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Lennox Tartan

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Motto: I'll defend

The ancient earldom consisted of the whole of Dunbartonshire as well as large parts of Renfrewshire, Stirlingshire and Perthshire.  From the Gaelic ‘Leven-ach’, the Celtic Mormaers of Levenax emerged as the Earls of Lennox who would become joined to the royal house of Stewart.  Some dispute exists over the origins of the Earldom.  Some suggest a Saxon baron called Arkyll was conferred lands by Malcolm III and subsequently married a Scottish heiress who had a son, the first Earl of Lennox.  Others look to William the Lion giving the title to his brother, David, Earl of Huntingdon; the Lennox family not being established until after William’s reign.  

At the end of the 13th century Lennox nobles were powerful; supporting the Bruce in his claim to the Scottish crown.  Malcolm. The fifth earl, besieged Carlisle in 1296, and while swearing fealty to Edward I of England, was at the forefront of the campaign for Scottish Independence.  In 1373 the earldom passed through his daughter to Walter de Fasselane.  Their granddaughter Isabella married Murdoch, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland between 1419 and 1425.  Connections to Albany proved catastrophic for the Lennoxes; Isabella’s husband and father both being executed while she was imprisoned at Tantallon Castle.

John, Lord Darnley assumed the title of Earl of Lennox in 1488.  Matthew, the second Stewart Earl of Lennox was slain at Flodden in 1513.  The younger son of the fourth Stewart Earl was Henry, Lord Darnley, the husband of Mary Queen of Scots.  The title passed through a complex set of familial links including James IV, ending up with Charles II after another line had failed.  He conferred the now Dukedom of Lennox on his illegitimate son, Charles Lennox.  In the 19th century, the Lennoxes of Woodhead, later Lennox Castle near Glasgow claimed the right to succeed to the title.  

Reference to the tartan first appeared in the D W Stewart’s ‘Old and Rare Scottish Tartans’ in 1893, depicting a tartan depicted in a 16th century painting of either the Countess Lennox, mother of Lord Darnley or perhaps Queen Mary.  There is uncertainty over these origins. Others suggest it is likely to be a family tartan rather than a district one, given the Earl of Lennox was a Scottish Noble and not a highland Chief.

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