Our Tartans

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  • Anderson

    Part of Many Clans Anderson is recognised as a name in more than one of the Highland Clans including Clan Ross and Clan Donald. James D Scarlett MBE noted in his 1975 book 'The Tartans of the Scottish Clans': 
  • Baird

    A Poets Plaid This tartan is first recorded in Johnston's work of 1906, and the sample from the Highland Society of London probably dates from the same period. In both these early references the triple stripes are rendered in red. Today, however, they are generally woven in purple. The name originates from 'bard' meaning poet. The Bairds owned estates in Aberdeenshire which were later purchased by the Gordons.
  • Baru

    A Purple Passion This navy and purple tartan is not associated with a clan but rather a fashion tartan.
  • Black Watch

    The Black Watch Regiment The regiment was originally raised on the orders of Charles II, In 1695. By this time there was a growing need for a "Watch", to police the black trade of Cattle Smuggling in the Scottish Highlands and this may well be where the name came from.
  • Buccleuch

    Fit for a Duke Described by Wilson as a 'Fancy' pattern, taking inspiration from the works of Sir Walter Scott. Wilsons of Bannockburn a weaving firm founded c1770 near Stirling. The Pattern books are in the National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh. Copys of the Pattern books and letters in the Scottish Tartans Society archive.
  • Buchanan

    From Cotton Mills In their 1850 book 'The Clan and Family Tartans of Scotland' W and A Smith of Mauchline wrote: The pattern here given seems to be universally considered the genuine Buchanan Tartan and we know that it is worn by Archibald Buchanan Esq, of Catrinebank, Ayrshire, whose father's name is identified with one of the first cotton manufactories established in Scotland with Arkwright's improvements.'
  • Caledonia

    Fashion from Caledonia Also known as William Wilsons No.155. Popular in the eighteenth century this particular tartan appears in a number of guises. Romantic stories are told of its origin but in reality little is known (Gordon Teall, Scottish Tartans Society). Jamie Scarlett MBE asserts that Wilson's No 155 has never been named, and that Miss Margaret MacDougall was in error when she included it in Robert Bain's 'Clans and Tartans of Scotland' (1953) as Caledonia.
  • Cameron

    Clan Cameron The Clan Cameron has a recorded history from the fifteenth century, although unsubstantiated histories have its roots reaching back to the supposed first chief, Angus Cameron, living about the year 1000. They resided in the "Cameron Country" of Lochaber
  • Cameron of Erracht

    Clan Cameron Ewen Cameron of Lochiel took as his second wife Marjory MacKintosh. Their son Ewen was the first of what would become the Camerons of Erracht. This was in the early 16th century and by 1745, Donald Cameron, 7th of Erracht, was second in command of the Camerons at Glenfinnan when Prince Charles raised his standard.
  • Campbell

    Something to Smile About It was Sir Cailein Mor Campbell's grandfather Dugald on Lochawe who is said to have been the first given the nickname "Cam Beul" since he apparently had the engaging trait of talking out of one side of his mouth. Cam beul means curved mouth in the Gaelic. This Duncan was so much loved by his family that they took his nickname as their family name and held to it even beyond Argyll.
  • Campbell of Cawdor

    From Calder we Came The name "Cawdor" is the English pronunciation and spelling of the ancient and original name of Calder. In the early 19th century, Lord John Campbell of Calder was residing in England and changed the name of the castle, town and clan overnight so that it would match the Shakespearean designation (reference: Cawdor Historical Society).
  • Clark

    Clan Clark The name means a man of a religious order, and later a scholar. Clan Clerich, or Clark, was one of the old 17 tribes of Clan Chattan. The territory occupied by the Clan Chattan during its long history lies mainly in east Inverness-shire and stretches from Inverness in the north to Laggan in the south.
  • Colquhoun

    The High Road The name of Colquhoun is taken from an area of land around Kilpatrick. Since Sir Robert Kilpatrick married the Fair Maid of Luss, by Loch Lomond, in the 14th century the Colquhouns has been known as Colquhoun of Colquhoun and Luss.
  • Colquhoun Modern

     
  • Crawford Red

     
  • Cunningham

     
  • Davidson

    The Speyside Way  Clan Davidson, which has roots at least as far back as the 13th century, is believed to have originated in the valley of the Spey river in the Scottish Highlands. The modern-day Scottish towns of Kingussie, Newtonmore and Aviemore are located in the heart of ancient Clan Davidson lands.
  • Douglas

    The Speyside Way  Clan Davidson, which has roots at least as far back as the 13th century, is believed to have originated in the valley of the Spey river in the Scottish Highlands. The modern-day Scottish towns of Kingussie, Newtonmore and Aviemore are located in the heart of ancient Clan Davidson lands.
  • Elliot

    No Shrinking Violet  The Elliots were one of the most active, most powerful and most notorious of the Scottish Border clans. These days, Elliots can be found in almost every country in the world. 
  • Farquharson

    At home in Royal Deeside The chiefs of the Clan Farquharson trace their ancestry back to Farquhar, fourth son of Alexander "Ciar" Shaw of Rothiemurchus. The clan became known as the fighting Farquharsons due to their fierce reputation and they became strong supporters of the Stuarts. 
  • Ferguson

    A Clan with Many Branches Many families of the name were established throughout Scotland at an early date. In Perthshire there were the Fergusons of Dunfallandy and Balquhidder, in Aberdeenshire the families of Kilmundy and Pitfour, in Fife the Fergusons of Raith. 
  • Forbes

    A shortage of Wine! In 1529, Clan Forbes was involved in a feud with the citizens of Aberdeen, who withheld a sort of blackmail, a yearly tun of wine for the fishings of the Don. In July 1530 Arthur Forbes of Brux and his accomplacies attacked Aberdeen. 
  • Fraser

    Strawberries for the King! The name Fraser undoubtedly came from France. One story is that the progenitor of the Frasers was a Frenchman named Julius de Berry who in 916, regaled the King of France with dishes of ripe strawberries. In consequence, he received a royal command to change his name to Fraise, and to adopt three stalked strawberries for his family arms. 
  • Gordon

    A Welcome Addition Of Norman descent, the Gordon's were one of many families welcomed into his kingdom by King David I of Scotland and settled in the village and estates of Gordon, near Kelso. Because the Gordon family did not start as a “clan”, it is often referred to as the House of Gordon. 
  • Gordon (Dress)

    A Welcome Addition Of Norman descent, the Gordon's were one of many families welcomed into his kingdom by King David I of Scotland and settled in the village and estates of Gordon, near Kelso. Because the Gordon family did not start as a “clan”, it is often referred to as the House of Gordon. 
  • Graham of Menteith

    Caledonian Chief There is a legend that says the Antonine Wall was broken by Greme, a great Caledonian chief, as he drove the Roman legions out of his country. This, unfortunately, might never be proven. The Grahams of Menteith are an important branch of Clan Graham. 
  • Grant

    Sheriff of Inverness The earliest recordings of Grants in Scotland are from the mid-thirteenth century, and describe the acquisition of Stratherrick land through the marriage of a Grant to Sir John Bisset’s daughter Mary. One of their two children was Sir Laurence le Grand, who became the Sheriff of Inverness. The family supported Robert the Bruce towards his acquisition of the Scottish crown. 
  • Grey Granite

    The Granite City Aberdeen has many nicknames but The Silver City and the Granite city come from the granite rock that was used to build much of the city. The Grey Granite tartan is a celebration of the city perhaps best known in the song 'The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen'.. 
  • Gunn

    From Viking Earls Descended from the viking Earls of Orkney and the ancient Celts of Caithness, the Clan Gunn of today is ably headed by Commander Iain A Gunn of Banniskirk, and its kinsfolk thrive throughout the world.. 
  • Hamilton

    Noble Men The family is descended from Walter fitz Gilbert of Cadzow, an Anglo-Norman comrade of Robert the Bruce, and rose in power to be the leading noble family in Scotland, second only to the royal House of Stewart, to whom they were closely related. Members of the family have held a number of titles in the peerages of both Scotland and Great Britain, the principal title being Duke of Hamilton. 
  • Hay (Ancient)

     
  • Holyrood (Modern)

     
  • Hume

     
  • Hunter (Modern)

     
  • Isle of Skye

     
  • Lindsay (Modern)

     
  • Macbeth (Ancient)

     
  • Macbeth (Modern)

     
  • Macduff Hunting

     
  • Macfie

     
  • MacGregor

     
  • MacIntyre

     
  • MacKenzie (Dress)

     
  • MacKenzie (Modern)

     
  • MacKinnon (Modern)

     
  • MacLaren

     
  • MacLean (Modern)

     
  • MacLean of Duart

     
  • MacLeod (M) Hunting

     
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A Short History of Tartan

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 TARTAN

Murdoch MaLean