Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I knew two, found a third, but more?

A piper in full regalia wearing
the Dress Fraser tartan
Scotland, England and Wales. Are there more countries with tartans? Yes, Ireland... and others, but more about them soon.

I grew up knowing I could wear the tartans of two Scottish clans: my mother was born a MacKenzie, and Grandma Davies a Fraser, so I knew I could wear the tartans of those two clans.
Ancient Red Fraser tartan, my favourite
I thought I understood why Grandpa Davies considered himself Scottish, because he grew up just outside Glasgow, and once a Glaswegian, always a Glaswegian and I didn't think to ask anyone about other tartans in Britain.

My MacKenzie grandfather was born, just as I was, in New Westminster, British Columbia, but his parents and at least one or two of his many older brothers moved to Canada from Scotland.
Dress MacKenzie tartan
Weathered MacKenzie tartan

Clan MacKenzie motto 'Luceo Non Uro'
"I shine, not burn"
Then, more recently, I found out there are also Welsh tartans, and realized that Grandpa Davies had had a choice... he could, if he wished, wear a Scottish tartan, but he had inherited the right to wear a Welsh one. This, in turn, might now give me a chance to wear this lovely blue Welsh tartan, to go with my blue eyes!

Davies...a Welsh tartan...who knew? And it's blue!

Davies tartan scarf

I think I would be remiss if I did not tell you about one of Scottish history's most famous MacKenzies: Roderick, who, while fighting for the Jacobite cause, gave his life to save a prince.

The Jacobite uprisings, also known as the Jacobite rebellions, or the War of the British Succession, were a series of wars in Great Britain and Ireland occurring between 1688 and 1746.

The uprisings were intended to restore the last Catholic British monarch, and later his descendants of the House of Stuart, to the throne of Great Britain.

England's King James II was deposed in 1688. For almost a hundred years, the Catholic Jacobites fought to reinstate him to the English and Scottish thrones.

When Roderick MacKenzie, son of an Edinburgh watchmaker, joined the Jacobite army, it was discovered that he bore an uncanny resemblance to Bonnie Prince Charlie. Roderick was, therefore, asked to ride, not quite with, but near the Prince.
This ruse managed to save the Prince for a time, but it cost young Roderick his life. The English forces, misled by the resemblance, captured and injured Roderick. As he died, he said, "You have just murdered a Prince." The English troops beheaded him, then took his head to London to 'prove' they had murdered Bonnie Prince Charlie. However, unbeknownst to the English, and thanks to Roderick MacKenzie, the Prince was able to escape and eventually took refuge 'over the sea to Skye' as the old song says.

Now, friends, it is winter here in the northern hemisphere and so, on a cold and blustery night, you might want to sit yourself down to read about Roderick and his brave sacrifice here at this link:

The ancient pile of rocks pictured below is a cairn
commemorating the bravery of young Roderick MacKenzie.   

Many thanks to my dear Scottish friend Yamini MacLean who took me to see the cairn, and to see as much of Scotland as we could pack into that all-too-short visit to my ancestral land.

The story on Roderick's cairn:

Sharing with Fiona's memorable meme:


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Kay, it was an absolute honour; and I found bits I would never have done had you not requested certain experiences! YAM xx

Powell River Books said...

I don't know a lot about my heritage, but what I do remember is that there is a mix of Scotch, Irish and English. I get a bit of red in my hair from the Irish probably. My great grandfather on my mother's father's side came to the States via Toronto during the potato famine and because he wasn't the eldest son so wouldn't inherit in the homeland. There was a tale about a distant branch of the family going back to Cardinal Wolsey, but after watching Wolf Hall on Netflix I'm not sure that was such a good thing. I probably should have talked to relatives and recorded information earlier in my life, but hindsight is always best. - Margy

Lady Fi said...

My mum grew up in Paisley, Glasgow! Maybe we are related although I think we are from the clan Macintosh.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, it is awesome you were able to tour Scotland and visit with Yamini!
It is interesting to research your ancestors. Great post. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

JP A Quiet Corner said...

Kay, this is so wonderful that you got to experience this as well as delve into the historic and traditional plaids used by the families...this journey must have been exhilarating!!!...:)JP

bettyl-NZ said...

What a great tour. I love learning a bit of history this way.

Phil Slade said...

Good morning Kay. It was interesoing to read about your tartan heritage as you have more than either me or Sue. Me from Welsh stock and Sue from French (Severs). Good to hear about Canada's success in nurtering Bald Eagles too, in comparison to a small minority of Brits who in their old-fashioned ways do not like any birds with hooked bills.

We had our first cold weather this week, just ice and no snow, and certainly nothing like your own temperatures at the moment. At the moment we are just making sure we have the right Christmas gifts in the right numbers for our growing family.

Best wishes and hugs from Lancashire.

Kirsi Gembus said...

I don't understand all but I think Scotland must be a very intersting country
Greetings from Germany

Minoru Saito said...

Hi! Nice information about tartan check. I visited Scotland this May.

Angie said...

There is a special place in my heart for pipes and drums, partly for the sound and partly for the sight of burly men in kilts of bright colors! Thanks for sharing your heritage and important pieces of history!

Sandi said...

Heroic, but heartbreaking!