The Tolmie Tartan
"The Tolmie sept is one of the MacLeods of Lewis and is a sept "of the blood" who were once the MacLeods of Gairloch. In discussion with past president of the Clan MacLeod Society of Scotland, Lt Col (retired) Ruari Halford-MacLeod, it was agreed that the MacLeod of Lewis tartan should be the basis of the Tolmie tartan. In recognition of the superiority of MacLeod of MacLeod, and as it is a principal colour the background is green rather than gold." (Source; Scottish Register of Tartans).
Up until this time, for the past 400 years the Tolmies had worn the yellow MacLeod of Lewis Tartan. The Tolmie sept now have the choice of both.
The Tolmie Tartan was designed by Kevin and Wilma Tolmie of Scotland in 2015.
A Tolmie Family's Coat of Arms:
In 2014 a coat of arms was matriculated and granted for the family of Kevin John Tolmie, of Glenrothes, Scotland.
Coats of arms are matriculated via the Court of Lord of Lyon in Scotland and the College of Arms in England. Interestingly there is no such thing as a 'coat of arms for a surname'. Arms descend to the heir in each generation of the person to whom they were originally granted. Other descendants who bear the same surname may apply for a slightly different version of the Arms to be recorded in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland. In Scotland the shields of unrelated people with the same surname may bear similarities, as the design will be based on the shield of the clan chief, the head of the family. (Source: www.nrsscotland.gov.uk)
Coats of arms have quarters with heraldic symbols that represent the specifics and connections of that family. The coat of arms for the family of Kevin Tolmie has four quarters;
A crest is simply the representation of a three-dimensional object which is placed above the helm over the shield in a coat of arm. (Source; Court of the Lord of Lyon)
For all those who profess allegiance to a Chief and wish to demonstrate their association with the Clan, it is correct for these people to wear their Chief’s Crest encircled with a strap and buckle bearing their Chief’s Motto or Slogan. The strap and buckle is the sign of the clansman, and he demonstrates his membership of his Chief’s Clan by wearing his Chief’s Crest within it. (Source: Court of the Lord Lyon)
Clans folk today are identified by 'crests' worn as badges or brooches. Though not entirely historically accurate in that crests were shown as a part of the coat of arms; but today these 'crests' as badges or brooches show where individuals loyalties lie in relation to a Clan and Chief.
To date the senior line of the Tolmie sept via John Tolmach MacRory MacLeod of Gairloch and Lewis have not yet matriculated arms.
Talisker Whiskey: 'Dram Beag'
Well known Tolmies:
Coming soon... 'William Fraser Tolmie', 'Frances Tolmie', and others...
Tolmie Bagpipe March: Uiginish House
The following Great Highland Bagpipe March called 'Uiginish House' was composed by a New Zealand piper, Neil Whitehead, to commemorate the the book Four Sons of Skye. Neil has played pipes for 50 years and was a member of the New Zealand Hutt Valley Pipe Band.
Uiginish House was the home of the senior branch of the Tolmie sept for several generations, built by John Seoc Tolmie (1742-1823). Circa 1773 John took up tack of Uiginish farms from Colonel (later known as General) Norman MacLeod, 23rd Chief of Clan MacLeod. John was known as the 1st of Uiginish, the building is now known as Uiginish House. Here his children and grandchildren were born and lived, including his grand daughter the well known Highland Gaelic musician and historian Frances Tolmie.
(Source: McKay, J.G.H, Four Sons of Skye: The History of a Tolmie family from Skye, 2011)
In Victoria Australia, their is a small town called Tolmie, situated near the bigger centre of Mansfield. Referred historically to as Wombat by the first settlers, the change in name was purportedly after one of its earliest colonists Ewen Tolmie.
The town of Tolmie was also referred to as Tolmie tablelands, due to its higher altitude and good rainfall, which made it ideal for farming. It was reported by locals to be an area that the notorious Kelly gang often frequented with Ned Kelly later being caught just north of Tolmie in Glenrowan in 1880. The town of Tolmie is also for its Tolmie Sports Days which began in 1886, and just recently celebrated its 134th year.
Ewen was born in Scotland circa 1819. The son of Donald Tolmie and Margaret MacDonald he migrated to Australia in 1838. He married Colina MitchelI (1816-1894). In 1854 Ewen left and returned to Scotland for his children's education, returning to the Tolmie area again in 1859. Recorded as a sheep farmer and goldminer, with his registered business called Tolmies Quartz Tunnelling Co. He is also recorded as a hotelier at the Robert Burns Hotel, Craigieburn (www.chig.asn.au).
His obituary refers to him as a well thought of colonist, and credited with the cure of 'scab in sheep'. Ewen died aged 66 years in 1883 and is buried in Mansfield Cemetery. (Source: Tolmie: The First 100 Years, Self Published Booklet, p.8)
The Highlands of Tolmie
Ten decades of mornings and evenings
Have passed in the last hundred years
Giving parents, and children still living
A share of its laughter and tears.
For the mountains are sometimes forbidding
When storms rip the Highlands apart
But faith in themselves and each other
Was deep in the pioneer heart.
So come to the Highlands of Tolmie
See the mists on the mountains at dawn.
Watch the snow tumble down in the winter
Feel our fires, so cheery and warm.
Hear the carols of magpies at twilight,
And laughter that comes from the hills
As Jackies strike up quite a chorus
Resounding o’er treetops and rills.
The moon will come up on the mountains,
The valley be flooded with light,
And stars in the heavens will twinkle
As evening is turned into night.
So smooth is our road in the moonlight
Where once there was corduroy and dust,
And the creak of the wagon wheels turning
Meant Tolmie to Mansfield, or bust!
But now as you spin up the highway,
Remember, in sunshine or rain,
The Highlands of Tolmie are calling
To welcome you home once again
(Source: Tolmie: The First 100 Years, Self Published Booklet, p.11)
Tolmie/ Tolme Books:
- Bassin, E. (1977). Old Songs of Skye: Frances Tolmie and her Circle.
- Davidson, J. (2019). Tolme Tales: What's in a Name?
- De Val, D (2016). In Search of Song: The Life and Times of Lucy Broadwood. (re: Frances Tolmie)
- Hector Hugh MacKenzie. (1941). The Mackenzies of Ballone. Revised and Extended, and Comprising a Short Treatise on the Tolmie Sept, with a Genealogical Account of the Tolmies of Uiginish, Skye.
- McKay, J.G.H. (2011). Four Sons of Skye: The History of a Tolmie family from Skye.
- MacLeod, A. (1993). Report Commissioned by Highland Regional Council. Highland Regional Council.
- Mansfield Courier Print. Tolmie: The First Hundred Years, Australia. (re: Ewen Tolmie and town of Tolmie, Australia)
- Terry, Linda (2017). Living on the Tolmie Plateau: The First Hundred Years and beyond. Tolmie Mechanics Institute and Recreation Reserve Committee. (re: Town of Tolmie, Australia)
- Tolmie, F., Gilchrist, A., Broadwood, L. (1911). One Hundred and Five Gaelic Songs. Journal of the Folk-Song Society. No 16. (Vol. 4, No.3).
Clan MacLeod Books:
- Grant, Isabel Frances (1953). The Clan MacLeod. W. & A.K. Johnston's Clan Histories.
- Grimble, Ian (1973). Scottish Clans & Tartans.
- MacLeod, Rev Canon R.C. (1906). The MacLeods: A short sketch of their clan, history, folk-lore, tales, and biographical notices of some eminent clansmen.
- MacLeod, Rev Canon R.C. (1927). The MacLeods of Dunvegan: From the time of Leod to the end of the Seventeenth Century, Printed for the Clan MacLeod Society.
- MacLeod, F (1914). Bride of the Isles. The Iona Books.
- Morrison, A. (1976). The MacLeod’s: The Genealogy of the Clan. Associated Clan MacLeod Societies.
- Morrison, A. (1986). The Chiefs of Clan MacLeod. Published by the Associated Clans MacLeod Societies.
- Morrison, A. (1990). The MacLeod’s: The Genealogy of the Clan. Associated Clan MacLeod Societies.
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©James McKay, 2019-2022 (https://www.iponz.govt.nz/about-ip/copyright/)