Each month the museum web pages will feature a different clan on this site.
The clan for October is

The clan WALLACE

Designer: unknown
Date: 1842

K4, R32, K32, Y4 

The Wallace tartan first appears in the work Vestiarium Scoticum, published by the Sobieski-Stuart brothers in 1842.  The brothers claimed it was a reproduction of a sixteenth century manuscript, but it was later found to be a forgery.  Nevertheless, it contains the only example of many clan tartans, especially for lowland families, that have been in use now for more than 150 years. 

Other Wallace tartans on record include a Hunting Wallace, which simply has the red replaced with green, and a Blue Wallace where the red is replaced with blue.  These are later tartans that have been developed as variations on the standard tartan as recorded in the VS. 

The name Wallace is of ancient British origin.  One theory is that the name Waleis was applied to Britons from Wales who came north to Scotland with David I.  Another is that the family were originally Britons who settled in the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde in the tenth century.  The name is found in records in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire as early as the twelfth century. 

Perhaps the most famous bearer of the name has been William Wallace, popularized in the 1995 Mel Gibson movie, Braveheart.  William Wallace was the leader of a military rebellion against the English king Edward I who was attempting to assert rule in the Scottish kingdom.  His struggle in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century was one of the earliest guerilla campaigns in military history.  Wallace was hung, drawn, and quartered in Westminster in 1305.  The struggle for Scottish independence was later taken up by Robert the Bruce who was crowned King Robert I of Scotland in 1306. 


Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, by George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, 1994.

The Setts of the Scottish Tartans, by Donald C. Stewart, FSA Scot, 1950, 1974, 1977.

The Surnames of Scotland, by George F. Black, PhD, 1946.