Black Watch Clan History & Story

The black watch is one of the most popular and known tartans available in the world. It was formed in n 1725 by the companies from Clans Campbell‚ Fraser‚ Munro and Grant with their warrior natures to guard and protect the Highlands‚ and authorized them to wear their kilt and bear arms.

Blackwatch is also known as an open tartan which can be worn in all types of gathering regardless of your clan association. It is a tartan that is worn by various state leaders, military heroes, highland athletes, and people who simply love the pattern. It is a universal symbol of bravery and courage. It is also considered a Government tartan.

Story & History of Black Watch Tartan

After the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, General George Wade was asked to gather six ‘watch’ companies in 1725, for patrolling the Scottish Highlands. Out of those six companies, three were formed by the members of Clan Campbell, one of Clan Fraser of Lovat, one of Clan Grant, and one of Clan Munro.

The Black Watch regiment fighting.These companies were formed in order to prevent fights among clans, bring justice, disarm men carrying a weapon, and keeping peace among the highlands. These companies were called “Am Freiceadan Dubh” which translates into “Black Watch”. The name is driven by the dark color of the tartan that those men wore, and the companies’ role to watch over the highlands.

In 1739, King George II ordered to include four more companies to those existing six Black Watch companies creating one single line of infantry known as The Black Watch. There was one condition to join those companies that a person should be native to Scotland.

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The soldiers of the companies wore 12 yards of tartan kilts (Black watch tartan) along with that a red jacket and waistcoat, bluebonnet, musket, bayonet, broadsword, pistol, and dirk was also part of their uniform. The soldiers wore kilts as part of their daily outfits from 1725 until 1940.

Black watch companies soldier at ease.In 1743, the King transferred the Black Watch regiment to West Indies for a fight. While fighting abroad, the Black Watch Regiment was recognized as the 42nd Royal Regiment. However, in 1779, a second battalion was also formed under the same name. The second battalion became so popular that it became a regiment on its own and seeing their success, they were allocated as 73rd Royal Regiment in 1786. The regiment served all over the world including America, South Africa, and Egypt. The regiment also went to serve during both World Wars because of which they lost around 8000 black watch soldiers.

In 1881, both the 42nd Royal Regiment and the 73rd Royal Regiment were merged into The Black Watch regiment (Royal Highlanders). The 42nd regiment was known as the 1st battalion and the 73rd Royal Regiment was known as the 2nd battalion. In 1931, the regiment was again restructured, and then it was called The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment). In 2006, the British Army went for further restructuring, and then the Royal Regiment of Scotland was formed. The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) then became Black Watch, 3rd Battalion of Royal Regiment of Scotland.


So this was a deep history about the Black Watch and how it came into existence. I hope you must have loved the history and story of this amazing tartan. Don’t forget to share this with others who might be interested in the same kind of stories.


  • Killian MacDonald

    Embark on a literary journey with Killian Grace MacDonald, a passionate writer whose words are woven with the threads of Scottish heritage. Born amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the Highlands, Killian's quill dances to the rhythm of bagpipes, crafting tales that celebrate the timeless allure of kilts and Scottish apparel.

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