Douglas tartans


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The following information is drawn from the Scottish Register of Tartans, compiled by the Keeper of the Register and is acknowledged as Crown copyright.


Hunting tartan Douglas alternative threadcount Douglas (WCWM width= Ancient Dress Douglas
Douglas Hunting, or 148 Douglas
alternative threadcount
Douglas (WCWM) Ancient Dress Douglas
Douglas Ancient Red Douglas of Roxburgh Variation - Trade sett Douglas (Brown)
Douglas Ancient Red Douglas of Roxburgh Variation - Trade sett Douglas (Brown)
Douglas, Black Douglas, Green (Wilsons) Douglas, Grey (Vestiarium Scoticum) Douglas, William (Personal)
Douglas, Black Douglas, Green
Douglas, Grey
(Vestiarium Scoticum)
Douglas, William
Unknown Douglas tartan Douglas - 'weathered' Ancient Dress Tartan Regimental
Unidentfied Douglas - 'weathered' Ancient Dress Tartan Regimental
Douglas The 'Ancient' Douglas tartan
Douglas 'Ancient' Douglas

Tartan is associated the world over with the kilt, the national dress of Scotland, and the history of both goes hand in hand. Tartan is a material that can be woven from many colours, and originally it was a sort of 'uniform', the distinguishing feature of the many clans in the Highlands and islands of Scotland. Although there are various forms of tartan or clan 'uniforms', so to speak, throughout the world, the origins of the clans of Scotland and their distinctive tartan dress can be traced as far back as the middle of the 5th Century to Ireland. And to this day, these origins are still wrapped in debate and controversy.

Scottish Register of Tartans database contains information on thousands of tartans, which can be freely searched. It includes all tartans registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans since its introduction on 5 February 2009. The database also incorporates tartans formerly recorded by the Scottish Tartans Society (STS), the Scottish Tartans Authority (STA) and/or the Scottish Tartans World Register (STWR).

Regimental Tartans
Douglas - Worn by the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles 26th & 90th Foot). The first Colonel of the Regiment was called Graham which would have been their preferred choice of Tartan but was not sanctioned.

Also worn by:
  • Witwatersrand Rifles, South West Africa
  • Natal Mounted Rifles (South Africa)
  • Royal Auxillary Air Force 602 Sqn (Glasgow) - Douglas Grey
  • Royal Auxillary Air Force 603 Sqn (Edinburgh) - Douglas Grey
  • 7th Royal Gurkha Rifles

  • Monashee Douglas
    Contributed by Mary Thurber

    The Shuswap Pipes ‘n Drums Tartan
    (A true story as far as we know)

    In the 1980s the Shuswap Pipes ‘n Drums wore the Macgregor tartan. As the kilts were getting old we were thinking of a uniform upgrade. One day—probably a Burns supper, run at the time by the late John Rodger—Hilma Martens, our Pipe Major?? wore an evening dress that was made from a “faux” tartan, which she was told was based on the Douglas tartan. (Possibly the Douglas Ancient Red tartan with a few additions ). The band members liked it so much we selected it as our band tartan.

    Hilma sent a sample to the West Coast Woolen Mills (WCWM) and they spun up a custom order of a couple bolts of medium weight tartan. Hilma made all the original kilts, and Louisa Dubasov (Fraser) later took over the task. Other than a slightly different shade of gray WCWM made no changes to the pattern that was submitted to them.

    Since as far as we knew the “tartan” didn’t have a name someone (Jim Wright most likely) came up with the idea of adding Monashee to the Douglas which was the supposed basic idea of the tartan. Monashee is a Gaelic word (“peaceful mountains” or “mountains of the peaceful spirit”) and since the Monashees are a prominent feature in the Shuswap and Revelstoke regions, hence, Monashee Douglas.

    We adopted the tartan sometime between 1990 and 1992.

    The following taken from an email with Mr Gordon Kirkbright,

    At WCWM we wove many tartans for the 'fashion trade' and gave them names, in many cases unrelated to any clan; this is one of those patterns.
    I cannot trace when it was first woven, though it was recorded by the Scottish Tartan Authority (under #4706) in 2002, as Douglas.

    Wearing the tartan
    I would like to include photographs of people wearing Douglas tartan. If you have a good photograph of someone wearing the tartan, please let me have a copy.  Clearly identify which tartan is being worn.  Click here to get in touch

    tartan William and Frances Red skirt tud o' war
    Two tartans Ready for the Ball A red skirt Tug o' war
    Kilt and dirk targe and broadsword Douglas with a sword
    Kilt and dirk Targe and sword Broadsword
    Three variations 2 kilts Douglas Navy
    Three variations A braw couple 'Douglas Navy' 
    An unofficial tartan rug
    from Australia
    Shuswap Pipes ‘n Drums
    North Shore Pipe Band,
    Boston, Massachusetts
    An early Douglas tartan weave This jacket and kilt were ordered c1854 by Francis Laura Spencer-Churchill, Countess of Dudley and later Duchess of Marlborough Possibly a 'weathered' weave?



    Contributed comment:
    •  There are several 'similar to' tartans that I have seen. Turnbull its based on Douglas of Roxburgh but the thread count differs slightly. Young tartan is based of the Douglas. US Air Force tartan would confuse many. And Moffat tartan was designed to be similar to Grey Douglas.

    The Duke wearing a Douglas tartan kilt  
    The Duke of Hamilton, as Lord Abernethy, was hereditary Bearer of the Crown of Scots in Parliament. He fulfilled the latter duty by carrying the crown before the Queen at the openings of the Scottish Parliament. Here, he is wearing the Grey Douglas tartan kilt.   The Royal Air Force has had pipers playing, at least unofficially, since its inception. Above is the earliest known RAF piper's uniform. The uniform is preserved by the Scottish United Services Museum in Edinburgh Castle. King George V granted permission for the RAF to wear Grey Douglas in 1937. Although never adopted by pipers in the RAF this tartan is still worn by 2622 Sqn Band today.




    Sources for this article include:
  • The Scottish Register of Tartans

  • Any contributions will be gratefully accepted



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    Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024