top of page


To begin with I must apologize for this page. It is a myth buster! Many people think the clan tartan goes way back in history, and that each clan has a distinctive tartan for differentiation in battle. (Much the same way armies have uniforms). This is just not true.


Instead we find that early tartans were simple checks of few colors. Weavers used local materials from plants, roots, berries, and trees. Therefore, the pattern of the weave identified the choices and availabilities of a weaver, rather than being rigidly affixed to any one clan. Although the weaver may have belonged to a clan, there was not a regulated assignment of tartans to clans.

The Battle of Culloden, in 1745, was the last uprising of the Scots, and a decisive victory for England. The subsequent Dress Act of 1746 made wearing of highland dress, including any tartan, kilts and so on, illegal in Scotland.

In 1822 King George IV visited Edinburgh and suggested that people attending official functions should wear their respective tartans. By that time the original patterns were long-ago lost, no one was alive to remember. So weavers and tailors needed to  invent clan tartans at that time. 

The notion of a 'clan tartan'  was largely advanced by Queen Victoria ( ruled 1837 to 1901). Victoria enjoyed spending time in Scotland and she decided to romanticize the highland history. This fashionableness and romanticism of all things Scottish included kilts and tartans which led to the boom of the Scottish tweed industry and the standardization of tartans according to clan.


With the invention of chemical dyes in the mid-1800's, many colours could be used that were just not available earlier. This opened the way to the creation of many additional tartans.


The Scottish Register of Tartans came into being in February 2009, to provide a single, independent register   which promotes and preserves information about historic and contemporary tartans. The Register is administered by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) with advice from the Court of the Lord Lyon and representatives of the Scottish tartan industry. 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.

By the way: 'Plaid' means a flat, wide cloth, from the Scottish Gaelic "plaide" meaning 'blanket'. It has nothing to do with the pattern of the weave, and is not a synonym for tartan.

Other Murray tartans include: Elibank, Ochtertyne, Mungo, and Dunmore

Moray Artifact

Murray Family

Murray 2 Registered 1831

Murray of Atholl

Murray of Tullibardine

bottom of page