THE HISTORY OF TARTAN
All over the World, Tartan is immediately recognisable as a powerful symbol of Scottish people, their heritage and culture. It is colourful, emotional and joyful and is viewed with the skirl of the pipes, the sway of the kilt and the image of Highlanders fighting for their homes and country.
In previous centuries, the Celts were renown for their weaving skills and that combined with the Scottish clan system led to the wearing of the Tartan. While the Stuart Kings were on the throne relative calm was maintained in the Kingdom of Scotland. When James V11 lost his throne, and after the Act of Union ( 1707 ) when Scotland lost its’ Parliament and Independence, much of the resistance mover to the Highlands. Gaelic was the spoken word in the Highlands and Islands.
After two Jacobite Rebellions and finally, the Battle of Culloden ( 1746 ), Bonnie Prince Charlie was forced to retreat to France and the wrath of the British government was cruelly applied to the Highlands of Scotland. Mass clearances meant mass migration – hence a large number of expatriate Scots living abroad in many foreign lands. At this time, the wearing of Tartan was outlawed made a crime. Tartan and the clan system were on their way to extinction.
The growth of the British Empire required military soldiers with a strong reputation for toughness. Highland Regiments were re-formed for this reason, and Tartan and the clan system was brought back from obscurity. In 1822, George IV visited Edinburgh. The event was a magnificent affair, and the Highland Clans were made the centrepiece of the visit. The romantic image of Highlanders and the kilts and pipes were a huge success. This was further enhanced by Queen Victoria who developed a deep love of Scotland, and it’s people.
Modern development has seen tartan become increasingly popular, with kilts and tartans constantly in vogue. However, many traditionalists believe the kilt and tartan have become a tourist facet and the creation for modern tartan patterns.
For the majority of people, tartan is a “living“ entity and the essence of Scotland and its’ many Scots descendants, who live in many parts of the modern world. It is a celebration of a small nation on the world stage.
Join us and enjoy the Tartan Celebration.