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Tartans of
an Strachan
Strachan (Modern Colours)

Modern Sett

Strachan (Ancient Colours)
Ancient Colours

Strachan (Weavers Colours) Tartan
Weavers Colours

Strachan (Reproduction Colours)
Reproduction Colours

Clan Strachan Tartans


The most appropriate tartan one should wear is that which is associated with your surname. If your surname is STRACHAN, or if you fondly associate yourself with Clan Strachan, you would subsequently wear the Strachan Family/Clan tartan.  


The Strachan Family/Clan Tartan


The tartan was designed by Tony Murray in 1987.  According to Kenneth Dalgliesh (Scottish World Tartan Society) it was first seen in 1999, and was registered in 2000.


Prior to 5 February 2009, there were four main public tartan registries each having this Strachan Clan tartan registered.  Today, the Scottish government's Register of Tartans has the Strachan tartan registered under STA ref#  2601. According to a D.C. Dalgliesh representative, "The colours and thread count of the tartan are the same, and is only varied between these four tartans by the tones of each colour."


The Ancient Sett uses vegetable dye, and this vegetable dye was used in plaids prior to Culloden. After the battle of Culloden, The Tartan and Dress Act of 1746 outlawed the tartan, and this was not repealed until 1782, nearly 36 years later.


In 1782, tartans woven used a chemical dye, which today are referred to as a Modern Sett. If you will notice, chemical dyes provide much deeper and vibrant colours.


The Strachan Modern Sett shown here is most popular, and as the name suggests, uses chemical dyes.


All Strachan tartans are sold online in the Clan Strachan eStore, and are fabricated in Scotland. Also, available are kilts, trews, dresses, skirts, sashes and other highland garb.


To view a larger image of the Strachan tartans shown here, simply click the image itself, and a new window will open.


Mar District Tartan  

Before 1987, most Strachan families wore the Mar District Tartan as a Sept of the Tribe of Mar. 


In 1296, the barons ‘de Strachan’ opposed Robert the Bruce, and were defeated and disinherited.  However, in 1345, Adam Strachan married the niece of the Earl of Mar, who was himself a cousin of King Robert II and received the lands of Glenkindie. 


It was only the House of Glenkindie who were vassals of the Earl of Mar.  The Strachan Houses of Thornton, Carmyllie, Lenturk,  Knock, and the House of Monycabbock, Tullimaddin & Cray were all of noble stock established at the same time; and none of whom pledged fealty to the Earl of Mar.


According to "The Romantic Myth of Scottish Clan Septs", by John Duncan of Sketraw, as the 'entire clan' did not pledge fealty to the Earl of Mar, it is inappropriate from a historical perspective to recognize a Sept relationship.  According to Sketraw, "The concept of ‘sept’ names is itself one of some contention with many misconceptions and a generally exaggerated romanticisation brought about, in the main, by Victorian rediscovery." 


Be that as it may, the Strachan surname was (and is still today) popularly associated with Tribe of Mar in Scotland as a Sept.  As a result many Strachans wear the Mar District Tartan.


The Mar District Tartan would not be recommended for those members of the Strachan Clan just purchasing a tartan, because the Strachan Family Tartan is “the” tartan directly associated with our surname.


The Tribe of Mar District tartan is not normally carried in stock, and may take several months for the Mills in Scotland to produce.




District Tartans


In most cases District tartans probably preceded clan tartans. 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 above is the Deeside District Tartan and was designed by Fenton Wynes in 1963.


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 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.


Traditionally where there is not an association to the surname, one would wear the tartan appropriate to the district from which the family originated.

Like the Mar District Tartan, the Deeside District tartan would not be recommended for those of the Strachan surname just purchasing a tartan as it is not the tartan associated with our surname. 


The Deeside District tartan is not very popular, and may take well over a month for the Mills in Scotland to produce.

District Tartan Sources:, and



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