[MR] Various Sources: Oldest Scottish Tartan

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Mon Jan 22 09:39:18 PST 2024

Noble Friends, Especially Fellow Scots,

Today Scotland is buzzing with the news that the "Glen Affric tartan" has
been scientifically tested with a likely date sometime in the 16th century.
The cloth, which was found in a peat bog some 40 years ago, is now being
hailed as the oldest sample of tartan in Scotland.

The Scottish Tartan Authority, which has had custody of the tartan, paid to
have the cloth scientifically tested. The tests not only determined the
tartan's likely age, but were able to analyse the dyes. The sett (or
pattern) of the tartan is chiefly yellow, crossed green, red and brown
lines. House of Edgar, one of the major tartan and kilt suppliers, has now
recreated the cloth on a modern loom.

The Glen Affric tartan will have a place of honor at the V&A
Dundee's exhibition "Tartan", which will open 1 April.

Keep in mind that the Glen Affric tartan is NOT a kilt. It is rather a
*plaid*, which simply refers to a piece of cloth (and this is a rather
small one). When the *plaid* is decorated (as is the GA tartan) it is
sometimes called a *breccan*. While the history is quite misty, Highland
Scots are believed to have simply wrapped their upper bodies in wool or
linen *plaids* similar to the Irish *brat*. The Scottish kilt, or belted
*plaid*, is specifically a large piece of cloth that is wrapped around the
loins, hangs to the knees, and BELTED AT THE WAIST. The kilt was not
documented until 1594, though it may have been worn this way somewhat

So while not a Scottish kilt, it is a very important example in the
evolution of the garment that Scots (and we Scottish descendants) love so

The report in the Guardian is typical of the several versions if found of
this story:

My thanks to Lady Sophie Griefenclau for calling this story to my
attention. It has so far not been picked up by BBC Scotland, which is my
usual source for Scottish history news.

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆
Continuing a crusade to keep Merry Rose relevant and in business.

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