The Scottish Register of Tartans was established by an act of the Scottish Parliament in November 2008, following a Member’s Bill submitted by Jamie McGrigor MSP in February 2007. The full text of the Scottish Register of Tartans Act 2008 is available to read online.
Members of the Scottish Parliament voted to establish a single, independent Scottish register of tartans which promotes and preserves information about historic and contemporary tartans from Scotland and throughout the world.
The Register was launched on 5 February 2009 and the first tartan to be registered on that day was the Scottish Register of Tartans’ Tartan (STR #10000).
The Register is administered by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) with advice from the Court of the Lord Lyon and representatives of the Scottish tartan industry. The Keeper of the Records of Scotland and Registrar General for Scotland is also the Keeper of the Scottish Register of Tartans.
Prior to the establishment of the Register, tartans were recorded by the Scottish Tartans Society, the Scottish Tartans World Register and the Scottish Tartans Authority.
The Register 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).
The National Records of Scotland worked with the STA and the STWR to amalgamate their former databases into a single dataset for the Register. The resulting database is still being checked. Users are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org if they discover any inaccuracies or discrepancies.
It should be noted that the STA and the STWR applied different criteria for registration. Not all tartans recognised by one organisation were recognised by the other and vice versa. Notes or background information made available for pre-existing tartans may derive from a variety of external sources. Every effort is being made to check and validate this information; however it is acknowledged that inaccuracies or lack of clarity may still exist in some of the records. The National Records of Scotland will continue to work with its tartan industry partners over the coming years to improve this information.
All tartans registered since 5 February 2009 comply with the criteria set out in the Scottish Register of Tartans Act 2008.
The National Records of Scotland is responsible for administering and running the Scottish Register of Tartans.
Documents relating to the history of tartan held in the National Records of Scotland
Find out more about the National Records of Scotland.