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Castle Menzies (pronounced Mingis) was the ancestral seat of the Clan Menzies for over 400 years and is located just to the west of Weem, near Aberfeldy, Perthshire. It was formerly known as Weem Castle. Strategically situated, it was involved in the turbulent history of the Highlands. Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Stuart Pretender to the throne, rested for two nights in the Castle on his way to the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The sixteenth-century castle was restored by the Menzies Clan Society. The restoration of the ancient part of the castle involved the demolition of a greatly decayed 18th century wing. A large Victorian ballroom was, however, retained. The restored castle is an example of architectural transition between an earlier tradition of rugged fortresses and a later one of lightly defensible 'châteaux'. The walls are of random rubble, originally harled (roughcast), but the quoins, turrets and door and window surrounds are of finely carved blue freestone. This attractive and extremely hard-weathering stone was also used for the architectural details and monuments at the nearby Old Kirk of Weem, which was built by the Menzies family and contains their monuments and funeral hatchments. A marriage stone faces the entrance, installed by James Menzies in 1571 to record his marriage to Barbara Stewart, daughter of the Earl of Atholl. Maharaja Dalip Singh, last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire, lived at Castle Menzies between 1855 and 1858, following his exile from the Punjab in 1854. He was officially the ward of Sir John Spencer Logan and Lady Logan, who leased the castle for him. From the Scottish Country Dancers viewpoint, “Castle Menzies” is “The Register of Dances at Castle Menzies, 1749”, an original manuscript of 18 dance descriptions which is now kept in the A K Bell Library in Perth. For a detailed transcription of the manuscript courtesy of Jim Healy in August 1998 please visit the Strathspey Server http://www.strathspey.org/history/menzies.html.
THE MONTGOMERIES' RANT  (R8x32) Castle Menzies  RSCDS Book 10  1- 8 1s cross RH & cast down to 2nd place, cross LH & 1L casts up while 1M casts down  9-16 1s dance reels of 3 across, 1L with 2s & 1M with 3s 17-24 1s with nearer hands joined (Lady on Mans left) set to 2L, turn inwards & set to 3M, set to 3L, turn in & set to 2M 25-32 2s+1s+3s dance reels of 3 on opposite sides 1s giving RSh to 2nd corner, 1s cross RH to 2nd place own sides
Taught/practised on: 2012 May 27th
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