The Tartan of Clan Forbes (Forbes – 1819)
This is the Forbes that is in use today. It was said to have been designed by a Miss Forbes in 1822 for the Forbes family of Pitsligo, however earlier records would appear to discount this story. It appeared in Wilson’s pattern book of 1819, in Grant No: 15 and in William and Andrew Smith’s 1850 “Authenticated Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland” where they wrote:
“The correctness of the Forbes Tartan here given, seems to be, in the opinion of the Trade, a matter beyond the slightest doubt: it was once worn by the 74th regiment, but that corps now wear the Lamont.”
The Lamont is the same as the Forbes but minus the black guards on the white. A different Forbes sett was approved by the Clan Chief and registered with Lord Lyon in November 1949. Known as Forbes Ancient – see # 212 – there is modern doubt as to its accuracy and it is surmised that an error has been made in recording it in the Lord Lyon’s book.
Today’s Forbes is also worn by the Liverpool Scottish. The Liverpool Scottish was formed as an infantry battalion in 1900 in response to the crisis of the Boer War. It was raised from amongst the body of highly educated and professional young Scotsmen in the city as the 8th (Scottish) Volunteer Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). There was an annual subscription of 10 shillings (50p) and an entrance fee of £2. The first Commanding Officer was Colonel C. Forbes Bell V.D. The Forbes tartan kilt was adopted by the regiment and the Highland full dress uniform featured a khaki tunic with scarlet collar and facings together with a feather bonnet or glengarry and tartan plaid. The earliest known date from a list compiled by D C Stewart from Wilsons of Bannockburn letters is 1827.