I have a friend who is researching what highland/isleman scots would have been wearing in the c14th, so he asked if i could put a request on here for info/sources he could search out, as apprently clothing for that area of scotland in that era isn't well documented ....
thanks in advance
So long as you (or your friend) want to represent a member of the West Highland Nobility dressed and ready for war, the best evidence is written in stone.
^This fellow for instance is Bricius MacFingone, or Gillebride MacKinnon if you prefer. Chief on the Clan MacKinnon, he was Master of the Household of the Lord of the Isles and died at the hands of the MacLeans c. 1355 or so. According to MacKinnon tradition he fought at Bannockburn in 1314, which if true would mean he was likely a teenager at the time of the battle or an old Man when he was murdered. Bannerman and Steer date the effigy as stylistically belonging to the later half of the 14th century, which is in the prime time frame of what your friend is looking for.
^The only addition I would make to the above, is that the heater-style shield is likely more for armorial purposes rather than an accurate representation of what he would have carried into battle. The shields that were actually used by the West Highlanders at this time (14th century) is a matter of some debate - a round shield is most likely, similar to the later viking period is what some people decide to go for. You could even get away with using something approaching a large 17th century Targe (minus the spike). Some would disagree with the later, but it's the approach taken by Seán Ó Brógáin on pg. 49 of Galloglass: 1250-1600
by Fergus Cannan.
^Another example is Lauchlan (the rest of the inscription can no longer be read). Also located on Iona, this dates to the early 1400s. As you can see, not everybody needs a shield
Here are a few more Iona Unknowns - if I remember correctly these are all thought to be 15th century (Not a huge difference in West Highland terms):
Here's another famous image from St. Clement's Church, Rodel, Harris:
^It's from the tomb of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod showing a hunting expedition(c.1450-c.1547]). Also gives a better idea of what those who were a step below the Nobility may have worn.
^This one here is from Iona, showing some regular folks getting ready to butcher a cow.
^Again, another MacLeod, this one from Harris. If I'm not mistaken in my memory, this is the effigy of Roderick, 7th Chief of the MacLeods of Lewis (so mid-15th century).
If you're more into the priestly type, these might be helpful as well:
^Abbot John MacKinnon of Iona (Abbot between c.1467 and c. 1500).
Donald MacDuffie, prior of Oronsay (active c.1538-1554).
At the very least this should give you something to aim for if you intend to be authentic. Unfortunately the written record for the 14th century in the West Highlands is . . .shall we say, somewhat sparse? Particularly when it comes to clothing. The best evidence comes from the surviving examples of West Highland Monumental Sculpture. Secondary evidence comes from much later depictions (such as the famous 1580s woodcuts, Durer drawings, etc), or written evidence, and then extrapolating backwards. The main problem with the later approach is that it is not always from a definitively West Highland, or even Highland context. Often it is taking our best guesses as to what was period appropriate Irish dress, and then applying it to the Western Islanders. Using images from the 1580s to extrapolate what people wore two hundred years earlier in the 1380s in a culturally similar context - well let's just say that the mileage varies depending on who the extrapolater is.
I'll leave with one last image (I promise) showing a feast of the Chief of "Mac Sweynes" in Ireland, from 1581. Braigetori and all!