Castle Menzies – Seat of a Clan
Castle Menzies is a spectacular sixteenth century castle, restored by the Menzies Clan Society to what it would have looked like originally. It was the seat of the Chiefs of Clan Menzies for over 400 years. Castle Menzies, pronounced 'Mingies', stands north of the River Tay at Weem. It is a very fine Z-plan castle typical of East Scotland with a large 19th century wing. The main block has three stories and an attic, with the two projecting square towers of five stories. It is a good example of the structures built in those days as a transition between the earlier rugged fortress and later mansion house.
The Menzies clan members were of Norman origins and Sir Robert de Menzies rose within the ranks of the court of King Alexander II. He was granted lands in Glen Lyon, Atholl, Rannoch, and Weem in Strathtay. He built Menzies Castle in 1488, replacing Comrie Castle as the seat of the clan. This castle unfortunately burned down in 1502 and another castle was built in its place. This is the structure that is the oldest part of the present, much extended, castle.
Castle Menzies was occupied by Cromwell’s General Monck in the 1650s and by the Jacobites in 1715. Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed here in 1746 and the family was thrown out of the castle as punishment. The castle was then used by Hanoverian forces. The last of the Menzies family line died in 1918 and the castle was owned by many families in the 20th century. During WW2, it was used by the Polish army but was in a derelict condition after the war till it was taken over by the Clan Menzies Society in 1957.
The old tower house was extended on two sides in the 18th and 19th centuries and formed a pretty picture with its plantings on the hill behind the Menzies Castle and walled garden. Other buildings such as the kennels, the keeper’s and gardener’s cottages, gatehouses and the Gothic home farm lie half a mile to the west. Much of the present castle dates from 1840 including the Victorian portico, with the Menzies coat of arms above.