A PLOWMAN TARTAN?
By Stephen J F Plowman TD FSA Scot
Well, yes. In late 2004 I participated in some discussions at the Heraldry Society of Scotland’s (HSS) Internet forum on the topic of tartan. Whilst not strictly associated with heraldry it was very instructive. One contributor mentioned that there were a number of tartans, designed in the early 19th century, that were not used. These were mainly designed by Wilson’s of Bannockburn as possible tartans for the military but were never taken up. They are listed in the Scottish Tartan Authority’s database but are not being used. One member of the HSS had “adopted” a tartan for modern use. The tartan kept its original entry in the database but was cross-referred to the new adopted entry.
I was rather inspired by the idea of “reviving” an old tartan. I joined the STA and started to look at old tartans and the history & making of tartan in general. The website also had a link to an online programme that allows people to design their own tartan. My search for an old tartan came upon an “Unidentified South Uist” ITI 3028. The design was thought to date from pre 1730 and was unusual because it was asymmetrical and therefore did not repeat around its pivots (see explanation of pivots etc). However, I had a play around with the online designer and it produced a symmetrical version. Upon reflection I rather preferred the symmetrical design to the asymmetrical one. After discussions with Brian Wilton of the STA I opted to record the symmetrical design as a new tartan albeit based on an old one. Brian tidied up the thread count to produce ITI 6523. Brian’s comments on registering the symmetrical version were:
The next step after designing a tartan is to get it woven. I was not in the financial position to get around 10 yards woven by a commercial weaver. However, I found Molly V. Manaugh’s website. Based in Alaska, she weaves “small” orders and I had two samplers woven in cotton. With “evidence” of production I was able to get the tartan “noted”, but not registered, with the Scottish Tartan World Register STWR 3066.
I did discuss the idea of a Hunting Plowman tartan with Brian Wilson. He swapped around the Red and Green threads and sent me an image; however, we did not take the idea any further.
When I first had the tartan recorded at the STA & STWR it was with the restriction that it was for the use of my family and me. However, if anyone named Plowman, Ploughman or Plewman should wish to wear the Plowman tartan please contact me and we’ll work out any necessary permissions any weaver may require.