What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

Moderator: Moderators

jetcuthbertson
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:46 pm

What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby jetcuthbertson » Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:11 pm

Hi folks -

I have a general query that I was wondering if anyone could help me with? In 1746, after the Jacobite rebellion, Highland dress was banned in Scotland. So my question is, what did the Highlanders wear until the Act was repealed? I'm researching for a TV programme on the Highland Clearances, so I'd love to be as accurate as possible in my portrayal!

Thanks.



40/- freeholder
Posts: 122
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:59 am
Location: Tow Law
Contact:

Re: What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby 40/- freeholder » Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:07 pm

There's some extant male C17th garments from bogs in north of Scotland. On display in Edinburgh & published in PSAS by Audrey Henshaw, I think. (File not immediately to hand). They were not wearing kilts, only a plaid over a normal jacket & breeches. The Reconstructing History website used to have an excellent references page for this topic. Haven't looked for a while.



User avatar
Jack Campin
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:26 pm
Location: Newtongrange, Midlothian, Scotland
Contact:

Re: What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby Jack Campin » Fri Sep 11, 2015 8:41 pm

The extent of such bans has been wildly exaggerated. The point was simply to stop people kitting themselves out as an army. It no more banned everyday clothing than the present-day ban on paramilitary outfits interferes with battle re-enactments or Scout camps.

It didn't have much effect on not-so-everyday clothing either. Gentleman in a tartan kilt, probably painted in Edinburgh in 1750:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/446630488022604060/

A society artist like that would hardly have done it clandestinely.

Short answer: exactly the same clothing as before the "ban" was introduced.



Mark Griffin
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 4233
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:28 pm
Location: Wales. Only just!
Contact:

Re: What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby Mark Griffin » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:54 pm

Whilst i wait for Tod or Hugo to add their much more infomed words...

Isn't that Delacour portrait of a lowland loyalist in an army uniform so not exactly highland dress? I thought that the '46 Dress Act was prohibiting the wearing of the more ostensibly highland styles, so the varioius plaid sizes and associated highland items as well as clan signifying tartan?

The actual act wording:

That from and after the first day of August, One thousand, seven hundred and forty-six, no man or boy within that part of Britain called Scotland, other than such as shall be employed as Officers and Soldiers in His Majesty's Forces, shall, on any pretext whatever, wear or put on the clothes commonly called Highland clothes (that is to say) the Plaid, Philabeg, or little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder-belts, or any part whatever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no tartan or party-coloured plaid of stuff shall be used for Great Coats or upper coats, and if any such person shall presume after the said first day of August, to wear or put on the aforesaid garment or any part of them, every such person so offending ... For the first offence,shall be liable to be imprisoned for 6 months, and on the second offence, to be transported to any of His Majesty's plantations beyond the seas, there to remain for the space of seven years.

If you don't have that to wear then you look to France or England for your stylers so normal waistcoat, breeches, stockings and coat, as per any Hogarth etc portrait. The more traditional styles of highland weapons had already been banned in the '16 Disarming Act so that completes the picture if you had an urge to dress up as a laird from the north.


http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.

User avatar
Jack Campin
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:26 pm
Location: Newtongrange, Midlothian, Scotland
Contact:

Re: What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby Jack Campin » Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:01 pm

That wording prohibits the philabeg, which is what the guy in that picture was wearing. (Maybe somebody can identify the tartan? - I don't have a reference handy).

Lots of laws have been passed with no intention of ever enforcing them.



Mark Griffin
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 4233
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:28 pm
Location: Wales. Only just!
Contact:

Re: What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby Mark Griffin » Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:13 pm

but he's in the army, so excluded.


http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.

User avatar
Tod
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2880
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:25 am
Location: A small part of Scotland hidden in middle England
Contact:

Re: What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby Tod » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:47 pm

As you rightly say Highland clothing and tartan were banned. However overnight people were not going to change their cloths and so for sometime and certainly in the more remote Highlands people continues to wear what they had been wearing for the previous 250 years or so. Before the '45 and after there was some serious road building in the Highlands which meant that firstly travel was easier and secondly that the local people got to see and hear about the world outside the Highlands. The consequence of the ban and the roads was that people started to adopt the same clothing as was worn outside the Highlands. That aside some people still wore the old style dress for some time and there are records of people being arrested for it but as the Army weren't the police the courts weren't acting on behalf of the Army and were local some that were arrested were allowed to go free as they were just wearing a checked blanket.
I've simplified this but if you would like to have a chat drop mean email to foxblade4@hotmail.com I lecture on the '45 and Highland Culture in the 17th and 18th centuries.



Mark Griffin
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 4233
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:28 pm
Location: Wales. Only just!
Contact:

Re: What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby Mark Griffin » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:43 pm

Great answer Tod, thanks.


http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.

guthrie
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2345
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:54 pm
Location: Polmont-Edinburgh

Re: What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby guthrie » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:45 pm

Also the clan signifying tartan thing is a 19th century invention.



FionaDowson
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:00 pm

Re: What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby FionaDowson » Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:33 pm

How accurate is Robert Louis Stevenson? If memory serves there's a reference in Kidnapped to people stretching the law as far as possible and simply adding a few stitches to a kilt to make, presumably, something like 1990s culottes. Did he make this up or does it sound likely to people?



User avatar
Tod
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2880
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:25 am
Location: A small part of Scotland hidden in middle England
Contact:

Re: What was worn when Highland Dress was banned?

Postby Tod » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:29 pm

RLS based some of his stories on what happened but I wouldn't put much faith in any references to clothing and culture. People did alter clothing but maybe not to avoid the law as the law was difficult to enforce as it was. no police and those who did judge had little faith in the banning order hence why many of the rich and famous and painted wearing tartan and Highland clothing.




Return to “General History”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests