Lindsay Tartan
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Lindsay Modern Tartan
Lindsay Weathered Tartan

Ronald Gerald Lindsay


The Lindsay Tartan

What Is  A Tartan?

The word, tartan, was derived by the historian Logan in the 19th century from the Gaelic tarstin or tarsuin, meaning 'across'.  The French had the word 'tiretaine' in the 13th century defining dyed cloth of scarlet colour. 

The defeat of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and the Scottish Jacobite forces on the moor of Culloden, near Inverness, on April 16, 1746, was the precursor to The Disarming Act of 1746.  This act not only banned the carrying of arms, but made it an offense, within that part of Great Britain called Scotland, on any pretext whatsoever, to wear or put on the clothes commonly called Highland clothes (that is to say) the Plaid, Philabeg, or littleKilt, Trowse, Should-belts, or any part whatsoever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no tartan or party-colored plaid or stuff shall be used for Great Coats or upper coats.  The punishment for anyone convicted on the evidence of one or more credible witness or witnesses was six months in jail for the first offense and transportation for seven years for the second.  The act against Highland dress was not repealed until 1782.  By that time the skills of dyeing and weaving the intricate tartan, if not wholly forgotten, had ceased to be a way of life.

Nonetheless, the tartan has become synonymous with Scotland and Scottish clans and families in particular.  They had patterns that were popular within certain districts of manufacture, relied on a limited range of color dyes and were made of the local coarser type of wool.  This has lead to the idea of district tartans being the original association, between the land, the community and its cloth.  Where there was a strong clan within a district, as was often the case in the highlands, then visitors from other areas might well have been recognized as of a clan from their tartan.   It is this concept of clan tartans that today predominates, but the use of tartan is yet richer.

 By the early 1800s, it was realized that the knowledge of tartans was being lost and, simultaneously, there was a romantic movement concerning Scotland's past. This lead to institutional and individual efforts to preserve tartan designs. Tartans were reconstructed from portraits, collected on pilgrimages, demanded from clan chiefs and recovered from weaver's notes.

 The weaving and tailoring industries were especially boosted by the visit to Edinburgh of George IV in 1822 and by Sir Walter Scott's statement, as the visit's manager, "Let every man wear his tartan".  Queen Victoria gave considerable encouragement thereafter, though this encouraged both fantasy and fact in the study of tartan.

 The significance of tartan as national dress, worn under various circumstances, created clan tartans for every "name", even those that previously had none.   These were often supplemented by hunting tartans of subdued character and dress tartans which were brighter.

 Where no clan tartan exists, families can and have developed new Family Tartans. Generally which tartan is worn is controlled by convention there not being a statute for its government. Disputes as to its use and production rely on the civil law of Copyright, Design Act and in rare cases Patents/Trademarks.

The Clan Lindsay Tartan

Although the highland dance industry has adopted many very beautiful and colorful modifications to the Lindsay plaid, there are only two official tartans for The Clan Lindsay.  They are the Modern and the Ancient or Weathered tartans.  The navigation bar on the left of this screen provides access to the pages showing representations of the two Lindsay tartans that are currently featured on this web site.

See The Scottish Register of Tartans