History of the Hunter of Hunterston Clan Tartan

The Hunter of Hunterston tartan, commissioned by the 29th Laird, Neal Hunter, in 1971 is used exclusively by the Hunter Clan.

Ancient Hunter and Modern Hunter tartans are shared by several other clans. Traditionally there were three different tartans which could all be called Hunter tartan. It depended where you lived and who you were descended from. In 1981 the Clan Chief decided enough was enough and set to designing a new Hunter tartan that was both modern and would represent the whole Clan.

In 1983 we first saw the appearance of the “Hunter of Hunterston sett”. The official tartan for the Hunter clan.

The red and green are the hunting colours, the blue represents the sea and the gold (yellow) the Royal connection.

For additional information and ordering, contact the Clan Hunter mail order service at clanhunter.org.uk.

Name origin

The first Hunters arrived in Ayrshire in the last years of the 11th Century. They were experts in hunting and field craft with generations of experience in the forests of their land of origin, Normandy, northern France. William Hunter was invited to Scotland by David I, who was himself brought up in the Norman Court. He must have had considerable skills to have been so honoured; he was responsible for providing the Scottish Court with meat and game, a position that the Hunters held throughout the Middle Ages and beyond.


In papers relating to the King’s Inquisition in 1116, we find mention of Williemo Venator (William the Hunter, 1st Laird) who was appointed as Royal Huntsman while his wife had the honour of serving Queen Matilda as lady-in-waiting. William put his expertise to good use in the wild forests and fens, then rich with wildlife, which surrounded the site of the timber fortress later to become Hunter’s Toun. As recognition of his family’s skills the title of Royal Huntsman became a hereditary appointment.

Clan Hunter

Clan Hunter (Gaelic: “Clann an t-Sealgair”) is a Scottish clan which has its seat at Hunterston in Ayrshire. It has historical connections with both the ‘Highlands’ and ‘Lowlands’ of Scotland due to several centuries of operation in some of the formerly Gaelic speaking Scottish Islands including Arran, Bute and the Cumbraes where the Hunters also long held land.

Ancestral Castle

Blairquhan Castle

Built for Sir for Sir David Hunter-Blair, 3rd Baronet in 1823 on the site of a previous castle dating back to 1347.

Present owners are the ancestors of Sir David.

Hunterston House

Hunterston House was built in 1799 mainly due to the comforts for the family leaving servants to stay in the Castle.

Modernized and extended in 1835.

There are 72 rooms and it took 7 years to build.

Hunterston House is a very popular film location in Scotland and has been in several Outlander series.

Ancestral Castle

Glenapp Castle

Built in 1870. James Hunter bought the estate from the Earl of Orkney in 1864.

In 1868 James became the Deputy-Lieutenant of Ayrshire.

Ballantrae, Ayrshire, Scotland will be a destination to add to my ancestral group tours.

Major William Hunter

Major Hunter was in the Peninsular War. Military Secretary to the Governor of Australia. Aide to his uncle General George Hunter of Cinder, India.