Many bagpipers can trace their ancestry back to one of the Scottish Clans; if you are one of these lucky few then you are probably aware of the rich history and tradition that these clans represent. The Scottish Clans were originally extended networks of families who had loyalties to a particular chief. Not every member of a Scottish clan is a direct descendent of the clan’s chief. Clan members would take on their chief’s surname as a sign of solidarity with the clan.
Clan names are usually associated with an area of Scotland where the clan lived. The clans lived off the land. Cattle and border disputes were among the most common causes of inter-clan unrest. The more powerful of the chiefs would sometimes expand territory which would lead to new members within a clan who formerly belonged to another clan or belonged to no clan at all. This interwoven clan history makes it difficult, but not impossible, to trace one’s clan lineage.
It is widely believed that each Scottish clan has its own tartan, but if you ask Highland historian and author Jean Munro, that is simply not true. According to Munro, “There may have been a district tartan for a particular area, made by people who would know how to weave. They probably did wear some sort of striped cloth, but it wouldn’t have belonged to a particular clan…The idea of a single tartan probably came from the time after Culloden in 1745, when only the army were allowed to wear it and the idea of a particular tartan for a particular regiment came about.” Today, those people who want to honor their Scottish heritage aren’t so worried about wearing the particular tartan of their particular clan; your Scottish pride will come across loud and clear with any Highland wear and you can find plenty of options for sale on our site.
The history of clans is complex and there is still much we don’t know. Historians believe that the first clans probably emerged in the 11th century but there isn’t much clarity as to the clan structure and lineage until the 13th and 14th centuries, so tracing your clan ancestry will probably only take you back to the 13th century.
As a company that sells bagpipe starter kits, pipe band uniforms, chanter reeds and many other bagpipe accessories, it’s always nice to remind our clients of the rich history associated with the magical instrument that we love so much. And don’t forget, we don’t just sell bagpipe supplies; you can also hire a bagpiper for your next event.