THE River Tweed, or Tweed Water (Scottish Gaelic: Abhainn Thuaidh), is a river 97 miles (156 km) long that flows east across the Border region in Scotland and northern England. Although this tartan – like so many that have a geographical name – is now regarded as a District tartan (‘the River Tweed runs through the Scottish Borders) it doubtless started life as a fashion tartan so named by its designers/weavers, Wilsons of Bannockburn.


WILLIAM, son of the Comte de Sancto Claro in Normandy, and a cousin of Yoland de Bren, Queen to Alexander III, was the progenitor of the Sinclair Clan. Their original seat was Roslin Castle; and they inherited the Norse Earldom of Orkney. William Sinclair, 3rd Earl of Orkney, who founded the collegiate Church of Roslin in 1441, was Lord High Treasurer of Scotland in 1445, and Ambassador to England. In 1456 he was made Earl of Caithness. He married Lady Margaret, daughter of Archibald, Earl of Douglas, Duke of Touraine. He died before 1480, and was succeeded by his son, William, 2nd Earl of Caithness, who was slain at Flodden. John, 3rd Earl, was killed during an insurrection in Orkney. His son, George, 4th Earl, supported Mary Queen of Scots, and Bothwell. He died 1583, leaving two sonsΒ—John, Master of Caithness, and George, ancestor of Sinclair of Mey. He was succeeded by his son, George, 5th Earl. George, 6th Earl, had no children, and died in debt. George, 7th Earl, died childless, and his honours fell to John Sinclair of Murkle. In 1789 the Earldom passed to Sir James Sinclair, 7th Baronet of Mey as 12th Earl ; and on the death of George, 15th Earl, to the Sinclairs of Durran, of whom James Augustus became 16th Earl in 1889. The Chief of Clan Sinclair is the Earl of Caithness.


CARE is taken by the historians of this clan to draw a distinction between its patronymic and that of the Lowland families whose original name was “MathewΒ’s son” The Highland name, they point out, is Mac Mhathain, “the son of heroes,” and the chiefs of the clan claimed to have been settled on the shores of Lochalsh in the west of Ross-shire as long ago as the time of Kenneth MacAlpin in the middle of the ninth century. According to tradition they were among the followers of that king in his wars with the Picts, whom he finally overthrew at the great battle of Cambuskenneth near Stirling in 838. They claimed to be of the same blood as the MacKenzies, whom they aver to have been the junior line. A certain Coinneach, or Kenneth, who was chief in the twelfth century, they say left two sons. From the elder of these Cailean or Colin, the Mathesons were descended, and from the younger, Coin neach or Kenneth, the MacKenzies took their origin. In the beginning of the fifteenth century the Matheson chief was strong enough to defy the Earl of Sutherland, and upon the latter descending upon Lochalsh, intent upon punishing so presumptuous a person, he was actually defeated and slain by the Mathesons. The scene of the encounter is still pointed out at a spot known from the event as Cnoc an Cattich.