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The Roots of the Jardine Clan Society

The Jardine Clan Society was started in Scotland on March 22, 1977 by Sir William Jardine of Applegirth, the 22nd hereditary Clan Chief of Clan Jardine. (with 200 members) as a focal point for people with Jardine or a variation thereof in their surname or in their ancestry. Branches in Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia have gatherings and there is an international gathering, usually in Dumfries, every second year–that is in 1999, 2001, and so on. Each year members receive a newsletter reporting the activities of Jardines past and present. It is rated as one of the best newsletters produced by any clan society.

Clan Tartan

Sir William once swore that there was not and never would be a Jardine tartan, because of the family's Lowland origins. Because Jardines were a lowland border clan, there was no tartan associated with the family anciently. Out of respect for this history, Sir William was against creating a Jardine tartan.

It was then discovered that a Jardine tartan of blacks and browns was being sold (thought to have possibly originated in South Africa) and out of respect for those who had purchased it in good faith as well as from pressure by overseas members of the clan, Sir William authorized a Jardine sett in 1978 keeping the generally drab browns and greys but adding a blue and red stripe. A sett is a particular color and threadcount which forms the basis of the tartan pattern in the warp and weft of the weaving of the cloth.
The first Jardine Tartan, however, was not considered a very pretty tartan. Dancers from the clan began losing points at competitions because of the unpopularity of its drab colors. Eventually, William's son and successor as Clan Chief, Sir Alec Jardine of Applegirth, computer designed a new tartan called the Dress Jardine Tartan with greens, blues and reds. This tartan was authorized in 1988 and is used by Clan members as well as The Royal Burgh of Dumfries Pipe Band.

I once asked Sir Alec via e-mail if there was any symbolism behind the design. He responded that he wished there was, but his goal was just to make a nice looking tartan—a goal which I think he accomplished nicely. Imitations of the tartan have been reported seen anywhere from school uniforms to TV shows.
Two other tartans have been registered to by Jardine families. The Jardine #2 is similar to the Jardine tartan while the Jardine of Castlemilk tartan is distinct. Neither of these tartans is currently in use in conjunction with the Jardine Clan Society, and the only bear mentioning for clarification should someone go looking at tartans listed on the Scottish register.

It was Sir Alec that authorized me to form the Mountain States Branch of the Jardine Clan Society and to act as its Convener. My family history research indicated that most of the descendants of the Mormon pioneer Jardine families remain in the states of the mountain west and there was not another branch of the JCS to serve them in any of those locations. This was especially true after the passing of Jerry Jardine in northern California, who was instrumental in organizing the Scottish Games in Santa Rosa California.

Although I never met him in person, I corresponded with Sir Alec several times via e-mail and was always impressed at his concern and kindness. He passed away at the young age of 60 on April 6, 2008. During his tenure as Clan Chief, he provided great support to clan members around the world. Of perennial assistance in this effort and continuing in his absence is his devoted wife, Lady Mary Jardine. Their eldest son, William Murray Jardine is now the 24th hereditary Clan Chief of the Jardine Clan.

Heraldry

Strictly speaking a clan crest or badge is the familial token available for use by all clan members, while the coat of arms is a specific grant to an individual person.
The clansmen's crest badge is a "Spur Rowel" of six points proper (a spinning six-pointed star in silver) with the ominous Latin family motto of Cave Adsum (Beware My Presence)–a motto poached by Sir Walter Scott, in Ivanhoe, for the villainous Sir Reginald Front-de-boeuf.

The grant of a Coat of Arms was described thus: Argent (silver, for serenity and nobility), a saltire (one of the honorable heraldic ordinaries in the shape of St. Andrew's Cross) gules (red, for fortitude and creative power) on a chief of the last (another honorable ordinary comprising the top one-third in red) three mullets of the first pierced of the second (three stars of silver pierced with red).

This is the most common set of arms displayed among Jardine clan members today. However, there is also a second set of Arms was described thus: Argent (silver) on a saltire (St. Andrew's Cross) gules (red) five bezants (five gold coins representing generosity, valor and perseverance) on a chief of the second three mullets or (on a red upper third, three stars in gold). An alternate crest accompanies this set of Arms and is described thus: A naturally colored hand holding a gold coin. Some crests show the spur held in a hand.

A set of arms was also granted to Gardyne of That Ilk, shown here with the sable (black) boar's head and the twin hands gripping the fitched crosslet at the crest. Black typically represents repentance or vengeance and perhaps this has something to do with the Gardyne feud with the Guthries.

The plant badge of Clan Jardine is an Apple Blossom.