One of the questions we regularly receive is; ‘How do we buy the official Carruthers tartan’? Carruthers have never had a tartan of its own until one was registered in our name recently.
In fact, there is no evidence that any Scottish clan or family had a tartan assigned to their name prior to the early 1800’s and the Grand Ball in Edinburgh of George the IV in 1822 which made Scottishness and tartan in vogue. This included Highland, Lowland or Border clans and families.
Carruthers, whose Chief had died in 1809, were not invited, and the Chiefship lay dormant until 2019, when the 4 x great grandson of the last Chief was confirmed.
The Red Carruthers tartan was registered in 2017 with the Scottish Register of Tartans, this was the first ever registered/recorded against our name in our full and rich history. The registrant was Dr George Carruthers of Fife, Scotland who commissioned Brian Wilton MBE to design a tartan that represented our heritage. He felt that, while moving towards the first Carruthers chief since the death of John Carruthers 12th of Holmains, in 1809, that we should have our own visual identity through a Carruthers tartan, which reflected our place in Border and Scottish history.
Because it was designed by us, we were able to choose the colours and the meanings behind them. The first part of the commission was to recognise our tradiotional links with the House of Bruce. The second was to ensure it was distinct in coloration and portayed through its weave, who and what Carruthers were.
The meanings of the colours are:
- The green, purple and lilac represents the lands of our family’s origins in Annandale, Dumfriesshire, South West Scotland.
- The reds, represents the blood we spilt throughout history for our country, our lands and our family, both at home and abroad.
- Finally, but no less important, the subtle white stripe is in recognition of our family’s historic support for the Jacobite cause and the Royal House of Stuart.
Carruthers’ relationship with Bruce
Like other armigerous (chiefless) clans and families prior to the early 1800’s, Carruthers had been traditionally listed as a sept under Bruce and although proud of the link, we had always been a clan and family in our own right with a chief/heidsman of our own.
Although we wore the Bruce tartan with pride, it was never going to be ours, whether called; ancient, modern, weathered or otherwise, irrelevent who wove it or where it was bought. Therefore, the wearing of the Bruce tartan, which is registered to their name whatever the prefix or suffix, was always going to define the wearer as being a Bruce and not a Carruthers.
Bruce have 14 tartans officially registered to their name on the Scottish Register of Tartans. These include personal and district tartans and of course the most common clan/family tartans they use.
In particular and on their website, they have highlighted four of them: (Modern )Bruce Modern, (Ancient) Bruce Ancient, (Weathered)Bruce Weathered and (Kinnaird) Bruce of Kinnaird as being their traditional choice. This statement in itself finally puts to bed the concept that the Ancient Bruce is in some shape or form owned by Carruthers or was gifted to them, as it simply was not.
The colours of these tartans can and do vary depending on the thread palette of the weavers, yet because of their distinct thread count and sett, they remain the same tartan with the same ‘DNA’. As tartans are registered legally to a clan/family, they do not simply ‘give one away’ and only the Chief, in this case the Earl of Elgin, would have the right to do so, which to date has not occurred.
Accepting that we have traditionally been linked to Bruce as a sept, prior to finding the senior of our line, a conversation regarding our goal was held with Charles, Lord Bruce, eldest son and heir to the Earl of Elgin at their ancestral home of Broomhall House, in Fife. He was quite happy that we were following the correct path from armigerous to official clan recognition, through the confirmation of our own Clan Chief by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, and was supportive of the prospect.
In 2019, after his confirmation by the Lord Lyon as Chief of the Name and Arms of Carruthers, Peter Carruthers of Holmains officially adopted the Red Carruthers tartan as the clan/family tartan of Carruthers and it was changed to reflect that official status on the register.
Based on this confirmation, the International Family of Bruce, have since made this statement regarding the list of traditional Bruce septs and we thank them for their continued support:-
Including Bruce Septs
Carlisle, Carruthers**, Crosby, Randolph, Stenhouse
(** Carruthers has been a traditional Bruce sept, but now has its own chief and is its own clan. See http://www.clancarrutherssociety.org)
Weavers of Carruthers Tartan: the House of Edgar
Video here: https://vimeo.com/464955628
The tartan has been woven by the House of Edgar, in Perth, Scotland since 2017, but until now suppliers and the public had to go through the Society. However, although their may be a lag time for this to be reflected on their website, this has just changed and the weavers have kindly agreed to hold a supply of it for sale directly to kiltmakers and/or the public.
The House of Edgar is one of the oldest remaining family run and independent weavers in Scotland. They have been weaving the finest tartan since 1783, 37 years after the Battle of Culloden.
They are recognised as the world leader in the Highland and Celtic Wear markets offering an excellent value for money service. To provide the speedy delivery for which they are renowned, they stock over 1000 Clan, District and Irish County tartans in a variety of weights and compositions, together with a range of supporting products. These include a wide selection of highland dress items such as jackets, ties and scarves.
Their tartans are made from 100% Scottish wool, using in-house design expertise, traditional and bespoke manufacturing techniques and all to provide the finest quality Scottish fabrics to their customers.
CLAN CARRUTHERS PREFERRED KILTMAKER LIST
So you want a kilt, dress or trews?
- Firstly, Carruthers tartan can only be purchased through the House of Edgar.
- Find a kiltmaker of repute and your choice.
- Have them measure you for your chosen piece, remembering that if a kilt, Carruthers flashes can be lovely accessory for the socks.
- Have the makers contact the House of Edgar to buy the required length of material.
- Await the manufacture of the garment and attend a fitting.
- Wear with pride.
Although, the tartan is available directly from the House of Edgar in Scotland to all of our name and derivations of the same through any kiltmaker, listed below are our preferred kiltmakers:-
5 Church Crescent, Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, DG1 1DF
Tel: 01387 250250
*Geoffrey (Tailor) Kiltmaker
59 High Street, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1SR
Tel: 0131 557 0256
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
3389 Schuylkill Rd, spring City PA 19475
Tel: 601-948-4110 800-368-8633
1275 Buford Hwt, Unit 105, Sawanee, GA 30024, USA
Tel: (678) 652-3559/373-337 Toll Free: (877) 411-KLT(5458)
103-1475 Fairview Road, Penticton, British Columbia, V2A7W5, Canada.
*Scottish Highland Kilts and Costumes
28 Comstock Way, Woodvale, Perth, WA 6026, AU
Tel: 0412 511 639
Measuring for a kilt etc
The correct measurements is important for a kilt to hang right, this drawing from the kilt society can help get a rough idea, however it is always better if you can, to have the kiltmaker measure you up.
This is the advice from one of our recommended Scottish outlets offered on their website ie Geoffrey (Tailor) Kiltmaker, of Edinburgh:
When measuring, please stand straight with your feet together. It’s best to have someone else take these measurements for you while you look straight ahead. We will come back to you with any queries regarding measurements before processing your order, to make sure we get it just right.
Measuring for a Gent’s traditional kilt
Take this firmly, around the actual waist (belly button height). (d)
More comfortably, around the widest part of the hips (buttocks). (e)
From 2″ above the actual waist (just below the rib cage) to the top of the knee cap. If you prefer to wear the kilt longer or shorter, please advise this when ordering. (g)
This measurement is very important!
Measuring for Boys’ kilts
Should be taken comfortably, where you want the kilt to sit.
Should be taken from the waist level, to the top of the knee cap.
Please specify if a hem is required for growth in a child’s kilt when ordering.
Measuring for Ladies’ kilts and kilted skirts.
Take this comfortably where you want the top of the kilt to sit.
Comfortably around the widest part of the hips – this could be around the tummy, bum or thighs, but it must be around the widest part. Please advise where this measurement has been taken when ordering.
From the waist level to where required. There are no hard and fast rules for ladies and children’s kilt lengths – this is more a matter of choice.
Measuring for Kilt jackets both gent’s & boys
As a guide to the measurements below, please also specify your regular jacket size (if known) when purchasing “off the peg”.
It’s best to wear a suit jacket if possible when measuring, for all measurements below EXCEPT the chest and waist measurements. These should be taken over a shirt or t-shirt.
Have someone stand behind you, and place the tape measure around your chest (under your arms).
Take comfortably around the actual waist (belly button height).
From the nape of the neck (seam under the collar), to the base of the spine… in line with your hip measurement.
With your arm down at your side, measure from the crown (shoulder seam) straight down to the edge of the cuff. Bear in mind you would normally show an inch or so of shirt cuff with a dress jacket.
This measurement is very important!
Measuring for Trousers and Trews
Standard style, or high waisted trews with fishtail back.
Take measurement comfortably around the waist.
As kilt seat.
Width of bottoms:
All the way around.
Zip or buttons.
Pleats or no pleats.
Buttons for Braces:
Yes or no.