Bain Clan Crest & Tartan

When I was younger on days out around Scotland,  I was quite partial to a rumage in the gift shops. I used to see all the gifts and trinkets with the Scottish clan names on and would always look to find the Bain name.

As I could never find just ‘Bain’ I assumed that we were part of Clan MacBain/McBean and therefore associated with their motto and tartan.  It was not until I got into genealogy and began to look into the family history that I found that this was indeed incorrect and the Clan Bain are not associated with the Clan MacBain at all, but are in fact a sept of the Clan MacKay.

After an acrimonious split in the 15th century, the Clan Bain no longer associate themselves with the MacKay name. The Bain Clan have their own crest and a sect of the Clan Bain (The Baynes of Tulloch) have a Coat of Arms. Clan Bain however does not appear to have our own tartan (at least covering the clan as a whole).



Clan Bain Crest


The Clan Bain family crest consists of a strap and buckle with a dexter arm grasping a dirk proper.

The clan motto is:

Et Marte Et Arte 

‘By Strength and Art’ 

(Note to self: I really must look into getting a version of this made as this copy is not very good and the ones online all have copyright)

This association to the Clan Mackay is further confirmed by the fact that the Clan Bain as a sept of the Clan Mackay wear the Mackay Tartan.

Mackay Tartan

Clan Mackay Tartan


The Scottish Tartan register confirms that there is no ancient Clan Bain tartan although there have been a couple of personal tartans registered in recent times, notably one was designed in 1993 ‘The Bains of Caithness’  for Robert Bain of Caithness.

Bain of Caithness Tartan

Bains of Caithness Tartan

Designed by Trudi Mann of Wick for a Robert Bain of Lybster, Caithness. It was designated as a family tartan for all the Bains (regardless of spelling) of Caithness. Details and thread count from Trudi Mann.

The Scottish Register of Tartans


The Clan Bain is an armigerous clan meaning it has no clan chief or traditional clan structure (probably due to the origins as part of the Clan Mackay).

I am not aware of any Clan Bain Associations either here in Scotland our in further flung parts of the world where our family roots have spread over the centuries since Clan Bain came to be.

If I am wrong on this and you know of any, please let me know about them.

Similarly if you notice any inaccuracy or have further information that would be useful, please get in touch.



2 responses to “Bain Clan Crest & Tartan

  1. I thought the same thing too after looking through the Scottish name books—that we were from MacBain/McBean.


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