Lennox District Tartan and Tweed

By Billy Scobie

This attractive tartan was first published in “Old and Rare Scottish Tartans” by D.W.Stewart, partner in the Edinburgh firm of Romanes & Paterson (Royal Tartan Warehouse), in 1893. Stewart’s information was that the tartan came from a copy of a lost portrait of the Countess of Lennox.
Matthew, 4th Earl of Lennox, was born at Dumbarton Castle. In 1544 he married the Lady Margaret Douglas. The couple had a son – Henry – who is remembered as Lord Darnley (properly King Henry), second husband of Mary Queen of Scots.
It is a matter of record that Mary Queen of Scots, right, and her courtiers did wear tartan on certain occasions. It is therefore by no means unreasonable to accept that the queen’s mother-in-law, the Countess of Lennox, wore tartan in a portrait.
Regarding the authenticity of the Lennox Tartan, James D. Scarlett, a leading authority on the history of tartan, ventured this opinion –
“On the whole, I think that there is a good chance that it IS a portrait of the Countess, that the copy was a good one, and that the tartan was both a personal choice and a local product.”
The Lennox Tartan has been regarded as the district tartan of the Vale of Leven for more than 100 years.
It is worn by the Dumbarton and District Pipe Band and from 1939 it was worn by the Bonhill Parish Pipe Band. The very name “Lennox” derives from the River Leven.
The Lennox Tartan is one of very few which can be dated as far back as the 1500s.

Meanwhile, not the typical scene you might associate with the Outer Hebrides – a place famed for its wide open vistas and lack of trees – but in the very heart of Stornoway, the Lews Castle Grounds offers all kinds of woodland delights, even on a wintry day like today. From the land comes the Cloth.

Unsolicited comment from Etta Zamboni: “The bottom middle reminds me fondly of a favorite jacket my grandfather wore. The upper right is so unique and gorgeous. All are truly gorgeous.”

These Harris Tweed® fabrics come from a selection of samples held at the Harris Tweed Authority offices. To find a full list of producers, visit https://www.harristweed.org/buy-harris-tweed/
📸 Harris Tweed® fabric | Alison Johnston, Encompass
📸 Winter Spate, Willowglen, Lews Castle Grounds | Lewis Mackenzie

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