Person NameMenzies of Pitfodels; family
ActivityThe Menzies family owned the lands of Pitfodels, now in Cults, Aberdeen, from at least the 16th century; they had stemmed from a prominent family of Aberdeen burgesses in the 15th century. Around the same time they acquired the lands of Torry, Cove and Nigg, on the south side of the River Dee. These were desirable properties as they were required for the expansion of Aberdeen Harbour and the development of the city, though they were run as farmland. The most well-known head of the family was John Menzies of Pitfodels (1756-1843), who like his ancestors was a staunch Roman Catholic. In 1827 he gifted his estate with the mansion house of Blairs (Kincardineshire) to the Bishop of Aberdeen for the foundation of a college for the education of secular priests. Blair College opened in 1829. Menzies was also a major benefactor of St Margaret's Convent, Edinburgh (opened 1835). In 1875 John Menzies of Pitfodels came to an agreement with the Town Council which gave the Council half of Nigg. Though the Menzies were a prominent landowning family, they did not take part in local politics and do not feature on local lists of burgesses, advocates, graduates or even alumni of Aberdeen Grammar School. The area of Pitfodels is now remembered in the name of a school and of a road in Cults.
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