The title of these blogs is Unleash Your Inner Tartan, it being our belief that your tartan is a thread that links you to the past, a piece of your heritage that unites you with a wide and diverse group of people from around the world. Indeed, it has been the mission of these blogs to highlight some of the most interesting people to have worn a particular tartan and unlock their stories. Sometimes, however, the story can be found hidden in the tartan’s pattern itself.
Taylor Ancient Tartan
If your surname is Taylor, you might have had occasion to look upon a piece of Taylor Ancient tartan, if not then you really must have a look at the tartan in question. Right, now that the fabric is fully in your mind, we can continue. Taylor Ancient tartan is an exceptionally tasteful affair of greens, lilac blues, pinks and yellow with, curiously, two black stripes running through it. At first glance those stripes seem out of place, too stark against the more muted palette of the rest of the fabric but they are not there by mistake and the story behind them is, in my humble opinion, quite interesting.
Angry Little Tailors
The name Taylor is obviously derived from the very honourable profession – our tailors are exceptionally honourable, check out some of their work here – and as such it is hard to state that the name comes from such and such a place or such and such a time. However, the reason the name is considered to be a sept of Clan Cameron is significantly clearer.
The 14th chief of Clan Cameron, Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, carried on an affair with the daughter of Clan MacDougall’s chief which produced a child – Donald. Ewen Cameron decided that he would keep Donald, having him nursed by the wife of a tailor – this resulted in Donald being given the nickname An Tailleur Dubh or Angry Little Tailor (roughly). During his childhood, Donald was raised as a Cameron and trained in the use of many different weapons in order to better support the Cameron family – Donald favoured the Lochaber axe – an incredibly long, curved axe blade set upon a ridiculously long handle.
Black Taylor of the Axe
When Ewen died, Donald was not able to inherit the Chieftaincy owing to his status as an illegitimate child, nor did he inherit any of his father’s lands owing to Mary Queen of Scots being displeased with Ewen Cameron. Instead, the chieftaincy passed from one relative to another until it ended up with Allan Cameron an infant of about one or two years of age. Around this time, the Camerons had a set to with Clan MacKintosh and it was in one of these battles that Donald made his name by killing the chief of that clan. Donald further distinguished himself by protecting the infant Chief from various assaults, including on from the baby’s own mother. These exploits resulted in Donald being remembered as the Black Taylor of the Axe.
Eventually Donald tired of the fighting life and set himself up somewhere in Cowal. Donald was clearly as successful at breeding as he was at fighting, this is evidenced by the fact that he had a great many descendants who took up the name Taylor in his honour. Taylors have continued to honour the Black Taylor of the Axe through the inclusion of those two black lines in the tartan.
As I said above, the name Taylor comes from the sartorial professions – the making of clothes and as such, is a name very dear to our hearts here at ScotlandsShop.com. If the name Taylor is near to your heart, why not look into having our tailors tailor you some Taylor tartan trousers, or anything else you might like (your name doesn’t even need to be Taylor).