Clan Carruthers

Clan Carruthers: When is a Clan Tartan not a Clan Tartan?

When is a Clan Tartan not a Clan Tartan

Currently Carruthers have two tartans of their own, one private and one open for use by all Carruthers. The latter is the official tartan of the Clan Carruthers Society-International. But there is a third, which traditionally Carruthers have worn, with permission of the Family of Bruce, for many years as a sept of that family. However, wearing of a tartan does not give ownership rights over it and although Carruthers may wear the Bruce tartan, it is definitely not ours. From left to right is the Bruce (Chief/Clan) Tartan we have all worn, next to it is the the Red Carruthers and on the right, the Blue Carruthers, a personal tartan of the Society Convenor.

A tartan is therefore defined by its sett e.g. its thread count and its colours and it is through this process that tartans are legally patented, registered and recognised. The numbers next to the tartans above, are used by the Scottish Register of Tartans (STR), for cross-reference purposes. We accept that through the years commercial interests have superseded protocol and our crest, which is for another blog, is incorrectly used over the Bruce tartan thus leading to some ill-informed individuals to claim that it is a Carruthers Tartan.

Again although there are those who suggest that Tartan Register was destroyed in 2003, which may simply be to support this claim, this remains a total fallacy. In order to bring all tartan registration together, as part of the Scottish heritage, the 2008 Act of the Scottish Parliament saw the formation of the Scottish Tartan Register. This is an official government agency, part of the National Records of Scotland with strong links to the Court of the Lord Lyon. the Register brought all Tartans from all previous privately run authorities under one Scottish governmental registration system and quality control.

The tartan we are used to wearing is only one of the 14 tartans legally registered and patented to Bruce, or individual members of it. In all Scottish clans and families, the tartan is part of their individual visual signature and guarded with passion. This is no different with the family of Bruce, nor their Chiefly tartan.

Carruthers, albeit with evidence clearly showing we are a clan in our own right, were included as a sept of Bruce during the rise of Scottish popularism in the late 19thand early 20thcentury. This was initiated, we believe, through the support Carruthers has given to Bruce throughout history and we are further aware that septs increased the clan ‘population’ and thus its commercial viability. As a clan we are currently armigerous, our last chief through the Mouswald line was killed in 1548 at which point the Mouswald line ceased and the chiefly rights were handed over to Holmains. The last Chief of Holmains was John 12th of that name and 8th Baron, he died in 1807. Howeverr, currently information is with the Lord Lyon with regards a direct descendant of Holmains matriculating the chiefly Arms and being legally recognised as our Clan Chief in Scottish law.

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Red Carruthers Tartan

Simply put, although Carruthers now has its own tartan, we may still wear Bruce.  However making claims that we own the Bruce tartan is still fraudulent and also offensive to the House of Bruce, irrelevant of what prefix is used: ancient, old, hunting, modern, dress or anything else.  In fact, according to the information on the ‘Register’, the Bruce tartan we all know and love is allegedly based on a weavers chart dating as far back as 1571. This is according to the Earl of Elgin, head of the family Bruce.  He further suggests that specimen of cloth, as seen above, was in the possession of the Cumming-Bruce of Dumphill, in the mid 19thcentury and came into keeping of the Earl of Elgin’s family about that time. This was after the marriage of the 8thEarl and Mary Cumming-Bruce (heiress of Dumphail and Kinnaird).

For this reason and to individualise who we were, we registered the Red Carruthers, woven by the House of Edgar in Perth, Scotland for the use of every member of the clan to use, if they so wish.

Carruthers Shields 2
Oldest (L) to Newest (R) Carruthers Arms

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