Though we associate the Scottish Tartan with all Clans in Scotland, the border families, traditionally, did not have a tartan. Their attire was more in line with English and European styles, especially military, of their day. In the various Scottish English wars, solders and cavalry of the Scottish Borders referred to Highlanders coming to join the fight as those men in plaid.
The early tartans were more associated to geographical districts or regions as opposed to a specific Clan family. However, in the mid 19th century Victorian era, and partially influenced by writings of Sir Walter Scot, a desire for a family connection to Scottish ancestry initiated the beginning of family specific tartan plaids. Tartan designs are now registered with the government in Scotland through the The Scottish Register of Tartans.
The Hall Society Tartan was created in the ancient (on the left) and modern (on the right) styles. The creation of our tartan is as follows.
The Hall Tartan
The Hall Tartan was designed by Atlas D. Hall, FSA Scot, and authenticated by Charles Thompson, author of “So You’re Going to Wear the Kilt”, and a noted authority on tartan research, as well as William Johnston, President of the Tartan Education and Cultural Association (TECA). The Clan Hall Tartan was entered into the TECA computer database in 1992. Peter MacDonald, of Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland wove the first swatch of the Clan Hall Tartan. This swatch was subsequently sent to the Scottish Tartan Society and another Swatch was donated to the Scottish Tartan Society, in North Carolina, for recording and display.
SYMBOLISM OF THE COLOR SCHEME OF THE TARTAN SETT:
The color red symbolizes bravery. The Halls had to be brave men and women to live in the Borders. Red is also used in the Tartan sett to symbolize our friendship with the Scotts and Kerrs who were our neighbors in the Borders.
The color blue symbolizes truth and honesty, as well as symbolizing our friendship with our allies and neighbors, the Elliots. The four bars of blue represent the four nations, Scotland, England, Ireland, and the United States, where the majority of Clan Hall has lived and continues to reside today.
The color green symbolizes the hue of the grasses that covered much of the Borders, It also symbolizes our friendship with two other Border Clans, the Johnstones and Armstrongs.
The color yellow symbolizes hope. In the harsh land of the Borders, where Clan Hall preferred to live, hope was something to be desired. Yellow also symbolizes the setting sun of distant lands to which Clan Hall dispersed and resides today.
The Halls resided on both sides of the Scottish and English border. As a result the Halls had allegiances and alliances with various neighboring Clans. This is symbolized by the structure of our Tartan sett with the color red as a border around the colors of green, blue, and yellow.
Written by David H. Hall and compiled for publication in the 1999 edition of “The Border Reiver” by then editor, Alex Long.