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Connecting With Cornish Tartan

Since the late 20th century there’s been a revival of Cornish heritage which has encouraged an uptake in the Cornish language as well as the use of the Cornish tartan and kilt wearing. Cornwall has a unique heritage and is considered one of Celtic nations much like Scotland, Ireland and Wales. In 2014 Cornwall was officially recognised by the UK government as a national minority.

Seen as a slightly more modern tradition that started in the mid 20th century, the first Cornish kilts were plain black with tartan variations to follow. Although considered a modern tradition, there are carvings on bench ends in an Altarum (a parish in Cornwall) church that depict minstrels dressed in kilts playing bagpipes. The church dates back to the early 1500’s meaning that kilts were present long before the renaissance of Cornish identity in the 20th century. 

Cornish Tartans - MacGregor and MacDuffToday there are various tartans that proudly signify Cornish identity and are available to wear by anyone who wishes to do so. The first tartan is the Cornish National tartan which was designed by poet E.E. Morton-Nance in 1963. The tartan was created to commemorate the ancient kingdom of Cornwall. The yellow represents gold for the old Cornish kings, the red represents the beak and legs of the Cornish Cough (type of bird) and the blue represents the sea that surrounds Cornwall. The black and white represents St. Piran’s cross which is also represented in the same manner in the Cornish flag. 

There is also the Cornish Hunting tartan which was designed by Sandra A. Redwood in 1983 as a more subdued version of the bright Cornish National. The colours of the Cornwall Hunting are the same and represent the same elements but with the addition of green which is said to represent Cornish Wrestling, a centuries-old form of wrestling. The Cornish Hunting tartan is a more modest tartan in comparison to the Cornish National which has made it a very popular tartan choice.

Cornish Hunting Tartan - MacGregor and MacDuffAs Cornish identity strengthens, the popularity of Corish Tartan and Cornish kilts will continue to grow. If you are interested in buying a kilt or kilt outfit with one of the Cornish tartans let us know, we would be happy to assist you with our Online Kilt Fitting service. We also have a range of accessories like tartan ties and brogues that would look great in a Cornish tartan if you are looking for something small or a gift. Send us an email at or give us a call on 0141 280 3398 if you have any questions.