Object of the Month: Aberfeldy Memorial Axe

We continue to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the National Fund for Acquisition with this month’s object of the month. July’s object is a memorial axe, a small silver version of the ‘Lochaber’ axe used by the Marquis of Breadalbane to unveil the Aberfeldy Monument in November 1887.

The Aberfeldy Memorial Axe, in it's pink silk-lined leather case.

The Aberfeldy Memorial Axe, in it’s pink silk-lined leather case.

The Aberfeldy Monument to The Black Watch is located on the Tay near where the Companies of the Regiment were first mustered in 1740. A statue of a Highland soldier of 1740 stands atop a large cairn, at the bottom of which a late 19th century Black Watch soldier inscribes the latest Battle Honour onto a list. The rest of the Battle Honours tablet is blank, awaiting new Honours.

The silver memorial axe on display in the Museum was given to Major James Menzies, one of the key figures responsible for the creation of the Monument. Originally from Weem, near Aberfeldy, Major Menzies moved to Glasgow where he became a successful wine merchant, as well as a keen Volunteer soldier.

Close up of the detail on the axe blade, with inscription as transcribed in the text.

Close up of the detail on the axe blade, with inscription as transcribed in the text.

The axe’s black wooden handle is about 30 centimetres long with a silver tip, blade and hook. The blade is inscribed “THE BLACK WATCH MEMORIAL unveiled by The Most Noble the Marquis of Breadalbane | Aberfeldy, 12th November, 1887 | Presented to Major James Menzie of “The Glasgow Highlanders” The proposer of the memorial in recognition of his valuable services in connection with the erection and completion of the monument.”

The axe was made by George Edward and Sons, Glasgow, and rests in a black leather case with a pink silk lining. It can be seen on display in the Museum at the top of the stairs after leaving the French Wars gallery.

The axe was purchased with assistance from the National Fund for Acquisitions in 2002.

The memorial axe is displayed alongside a miniature version of the statue that stands atop the Aberfeldy Memorial.

The memorial axe is displayed alongside a miniature version of the statue that stands atop the Aberfeldy Memorial.

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About blackwatchmuseum

The Museum of The Black Watch offers an insight into one of the British Army's if not the world's most famous fighting units. Scotland's Black Watch is an elite military regiment whose history stretches back almost three centuries.
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2 Responses to Object of the Month: Aberfeldy Memorial Axe

  1. Peter Barclay says:

    I have a post-card of the Black Watch Memorial, Aberfeldy, and it reads as follows :-

    The Memorial, on the banks of the River Tay, was erected in 1887, to mark the rising of the Black Watch, the 42nd Regiment of the Line. The “Watch” was originally created in 1667 by several of the clan chiefs “to be a constant guard for securing peace in the Highlands and to watch upon the braes.” Photography by Jim Henderson, AMPA

    It is the same as you describe, but expressed differently, with best wishes Peter Barclay.

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