Lichtie - Official District Tartan for Arbroath
...for all "far and near, who have associations
Lichtie' - Scottish north east coast dialect for
district tartan, adopted by the Royal Burgh of
Arbroath Community Council, 5th Oct 2012.
Residents of Arbroath, a fishing town on the Scottish
north east coast, are affectionately known as
'Red Lichties', an ancient nickname that local
Arbroathians, as well as those abroad, adopt with
a sense of pride.
Shrouded in folklore, with different stories being
told through the ages, one notable tale is of
the 'Round O' window of Arbroath Abbey being lit
at night with a flame guiding seamen returning
from sea. Such a light would certainly have shown
mariners where Arbroath was but any ship using
it would find itself running aground somewhere
east of the actual harbour entrance.
More likely the name originates from Arbroath's
original Parish Church, known as the Lady Chapel.
Founded some time before 1455, and located at
the north east corner of the marina where the
Harbour Masters office stands today, the
chapel fell out of use around 1590. Inside the
chapel there burned a red lamp. It is suggested
that the folk of Arbroath were familiar with this
red lamp or 'licht', which is the likely source
of the 'Red Lichtie' name which they are today
all so proud of.
The following three
references support this idea:
'ARBROATH SIXTY YEARS AGO - 1857
By Peter D. Morton
"THE LADY CHAPEL
The Parish Church of
Arbroath once stood at the corner of the wet dock,
near the Shore Dues Office. It was dedicated to
the Blessed Virgin, and was usually known as the
Lady Chapel. The Magistrates of the burgh were
patrons of the chapel, and took an active interest
in its affairs, both spiritual and temporal.
At the Reformation the chapel contained three
alters, those of our Lady, St Nicholas, and St
Duthac, founded by pious persons.
There were dues paid to the chaplains even from
the Tolbooth of the burgh, these amounting to
four merks annually. Other donations to the chapel
are recorded. Some of them took the form of gifts
of wax for the candles on the alters.
The Town Council ordained 'that the owners of
horses and carts which passed over the brig of
our Lady Chapel shall pay one pound of wax to
our 'Lady licht.' This reference to the 'Lady
licht,' it is understood refers to the red lamp
that stood over the alter of St Nicholas in the
chapel, and was hailed by the mariners of these
far-off days as a friendly beacon shinning over
the waters and guiding them to safety in the haven
of the old Abbot's harbour.
It is suggested that
it is from this red lamp or 'licht' that Arbroathians
derive the name of 'Red Lichties' that they are
all so proud of.
There is more probability in this suggestion than
the absurd story of the worthy Bailie who painted
the glass with the red paint. The Bailie would
likely have had more sense than do anything of
'ROUND ABOUT THE ROUND O WITH ITS
By George Hay, F. S. A. Scot.
"Besides the Shore,
the picture shows in the distance part of Ladybridge
Street. This street, together with Ladyloana
continuation of the Shorederives its name
from the Lady Chapel, or Chapel of Our Lady of
Aberbrothock, the principal of the district chapels
dependent on the Abbey. The chapel stood on a
site now included within the dock, and close to
the farther end of the dock wall shown in the
picture. The foundations of the chapel, and some
mouldings, were discovered when the inner harbour
was being converted into a wet dock a few years
Lichties - A ludicrous name sometimes given to
Arbroath people, and having its origin, according
to tradition, in the blunder of an ancient municipal
magnate with regard to a harbour light."
ARBROATH - THE ROYAL BURGH OF ROMANCE
By P. Charles Carragher
"The unfortunate incident of the painted
red glass in the lantern of the port which brought
to the town its world known by-name, has had the
effect of creating amongst the Red Lichties themselves
a community of understanding that is as remarkable
as it is enduring, and draws them together in
every clime and under every condition."
Arbroath Harbour Chapel - canmore.rcahms.gov.uk
The Red Lichtie
The White, Scarlet
and Red depict the 'Red Licht.
Blues represent the maritime and fishing
histories of Arbroath; Dark Blue representing
deep water, the boat building and shipping industries;
Light Blue representing shallow water and
the fishing industry.
Red represents the red sandstone of Arbroath
Abbey, and other buildings of the town.
The Five Gold Lines (converging on a red
background) represent the iconic portcullis (the
primary element in the Arbroath Coat of Arms),
which used to be located at the entrance of Arbroath
The Maroon shade represents the Arbroath
FC, historically also known as 'The Red Lichties'.
Founded in 1878 the club adopted a plain maroon
jersey, inspired by the prominent local red sandstone.
This remaining their colour ever since.
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HAIL ! dear
memento o' langsyne ;
A thousand mem'ries round thee twine ;
'Red Lichties' here or 'cross the brine,
In weal or woe,
Wad never, never like to tyne
Their Big Round O.
Verse extracted from:
'The Big Round O'
G. W. Donald - 1883
Red Lichtie Tartan
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