Tartan is one of Scotland's most famous symbols of its Clans and national dress.
Tartan has been around for thousands of years probably being introduced into Scotland from Ireland by the Celts (circa 5 BC)
Prior to 1715, the first Jacobite Rebellion, there were only 5 tartans common in Scotland, and these differed in colour dependent on the plants in the areas from which the dyes came from.
Between 1715 and 1745 the next Jacobite Rebellion there were only 15 tartans.
After the battle of Culloden the government was determined to destroy the Scottish Clan system by introducing “The Disarming Act” which made it a criminal offense for the common Highland men to wear the tartan. It did not pertain to the Highland gentry nor to lowlanders or even women and what is more important it did not apply to the Highland Regiments that were being formed in the Government army.
It was not until 1816 that the Clans and regiments began to identify themselves and be recognised by specific tartans.
In fact most tartans originate from the Black Watch tartan. Introduce a white line and a red line and you have the McKenzie modern, introduce a yellow line and you have the Gordon modern, introduce white setts or squares and you the McKenzie dress and the Gordon dress etc etc etc.
However it was not until 1822 when Sir Walter Scott persuaded King George IV to visit Scotland that the tartan became popular and not until Queen Victoria established herself at Balmoral that the tartan really took off when the Victorians fell in love with all things Scottish.
Modern day tartan is a multi-million pound industry with each Clan having created its own tartan which could include several different designs and colours eg the “ancient / modern / hunting/ dress”. The tartan became the Clan's identity.
In October 2008 there were 6,281 tartans in existence mostly associated with the Clans or military regiments however there are many new tartans which have no clan association for example Scotland's National, Holyrood, Caledonia, Pride of Scotland and the beautiful Isle of Skye.
SO, Here's to it
Honour the name of it
Drink to the fame of it
THE TARTANMurdoch MaLean