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  1. #1
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    Evolution of the Modern Kilt

    A friend of mine is of the understanding that "the modern kilt derived from the Great Kilt being cut in two as a result of the heat in the Carolinas when the Highland Regiments took part in the French Indian War circa 1758." I am no expert but I have never heard of such a statement or claim. I doubt its veracity and it certainly is contrary to what I have understood. Has anyone else ever heard of this?

  2. #2
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    Thats certainly a new slant on things as far as I know.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  4. #3
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    This is a variation on the story that the kilt was 'invented' by an Englishman named Rawlinson who ran the Glengarry Iron Smelter in the early 1730s.

    Not only are there are earlier images showing the feileadh beag but the basic story demonstrates a lack of undrstanding of how 18th century plaids were made. In short, the single width material had to be joined in the first place in order to made a plaid. It doesn't require much though simply not to join the two lengths in the first place. Social-economic changes towards the end of the 17th century are much more likely to have been the catalyst for the development of the feileadh beag than anyone 'inventing' it.

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  6. #4
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    Had not heard the "Carolina slant" to clothing choices or designs (pertaining to kilts). The Indian trade routes were either on the coastal bordering areas where there was plenty of ready food sources and tolerable weather with ease of mobility or along the foot hills of the nearest mountains (first for the reasons mentioned before) and later for the protection of troop movements of the natives during the French-Indian Wars.

    North Carolina was not a good place for the natives to tarry with foreign interlopers setting up forts and settlements. I'm more inclined to believe a practical convention for the design change.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    Not only are there are earlier images showing the feileadh beag
    Hi figheadair I have heard this a few times and when I was searching google I couldn't find any of the early pics. If it's not too much trouble any chance you can post them as I would like to see them.

    I did find this site which was quite interesting

    http://www.tartan.galician.org/kilts.htm
    Most powerful is he who has himself under control

    Your soul is coloured by your thoughts
    ​Marcus Aurelius

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrews Son View Post
    Hi figheadair I have heard this a few times and when I was searching google I couldn't find any of the early pics. If it's not too much trouble any chance you can post them as I would like to see them.

    I did find this site which was quite interesting

    http://www.tartan.galician.org/kilts.htm
    Here's a starter for 10 - the Supporters to the Arms of Skene (1692).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Skene of that ilk-arms 1672.jpg 
Views:	34 
Size:	60.8 KB 
ID:	26998

    I don't put much credence in the Galician claims. A bit of wishful thinking...........

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  11. #7
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    The Q is offline Oops, it seems this member needs to update their email address
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    My own belief is that Rawlinson's invention ( with his probably local highland tailor) was that of converting the loose cloth feileadh beag or mhor held together by a belt round the waist. Into an easy to strap on and keep on, tailored kilt 3 or 4 yard kilt (modern loom measurement) with sewn in pleats. Not the invention of the small kilt, nor the development of today's 8 yard kilt.
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

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  13. #8
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    Articles of interest

    I have found Matthew Newsome's website www.albanach.org to be very interesting and highly educational. Click on ARTICLES along the top tab and then choose your article from the left-hand side.

    Regards,
    Jonathan

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  15. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Q View Post
    My own belief is that Rawlinson's invention ( with his probably local highland tailor) was that of converting the loose cloth feileadh beag or mhor held together by a belt round the waist. Into an easy to strap on and keep on, tailored kilt 3 or 4 yard kilt (modern loom measurement) with sewn in pleats. Not the invention of the small kilt, nor the development of today's 8 yard kilt.
    We don't know exactly when the lleats began to be sewn in but the extant evidence suggests that is likely to have been at the end, rather than the beginning, of the 18th century,

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  17. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    Here's a starter for 10 - the Supporters to the Arms of Skene (1692).
    I should point out that, according to H F McClintock, that drawing dates from the 19th century.

    He says of it:

    The Arms of Skene of that Ilk as figured in Alexander Nisbet's Heraldic Plates, a collection of Heraldic drawings made in the early 19th century but not published until 1892.


    This drawing is said to have been made from a stone at Skene carved in 1672 and shows the Arms of Skene "supported on the dexter by a Highlandman in his proper garb... and supported on the sinister by another in servile habit... all proper."

    Both of the supporters are in trews. The one on the dexter side is wearing tartan trews together with what is evidently intended to be a belted plaid. The other man has what looks like a pair of tattered trews of plain light-coloured cloth, together with tartan stockings. He has no visible plaid, but wears over his trews the supposed kilt which, if it can be so called, is very different from any kilt that we see nowadays, being so short as hardly to reach below the hips, and being pleated in front...


    Even if the drawing does show the fillabeg, it only establishes that garment to the early 19th century. I await a clear photo of the stone itself, which if it clearly shows a fillabeg, would establish that garment to whatever period the stone could firmly be dated to. The wording itself only states "Highlandman" and "servile garb".
    Last edited by OC Richard; 10th January 16 at 11:02 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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