"Tartan" is a generic term referring to the multicolored checked and striped cloth that has become one of the best-known symbols of Scotland. When speaking of a "Clan tartan" what is typically meant is the "sett" of that tartan. A sett is a unique tartan "pattern" of color blocks and lines. A Clan may have one or more setts for itself, some differentiated as "dress" or "hunting", usually indicating when it should be worn (such as for formal dress or evening affairs, or for daywear occasions, and so forth), and some setts for sub-groups or families within a Clan. Tartans generally identify a region, a clan, or an organization or company. Thus, if you encounter someone wearing the tartan of the Clan Grant, you can be reasonably assured that the person wearing that tartan belongs to the Clan Grant or identifies with the organization.

To confuse things even further, tartan "setts" come in a variety of "colors". The two most common color schemes are "Modern" and "Ancient". The "Ancient" colors are supposed to represent the sett as it would have looked using the old vegetable dyes from the 18th century (or earlier). Typically the "Ancient" colors will show the sett better - with better clarity - since it lightens the colors. The "Modern" colors represent the sett as colored using the strong, modern dyes currently available to the mills that produce tartans.

"Hunting" tartans supposedly developed as alternate tartan setts for the clans, with darker colors, and worn while "hunting" because it acted as a better camouflage outdoors (the belief being that the standard or "dress" tartan setts, with brighter colors, would scare off their quarry).



Modern Clan Grant Tartans

The Clan Grant Dress Tartan

The dress tartan of the Clan Grant in the "Ancient Colors" is designated the official sett for Clan Grant by our current Chief, Sir James Grant. Originally documented in James Grant's book of tartans in 1886, the tartan typically has a more "orange-ish" red, and a lighter green and shows the pattern of the sett better in these colors.

The Clan Grant Hunting Tartan

The "Black Watch" sett in the Ancient Colors is known as the Grant Hunting tartan. This is the official Hunting Tartan approved for Clan Grant by our Chief, Sir James Grant. This tartan was the second tartan adopted by the Clan Grant no later than the late 1720s.

The Strathspey District Tartan

First documented in 1795, the tartan is a modification of the Clan Grant Hunting Tartan. This district tartan is associated with Strathspey, the ancestral land of the Clan Grant, and is worn regularly by the Chief as his informal, or undress, tartan.

Old Grant - The "Forgotten" Tartan

The fourth of the pre-Victorian era tartans associated with the Clan Grant was designated simply "Grant Tartan" and recorded in the 1819 Key Pattern Book. This tartan is similar to the Hunting Grant sett, but had a thin, yellow over-stripe flanked on each side by a thin red stripe. Although the tartan has been neglected by the Clan Grant for the past few generations, and all but forgotten by the Clan Grant Societies, at least one Grant still remembers (see photo).

The Red Grant Tartan

The Red Grant tartan was the preferred dress tartan of our late Chief, Sir Patrick Grant. Still commonly worn in the United States, the tartan is now regarded as a historical tartan by the Clan Grant.

Grant of Achnarrow - The Ladies' Grant Tartan

While not a true Clan Grant tartan, the Grant of Achnarrow tartan seems to be favored by many of the Grant women as a historical tartan that will unofficially identify them as Grant women. Originally attributed to a Miss Grant of Achnarrow Farm (about 10 miles east of Grantown-on-Spey) in the 1780s, the true origin of the tartan within the Grant lands is not known with any certainty. The tartan has a white background typical of ladies' tartans with a sett pattern made up of red, green, and navy blue lines. The tartan is currently sold by Locharron Mills of Scotland.


The Wearing of Highland Dress

The Tartans

The 1886 Grant tartan
The sett recommended by our Chief for our dress tartan.

The Grant Hunting (Black Watch) tartan - "Ancient Colors".
The sett recommended by our Chief for our hunting tartan.

The Strathspey District Tartan - Ancient Colors
Worn by our Chief as an informal, or undress, tartan

The Old Grant Tartan

The Red Grant Tartan
Commonly worn in the United States as the dress tartan

Grant of Achnarrow

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