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District Tartans




In most cases these probably preceded clan tartans. Martin Martin remarked in A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland, circa 1695, that it was possible to guess the place of a man's residence from the sight of his plaid. This idea was nurtured by William Wilson & Son of Bannockburn who, having one or two patterns that had some local affinities, named a range of their new patterns after towns, cities and districts.

As a result a range of District Tartans have grown up, which can be worn by who have an association with a particular district irrespective of their clan connections. The tartan on the right is the Mull or Glen Lyon District Tartan and comes from Wilson's Pattern Book circa 1819.


These sorts of tartan continue to mature: what were trade tartans twenty or more years ago with a territorial designation have become accepted as tartans for that area.

Towns, District and Regional Councils are have been commissioning tartans for promotions and merchandising which are firstly corporate tartans but are also district tartans. This is how tartan remains a growing design medium where what is good is based upon the past associations of a district or community, a District Tartan often having elements of clan designs and other elements relevant to that area.