21/02/2018
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

What tartan can I wear?

241afe8f-5e00-4d1f-ba6e-ae46e842622b

Find out which tartan you can wear and discover which tartan is linked to your family name or the region where your ancestors lived.

Millions of people around the world are proud to wear tartan – which, according to the 2008 Scottish Register of Tartans Act is ‘a design which is capable of being woven consisting of two or more alternating coloured stripes which combine vertically and horizontally to form a repeated chequered pattern’.

Tartan is perhaps best known when worn as a kilt, but can feature on many other items including ties, hats, blankets and shawls.

What tartan can I wear?

There are no set rules about who can wear what tartan but traditionally, people look for a tartan associated either with the name of their clan, or the tartan associated with the region where their ancestors lived. There is also a range of tartans which can be worn by those without a family connection to a clan or sept.

Just a few tartans are classed as restricted wear, for example the Balmoral tartan which can only be worn by members of the British Royal Family, and also several tartans restricted to certain clan members only.

Which tartan is associated with my clan?

To find out whether your surname or clan has a tartan associated with it, visit the website of the Scottish Register of Tartans. Simply enter your clan or surname into the ‘quick tartan search box’ on the top right and if there’s a match, you’ll be taken to a page which shows the tartan and details including the date of registration and the tartan designer where applicable. You can also use the A-Z guide to browse the tartans.

MORE: When is tartan day?

The Scottish Register of Tartans also registers new tartans, including those created for individuals, schools, groups and other organisations. Prior to the establishment of the Register, tartans were recorded by the Scottish Tartans Society, the Scottish Tartans World Register and the Scottish Tartans Authority.

The Stewart Tartan

One of the best known tartans is the Royal Stewart tartan, which is associated with the Royal House of Stewart, which reigned from 1316 (Robert II of Scots) to 1714 (Queen Anne).

This tartan can be worn by anyone and it is also the personal tartan of the current queen. Others who wear the Royal Stewart tartan include the Scots Guard, the Black Watch and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

Despite its royal associations, the Royal Stewart Tartan can be worn by anyone, a status confirmed by the Scottish Register of Tartans, who state: ‘In the same way that clansmen wear the tartan of their chief, it is appropriate for all subjects of the Queen to wear the Royal Stewart tartan’.

FURTHER READING

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Tartan by I Zaczek and Dr C Phillips

QUICK LINK: History Scotland's Highland Clans digital guide

 

Mary Queen of Scots magazine

Back to "Societies and Clans" Category

21/02/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Golfer Tom Morris was born - On this day in history

Scottish golfer 'Old Tom Morris' was born on 16 June 1821.


Poet Thomas Campbell died - On this day in history

Poet Thomas Campbell died in Boulogne, France on 15 June 1844.


Television pioneer John Logie Baird died - On this day in history

John Logie Baird, the man who created the world's first successful publicly demonstrated television, died on ...


Scientist James Clerk Maxwell was born - On this day in history

Scientist James Clerk Maxwell was born on 13 June 1831. ...


Other Articles

Astronomer David Gill was born - On this day in history

Astronomer Sir David Gill was born on 12 June 1843.


Army@TheFringe returns to Edinburgh for 2019

Army@TheFringe is returning to Edinburgh for a third year with another programme of shows that explore life ...


Site of biggest ever meteorite collision in the UK discovered

Scientists believe they have discovered the site of the biggest meteorite impact ever to hit the British ...


300 year-old musket ball and mortar shell from the Battle of Glenshiel discovered by archaeologists.

A team of archaeologists working at the scene of Scotland’s ‘forgotten’ Jacobite rising have uncovered the ...