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The Plaid Ancrum, The Tartan Blanket and a Puzzle., Scottish Borders
The Plaid

Ancrum, The Tartan Blanket and a Puzzle.

Larry McKay from Canada, e-mailed the Ancrum Site asking for assistance in trying to trace his ancestors, but including reference to an interesting story.

His grandmother was Elizabeth Rutherford Scott who lived at 3 The Knowe with his grandfather James William Scott. Whilst going through items left to him, he found a Tartan Blanket or Plaid which had attached to it an article from the The Kelso Chronicle and Jedburgh Gazette of August 12th 1966.
That article states:
"A recent comment in an evening paper regarding Upper Bongate Mill at Jedburgh and a clipping of a dress inside an envelope bearing the heading 'J&W Hilson, Jedburgh, Queen's Wedding Dress 1840' has not gone unnoticed. In the Border Magazine of July 1900, it is stated, by a Mr George Young, that, in 1821, the firm of Hilson, Jedburgh, copied a sample of a plaid worn by Prince Charlie and received from a customer in Dunkeld, an order for one dozen. The firm revived the manufacture of this plaid and among its warmest admirers was Queen Victoria to whom one of the plaids was sent. A letter of thanks was received from the Robes Department at Whitehall and the plaid was received before the Queen left on a tour of Ireland. Mr Young, while admitting that there is no direct proof that the Jedburgh firm made the Queen's wedding dress in 1840, feels sure that there may well be something in it."

Research on his behalf has found the following:
From the Border Magazine July 1900:
"At the Free Church Sale of Work held in Jedburgh in October last, one of the most interesting items sold was a Prince Charlie Plaid, given by Mr J Lindsay Hilson of Messrs J & W Hilson, Jedburgh. The pattern was copied from a plaid which had been worn by Prince Charlie and is now believed to be at Blair Castle. This pattern was sent by a customer in October 1821 with an order for a dozen plaids exact to description given."

The original plaid is believed to be in Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, near Dunkeld home of the Duke of Atholl. (Blair Castle have been asked to comment on this claim, but their reply confirms they have three different tartan pieces allegedly worn by the Prince.)

The customer in Dunkeld who ordered a dozen new plaids of that pattern was Lady MacIntosh of Moyhally near Dunkeld. They were for use by the men of her husband's regiment in India. (This may have been Lady McIntosh of Moy Hall by Inverness)

There were three extra plaids made, apparently much later than 1821 and after 1840:
1. Sent to Queen Victoria in April 1900.
2. Given to the apprentice for his mother. He was William Rutherford of Harestanes, brother of Mrs Scott. Mrs Scott was therefore a Rutherford by birth, which fits. Harestanes is the estate next to Ancrum it is now a Country Park next to Monteviot House.
3. Kept by Mr J Lindsay Hilson of the Mill and given to the Sale of Work in October 1899.

From the above it would appear that what Larry has is number 2 of the extra three.
Upper Bongate Mill has long since been demolished and there are no Hilsons now in the area.

We know that Queen Victoria visited Dublin, Ireland in April 1900 and a letter from the Robes Department, reproduced in the Border Magazine, is dated 10th April 1900, confirming the late date for manufacture.

Can anyone out there take this on further? Does Larry have any other relatives in the Ancrum area?

If you think you can help, you can contact the researcher - charlie@bordernet.co.uk .





Ancrum, The Tartan Blanket and a Puzzle., Scotland