This famous Scottish clan surname, originates from a Norman knight of the 11th century. When William, the Conqueror captured England in 1066, it is said that he received help from Scotland. Certainly a number of Norman nobles and knight received land grants in Scotland. Amongst these was knight called "de Meyners", originally from the town of Mesnieres, in the department of Seine-Maritime. In England the name is Manners, the family name of the Dukes of Rutland. The place name is a derivative of the Latin "manere", meaning to remain or reside.The name became prominent in Scotland in the 13th century when Robert de Meyners, was appointed Great Chamberlain of Scotland in the year 1224, by King Robert 1st. Other early recordings include David De Meyness, a knight, and a member of the Queen of Scotland's retinue in 1248, whilst Robert de Mesnere, was supporter of King Henry 111 of England in 1255. The change to the (near) modern form of Menzies is first recorded in 1385 when Alexander de Meinzeis held a charter of lands in Durisdeer. The book of Menzies written in 1894 claimed descent from King Fergus in 333 B.C. This is a total fable, although it has long been held up as the truth. The Menzies have no need of such rubbish, their success stands for itself. Amongst the many famous name holders is Sir Robert Menzies, (1894 - 1978), the Australian Prime Minister in 1939 - 1941 and again in 1949 - 1966. He had a grandfather who emigrated from Scotland in the gold rush of the 1850's. and who traced his family back to the Great Chamberlain as shown above. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Arketil de Mannvers, which was dated 1214, and recorded at the Abbey of Holyrood, Scotland. This was during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249.
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