The Old Kirk of Weem

The Old Kirk of Weem is situated east of The Weem Hotel and west of the current Parish Church. It was built c.1488 probably at the request of the then Clan Chief, Menzies of Menzies. It has always been associated with St. Cuthbert who brought his ministry to Strathtay in c.A.D.650 and is said to have lived in a cave on the hillside. The building was used before and after the Reformation as a parish church until 1836 when it was presented to the then Chief as a family mausoleum. It remained the heritable property of the Menzies Chiefs until 1996, when the current Chief gave it to The Menzies Charitable Trust to care of.

Items of Interest in the Old Kirk

-The Menzies Memorial carved in 1616, a unique genealogical record
-Menzies Hatchments (Funeral Arms)
-Two of the ancient sanctuary crosses that came from the 8th century Celtic monastery in Dull.
-St. Cuthbert’s cross which used to stand on the hillside near the cave.
-An early hexagonal stone font.
-Several early tombstones.

The Menzies Monument

The most remarkable feature in the Kirk is the Monument, dated 1616, and erected by Sir Alexander Menzies of Menzies as a tribute to his ancestors. It is a most unusual genealogical record in stone. It has been described as an important example of Scottish Renaissance work attributable in design and execution to native skill. At each end of the cornice above the arch is a figure kneeling at a prie dieu. These undoubtedly represent, on the left, Sir Alexander and, on the right, his first wife, Margaret Campbell. Their impaled arms and monograms are carved on the central pediment.

Above, surmounting all, is a tablet displaying a figure with arms raised in the orans posture, presumably representing the Almighty or Christ Ascendant - a surprising addition at a time when the Reformed Church strictly forbade such effigies. Supporting the cornice are two large figures representing, on the left, Faith (his open book reads "what is done without faith is sinful") and on the right, the conventional depiction of Charity.

The whole monument is richly decorated with scrolls, wreaths, angels, cherubim and memento mori.

 

A Dedication Inscription

On the back of the arched recess is a panel which translated reads:

My mother is of the royal stock of the Britons of Atholl
And Lawers is the house of my grandmother
My great-grandmother is a fair daughter of Huntley
And my great-great-grandmother is from Edzell sprung.
To the shade and memory of the famous and noble hero
Alexander Menzies of Weem and to the memory of Campbell his wife,
both of whom for the sake of the good name of their ancestors
and their posterity undertook the building of this monument.