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Clothin of the isles

Posted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 1:20 pm
by Celtic Britain
Hey,

I'm searching for some sources on woman clothing of Harris and Lewis of around 1314. I found some information on gallowglass warriors but I can't find anything on woman's clothing. Could anyone recommend me a source for that information?

Thanks in advance.

Celtic Britain

Posted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:23 pm
by Grymm

Re: Clothin of the isles

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:39 am
by Colin MacDonald
Celtic Britain wrote:I found some information on [1314] gallowglass warriors


Super! Contemporary sources, or 16th century retrospectives?

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:40 am
by Celtic Britain
Thanks for the link!

Contemporary sources, or 16th century retrospectives?


I'm not sure to be honest. Most of them are not the primary source but they are used in texts.

I found this one very useful and this one too.

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:16 pm
by zauberdachs
This isn't a bad start:

http://medievalscotland.org/clothing/refs/

Also the book: "Old Highland Dress and Tartans" by HF McClintock is an old but good book of primary sources.

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:15 pm
by Celtic Britain
Thank you for your recommendation, I am afraid the link is somewhat to old for our period (14th century), but I'll look at that book!

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:55 am
by zauberdachs
Celtic Britain wrote:Thank you for your recommendation, I am afraid the link is somewhat to old for our period (14th century), but I'll look at that book!


Good luck and please post your results, I for one would be very interested.

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:41 pm
by Celtic Britain
Okay, I'll remember posting it here :) We just ordered the book on Gallowglasses by Sean Duffy, I suppose this will tell something on clothing too.

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:09 pm
by zauberdachs
Celtic Britain wrote:Okay, I'll remember posting it here :) We just ordered the book on Gallowglasses by Sean Duffy, I suppose this will tell something on clothing too.


Not so good for Clothing and based on the later sources I'm afraid but still a good read. 1314 is a little before the Galloglas I think.

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:35 pm
by guthrie
Who exactly was in charge of and living in the islands at this period?
Knowing the answer to that would suggest what sort of female clothing would be worn.
On the other hand, if it isn't something like linen shift and woollen dresses with a belt, and a hood for outdoors when it gets a bit colder I'll be really really surprised.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:01 am
by Celtic Britain
Yes that's true. I believe Harris and Lewis were a mixture of Vikings and Celtic Scots, influenced by the Irish ... So I think of making a léine, without the big sleeves

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:47 am
by Colin MacDonald
Celtic Britain wrote:I found this one very useful and this one too.


Thanks, I hadn't seen them. The Da Negad page is very interesting and compellingly written, but both pages cite primarily 16th century sources, and seem fairly liberal with their inferences.

As you're doubtless well aware, this is a subject and a period that has very few primary sources, but a wealth of later commentators, who as a general observation seem to have a tendency to draw inferences and create suppositions way beyond what the meager evidence supports, depressingly often doing so in a definite and authoritative tone with no hint or suggestion that they are speculating.

In short: no, I don't know of any good sources for female dress in the Western Isles in 1314. Unless we suddenly turn some up, I think you'll have to draw your own interpretations.


Celtic Britain wrote:Yes that's true. I believe Harris and Lewis were a mixture of Vikings and Celtic Scots, influenced by the Irish ... So I think of making a léine, without the big sleeves


That sounds both plausible and reasonable. It's great to see someone being conservative in their interpretation, rather than pushing the 15th and 16th century sources back willy nilly. ;)

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:46 pm
by Celtic Britain
I was already afraid about that, but I will be okay, just recieved a pdf-file of clothing of early medieval Ireland.
So what about footwear? I tend to turnshoes, but I am not even sure whether they wore shoes or not.

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:50 pm
by guthrie
Going purely by the recent modern period and what little I know about the period in question in that area, I suggest barefoot for summer and turnsoles for winter. Or maybe those shoes made out of untanned hide.

Hang on a minute, do we have any records at all for tanning or importation of tanned hides into the Western Isles? Probably not.

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:48 pm
by Celtic Britain
No I don't think so, but it's best I think to look to the surrounding countries and draw your own conclusions.

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:48 pm
by Colin MacDonald
WARNING! <SPECULATION>

Since the gallowglass were (in some periods) paid in cattle, I'd be very surprised if the hides weren't used for some purpose, especially since they come with a tanning kit (their brains).

Unless they used them raw as shield edging or dog chews. ;)

</SPECULATION>

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:09 pm
by Celtic Britain
Indeed, that speculation of yours is not so bad :P By the way, they can have had bare feet in summer, but that would be so cold nowadays ...

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 6:10 pm
by Cat
I did a lot of research for the group that I started re-enactment with, which was a galloglaich/kern unit. Ours was based around 1470, so is a bit late for you. I can't remember the source, as it was 14 years ago, BUT the Elizabethan English commentators wrote about the 'wild' Irish going unshod or making the untanned hides of their cattle into brogues, which they wore until they disnitergrated.
They would also make a big old stew of beef for feasts, by boiling up all of the bits and bobs of meat in the cow-hide. Dinner for the whole party, hope you like beef!

I also recall the C16th Durer style woodcut, linked to a contemporary description of Irish noblewomen following the fashions of the English women but being a good 20 years behind the times, and the fashion of the hair worn uncovered for married women, with an onion-shaped topknot and the hair falling loose under that.

I'm sorry I can't help with the sources. Good luck!

Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:16 pm
by Celtic Britain
Sadly that is indeed to late.
We just finished our first léine! :D

Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:27 pm
by Lady Cecily
Scandinavian sources are cruical, the sea is the unifing factor of the culture;

Finds from Medieval Greenland

Marc Carlsons site has a lot of the scandiavian bog finds. Make sure you look at the Moy Bog dress from the earlier link.

Are you British based? Doh, I've just seen you're based in the Netherlands. There is a growing number of early 14th century people around - quite a few of which have posted on this thread already.

Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:01 am
by Colin MacDonald
Lady Cecily wrote:Scandinavian sources are cruical, the sea is the unifing factor of the culture;


So we (quite reasonably!) assume, but do we have much actual evidence of it in and after the 14th century? We're talking specifically about the Hebrides here, not Zetland.

I don't mean to be combative or even to disagree, I'd just wondering what I'd say if challenged on this assumption. ;)

Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:30 pm
by Brother Ranulf
AFAIK the make up of what we now term "Scots" has always been a considerable mix of different ethnic groups and influences. Consider the structure of the Scots army at Northallerton in 1138:

* Saxon settlers from lowland Scotland, descended from refugees from Norman rampages in Northern England or dispossessed Saxon nobles
* Danish settlers from lowland Scotland
* Norman followers of the Empress Matilda who had shifted their allegiance to David of Scotland and had been granted lands and titles in Scotland
* Galwegian/Highland descendants of the Picts
* Norsemen from the far Northern Isles
* Celts from western Scotland

No wonder King David had such a hard time controlling these troops. This ethnic mix would still have been in place (albeit much more closely linked) by the 14th century.

I am certain that all of these people would have influenced clothing styles throughout the country.

Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:01 pm
by Lady Cecily
Colin MacDonald wrote:
Lady Cecily wrote:Scandinavian sources are cruical, the sea is the unifing factor of the culture;


So we (quite reasonably!) assume, but do we have much actual evidence of it in and after the 14th century? We're talking specifically about the Hebrides here, not Zetland.

I don't mean to be combative or even to disagree, I'd just wondering what I'd say if challenged on this assumption. ;)


Naughty, naughty Colin. I can't tell you that - it would take a lot more reading and I don't have time. Suffcient to say that people are so surprised when you tell them this they don't bother questioning it.

Boats - boat style is probably the answer, housing plans as well - I'm rambling. I'd need to read some reports from dig sites in the islands.

Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:57 pm
by Celtic Britain
Lady Cecily wrote:Scandinavian sources are cruical, the sea is the unifing factor of the culture;

Finds from Medieval Greenland

Marc Carlsons site has a lot of the scandiavian bog finds. Make sure you look at the Moy Bog dress from the earlier link.

Are you British based? Doh, I've just seen you're based in the Netherlands. There is a growing number of early 14th century people around - quite a few of which have posted on this thread already.


Thank you for the links! I have already a book on the Gallowglass' history, but I didn't start reading yet :oops: I suppose this will be useful too.

In the Netherlands, there are also 14th century groups but they walk happily around in KILTS .

Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:15 pm
by Lady Cecily
Celtic Britain wrote:

In the Netherlands, there are also 14th century groups but they walk happily around in KILTS .


We have them here in the UK too :cry: