This stone commemorates some of the family of William Menzies, “Solicitor of His Majesty’s Customs in Scotland”. There are two William Menzies mentioned on the stone, the one who was solicitor during the reign of George III, and his grandson who died in 1884 aged 67. The inscription takes some untangling, and can best be done by reference to the family tree sketched out below:
William Menzies, Solicitor of Customs, married Elizabeth Metcalf from London in 1762. They had about 11 children. In 1768 William arranged for Rock House to be built on the west side of Calton Hill. Rock House became famous in the 1840s when it was occupied by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, the world-famous early pioneers of photography.
William Menzies died at Rock House in 1793. It remained in the family until sold in 1818 by John Menzies, William and Elizabeth’s oldest son, who also became Solicitor of Customs like his father. Part of Rock House garden was removed to make way for the construction of Waterloo Place and Regent Road.
William and Elizabeth’s youngest son, also William Menzies (1778-1861), went to India and was a Captain with the East India Company before returning home and settling in Edinburgh. He married Harriet Fordyce Callander in 1811 and it is their son, the third William Menzies (1817-84), who was responsible for this stone recording parts of his family.
This William Menzies (1817-1884) was enrolled at Edinburgh Academy, a school founded in 1824 with the deliberate intention of providing a good education in Latin and Greek. Presumably the source of the Latin and Greek quotations on this stone lies in William Menzies’ schooling at The Academy. He married Sarah Campbell in 1841 and they had two sons: John (1845-47), who died aged 21 months of whooping cough, and yet another William (1841-1890), who married Annie Stuart Ferguson (1842-1908), in Ottawa in 1864 – they have numerous descendants in Canada and America. [“The American descendants of William MENZIES, Solicitor of Customs in Leith” by David Matthewes, Canton, U.S.A. in The Menzies Clan Magazine, No. 17, December 1994.]
A Menzies crest is at at the top with “DEO VOLENTE VINCAM” – the Latin version of the motto “God willing, I shall conquer”.
The full inscription reads:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF JANET MENZIES, LAST SURVIVING DAUGHTER OF THE LATE WILLIAM MENZIES ESQUIRE, SOLICITOR OF HIS MAJESTY’S CUSTOMS IN SCOTLAND; AND AUNT OF WM MENZIES ESQ, EDINR; BORN, 18TH APRIL, 1769: DIED, 17TH, DECR, 1849. AND OF JOHN MENZIES, THE INTENSELY AFFECTIONATE SON OF SAID WM MENZIES EDINR; BORN, 6TH JULY, 1845 : DIED, 3RD APRIL, 1847. Tecum vivere amem, tecum obeam libens. [“I would love to live with you, I would willingly die with you.”] ALSO OF SARAH CAMPBELL OR MENZIES, WIFE OF THE SAID WILLIAM MENZIES. EDINR; WHO DIED 2ND FEBRUARY 1877: AGED 55 YEARS. AND THE SAID WILLIAM MENZIES. EDINR; WHO DIED 30TH SEPTEMBER 1884: AGED 67 YEARS.
THE BURYING GROUND OF WILLIAM MENZIES ESQ; EDINR.
(Source – Ian McHaffie, Greek Secrets Revealed – Hidden Scottish History Uncovered – Book 1 – Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 2019, ISBN 978-0-9525026-3-0))
The Greek is on the base:
Οὐδεμία πόα, ἢ βία, τοῦ θανάτου βέλη κλάει.
Oudemia poa, ē bia, tou thanatou belē klaei.
“No medicine or human strength breaks the arrows of death.”
Source: Short Greek Maxims number 726 (anonymous) in Breves Sententiae Graecae (“Short Greek Maxims”) as attached to the Greek-Latin Dictionary by the Dutch grammarian Cornelius Schrevelius (1615-1654), Lexicon Manuale, London, 1826, or the edition edited by Peter Steele (American edition 1832), who is also buried in Grange Cemetery (see separate entry).