of Interest: Castle Menzies, by Aberfeldy, Perthshire. Today's castle was erected in the latter part of the 16th century to replace an earlier fortification destroyed by Stewart of Garth in 1502. It is today owned by the Clan Menzies Society. Nearby is the village of Weem and the Menzies Mausoleum. Comrie Castle, Perthshire. Ruins of an early Seat of the Menzies chiefs.
Associated family names (Septs): Dewar, MacIndeor, MacMenzies, MacMin, MacMinn, MacMonies, Meanies, Means, Mein, Meine, Mennie, Mengues, Minn, Minnus.