Kirk launches new official tartan

The Church of Scotland has unveiled its own distinct tartan to celebrate its enduring role as the country’s national Kirk.

Each of the five colours hold deep meaning for the Presbyterian denomination, which was established in 1560.

Rev Iain Cunningham, convener of the World Mission Council which commissioned the tartan on behalf of the wider Church, said it was an “eye catching and well balanced” design.

Church of Scotland tartan
The five colours have deep significance for the Church of Scotland

He said that the idea was to make use of colours associated with the liturgical calendar, Christian tradition and links with the nation of Scotland.

Purple symbolises royalty, the sovereignty of Jesus Christ as the head of the Church, divinity, the thistle and heather.

Red represents the blood of Christ, Christian martyrs, the flames of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, the Burning Bush from which God spoke to Moses and the Scottish Lion Rampant.

Blue represents Mary, the mother of Christ, the sky, St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, and the Kirk itself.

Green is for the earth, growth, glens, moors and mountains.

White symbolises brightness, the purity of Christ, the cross in the official emblem of the Church of Scotland and the Saltire, the country’s national flag.

The distinctive wool cloth, which has been entered in the Scottish Register of Tartans, will be used to make a wide range of products including kilts, scarves, ties and furniture upholstery.

Some products will be for sale.

The tartan was designed and woven by staff at leading textile manufacturer, Lochcarron of Scotland, in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders.

Kirk Tartan
The cloth will be used to make a wide range of products including kilts, scarves, ties and furniture upholstery.

Mr Cunningham, who watched the tartan being made, said: “The Church of Scotland Guild has its own distinct tartan but some time ago our council decided it would be an excellent idea to commission a special pattern for the Church as a whole.

“We put together a design in consultation with Lochcarron of Scotland and are very pleased with what they came up with.

“It is an eye catching and well balanced design.

“All of the colours have multiple levels of significance for the Church and help to tell its rich story.”

Mr Cunningham said tartan ties and scarves would make ideal gifts for representatives of the Church, including the Moderator of the General Assembly, to give to people they meet at home and abroad on official engagements.

Peter Gerlam, operations manager at Lochcarron of Scotland, said: “It has been an interesting process working with the Church and getting the colours and design together was straight forward.

“We are delighted to have the product ready for launch and sure that it will be a great success.”