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> Kilt Of A Warrior, Wallace's leather armor in Braveheart
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Wolfman Jack 
Posted: 10-Dec-2003, 01:33 PM
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I take great pride in my scottish heritage and find great satisfaction in wearing my kilt and other regailia on every occasion I can. My ancestors were scottish patriots banished as indentured servants (prisoner slaves) to North America.

I would like to celebrate my scottish warrior heritage by wearing traditional leather armor (of the kind worn by the scots in Braveheart) with my kilt. Is the leather armor shown in the film Braveheart truly authentic scottish battle garb? If so, where could I find information on how to make it?
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barddas 
Posted: 10-Dec-2003, 02:43 PM
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Greetings Wolfman Jack.

The film 'braveheart' is VERY inaccurate. From battle scences to down what William Wallace's Battle atire would have been. Hollywood has a tendency to bugger history.

Here are a few links that might be of some help.


http://search.netscape.com/ns/boomframe.js...i%2Fwallace.htm

Also here is a brief history of the Kilt from Celticnet.com

History of the Kilt in Scotland

The tartan kilt has long been the most recognisable cultural tradition of the Highland Scots. Therefore, it surprises most people that many of the most recognisable features and traditions associated with the wearing of the kilt have, in fact, been developed in the nineteenth century, not by Scottish Highlanders, but by the Nobles of England and Scotland.

There is much evidence that many of the more recognisable tartans seen today are in fact creations of Scottish and English tailors during the reign of Queen Victoria. Despite this, it has generally been accepted that the basic concepts of the tartan and the wearing of the kilt do indeed have their origin in the history of the early Scottish and Irish clans, or families. It has been demonstrated that certain clans did aspire to a certain uniformity of design for their garments as early as the tenth and eleventh centuries.

The kilt, or philabeg to use its older Gaelic name, that has now become the standard dress for all "Highlanders", has its origin in an older garment called the belted plaid. The Gaelic word for tartan is breacan, meaning partially colored or speckled, and every tartan today features a multicolored arrangement of stripes and checks. These patterns, or sett's, are used to identify the clan, family, or regiment with which the wearer is associated. Although the kilt is the most recognisable of the tartans, it also manifests itself in the form of trews (trousers), shawls, and skirts.

It is generally recognised that the first tartans were the result of individual weavers own designs, then were slowly adopted to identify individual districts, then finally clans and families. The first recognisable effort to enforce uniformity throughout an entire clan was in 1618, when Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, wrote to Murry of Pulrossie requesting that he bring the plaids worn by his men into "harmony with that of his other septs."

After 1688, and the fall of the Stuart clan, and subsequent rise in the spread of Jacobism, the English government felt he need to take a more active interest in the Highland affairs. In 1707,The Act of Union took place, and succeeded in temporarily uniting the political factions and clans that were universally opposed to the Act. The tartan came into it's own as a symbol of active nationalism and was seen by the ruling classes to be garb of extremism. It is also believed that this act of parliament succeeded in uniting, to some extent, the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands, as the wearing of the tartan spread from the Highlands to the Lowlands, previously not known for their wearing of the tartan.

After the rising of 1715, the Government found the need to enforce stricter policing of the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands. A number of independent companies were formed to curtail the lawlessness that had developed. One of the features that distinguished their recruits were the large number of highland gentlemen that enlisted and chose to serve in the private ranks. Many an English officer was surprised to see these Scottish privates attended by personal servants who carried their food, clothing, and weapons. From the time they were first raised, these independent regiments became known as the Black Watch, in reference to the darkly colored tartans they were known to wear.

One of the more famous tales of these Highland companies is told of the curiosity of King George, who had never seen a Highland soldier. Three handsome privates were chosen and dispatched to London to be presented to the King. The King was so impressed with the skill with which they wielded their broad swords and lochaber axes that he presented them each with a guinea. Nothing could be more insulting to a Highland gentleman, but they could not refuse the gift. Instead they accepted the gift, and as they left, flipped it smugly to the porter as they passed the palace gates.

In 1740, these independent companies became a formal regiment, and the need arose to adopt a formal tartan. This became a problem, for what tartan could they choose, without insulting certain clans, or seeming to favour others? In the end, an entirely new tartan was developed and has ever since been known as the Black Watch Tartan. It was the first documented tartan to be known by an official name and possesses the authenticity of a full pedigree. From this tartan has been derived all of the Highland regimental tartan designs and many of the hunting setts worn by other clans.

During the eighteen hundreds, the wearing of the belted plaid began to be exchanged for that of the kilt. The belted plaid, being a one-piece six-foot tall cloth, belted about the waist with the remainder being worn up about the shoulder, was proving to be somewhat inconvenient to wear. A "new", little kilt design became popular, and it consisted of a plaid which had the traditional pleats permanently sewn in place, and separated the lower from the upper half, allowing the upper section to be removed when it became convenient.

By 1746, the Government, weary of being called to quell Highland uprising, enacted a law making it illegal for Highlanders to own or possess arms. A year later, the Dress Act restricted the wearing of Highland clothes. Any form of plaid, philbeag, belted plaid, trews, shoulder belt, or little kilt were not to be worn in public. Punishment for a first offence was a six-month imprisonment, a second offence earned the wearer a seven-year exile to an oversea work farm. Even the Bagpipes were outlawed, being considered an instrument of war. Only those individuals in the army were permitted to wear the plaid, and as a result, it is told that many Highlanders enlisted simply to be allowed to wear their more comfortable traditional dress.

By the time the Dress Act was repealed in 1783, the fabric of Celtic life had been forever altered. The Dress Act had succeeded in altering Highland Society to the extent that many of the old traditions and customs had been lost forever. In spite of the many efforts to revive the traditions, wearing the plaid had become seen as only a nationalistic statement, and was no longer considered a way of life for Highlanders.

The plaid now became more of a fashion experiment for the elite of English society. With the advent of the industrial revolution, the precise manufacturing and replication made possible by machinery, allowed the mass reproduction of the plaid.
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DesertRose 
Posted: 10-Dec-2003, 03:56 PM
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bardda! I am always so impressed by the knowledge you have of many things. Thank you for sharing the history of the Highland dress. I learned a lot.


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Aon_Daonna 
Posted: 10-Dec-2003, 04:06 PM
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I'll try and find the "museum" section of the Edinburgh woolen Mill, they have got puppets depicting the change in that kind of fashion. Some of the sporrans worn by the victorians were.... scary!

Wolfman, I hope you will have fun finding out about the real scottish history, but please, do not go for the stuff Hollywood is depicting. Rather try and find out on your own or ask questions!

Leather armors can be found in all kinds of cultures and I think Mr. Gibsons one was more made for a comfy fit than protection. There are good Leather Armor taylorers for RolePlayers, just go and look them up. Maybe try re-enactment pages as well, if you are keen on a leather-armor.


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andylucy 
Posted: 11-Dec-2003, 07:08 AM
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QUOTE (barddas @ Dec 10 2003, 01:43 PM)
From the time they were first raised, these independent regiments became known as the Black Watch, in reference to the darkly colored tartans they were known to wear.



You know, there is also a theory that they received that particualr sobriquet as a result of their suppression of all smuggling and sheep theiving that interfered with THEIR smuggling and sheep thieving. biggrin.gif I have read this in several secondary and tertiary sources, but never with any referent to a primary source.


QUOTE (barddas @ Dec 10 2003, 01:43 PM)
it is told that many Highlanders enlisted simply to be allowed to wear their more comfortable traditional dress.


While true initially, by the time of the American Revolution most Highland regiments, although starting out the war in plaids, ended up in trousers or breeches fairly quickly. They found this mode of dress more commodious for service in North America. For example, the 42nd RHR, which landed in New York in July 1776, were in trousers of brown "donation cloth" (probably coarse wool or linsey-woolsey) by June of 1777. The grenadier company took delivery of their breeches even earlier, I believe in January 1777 (my reference books and notes are at home sad.gif ) They did bounce back and forth between philabegs/plaids and breeches during the later war, and got back into plaids in 1781 as they sailed from Nova Scotia back to Europe. Most of the primary sources I have seen show that the men could have cared less, so long as they got SOMETHING to wear. New clothing issue was seldom seen, although the goods were bought by regimental agents. They just never got to the soldiers who needed them. As a quick example, the 8th Foot, stationed at Ft Michilimackinac did not see resupply for over 8 years.

For the earlier Seven Years War, Highland regiments again started out the war in plaids, but soon converted to philabegs or breeches, mostly by 1758. On the frontier, some of the kilted regiments combined Native American dress with their native dress, combining philabeg with woolen leggings and center seam moccasins. It must have been quite a sight.

Geez, sorry for that ramble. Just a result of too little sleep and too much reading.

Just my tuppence.

Andy


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Aon_Daonna 
Posted: 11-Dec-2003, 01:27 PM
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I doubt we mind rambles wink.gif
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MedPig 
Posted: 12-Dec-2003, 04:29 PM
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Wolfman, I hope you will have fun finding out about the real scottish history, but please, do not go for the stuff Hollywood is depicting. Rather try and find out on your own or ask questions!

Leather armors can be found in all kinds of cultures and I think Mr. Gibsons one was more made for a comfy fit than protection. There are good Leather Armor taylorers for RolePlayers, just go and look them up. Maybe try re-enactment pages as well, if you are keen on a leather-armor --Aon--

To which I would blink in here as a COMPLETE newbie, and add my $ 0.02, if I might, Wolfman. As a retired cop, keep in mind the reason many police departments used leather jackets for years, was that leather offers exceptional resistance to slashing attacks. It does about SQUAT, however, at something coming straight in at you, especially if the guy has had his Wheaties. I assume you don't plan on having anyone try out your skills as an Armorer, after you finish, correct? (Say "Correct")

The major reason leather has gone away in our modern era is that it can't be disinfected, so if you are a member of SCA, or another such group, watch who leaks on you...


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Aon_Daonna 
Posted: 12-Dec-2003, 05:39 PM
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depends largely on the leather type wink.gif
But then again, moder kevlar vests are quite resistant to all sorts of stuff too, I heard smile.gif welcome MedPig
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Mailagnas maqqas Dunaidonas 
Posted: 12-Dec-2003, 06:35 PM
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One of the advantages of joining the SCA, and going to Pennsic is having the opportunity to learn how to make your own leather armor.
These classes were taught this year:

QUOTE
Beginning Leather Armoring . 12:00 PM, 8/7; 4:00 PM, 8/12:  Examines the role & use of leather & hide as armor or in a combat role both as SCA usage & as historically. Those wishing to work on a simple project need to bring their own leather or hide, all hardware, & leather dyes. Note: A project may not be finished at the class, but I will be glad to help until completed. Class does not include doing wax hardening but will advise & assist. Handout $1.

Cuirboulli: Water Hardened Leather . 2:00 PM, 8/11: How to make armor out of leather hardened & shaped by immersion in hot water--discussion & demonstration.


For those adventurous to try making it on your own, here are some instructions:
http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/perfe...fect_armor.html


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Wolfman Jack 
Posted: 12-Dec-2003, 11:00 PM
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Much obliged to all of you for your helpful comments and information. I'll adopt a more cynical attitude toward Hollywood interpretations of scottish history.
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Catriona 
Posted: 13-Dec-2003, 08:45 AM
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QUOTE (Wolfman Jack @ Dec 13 2003, 04:00 AM)
Much obliged to all of you for your helpful comments and information. I'll adopt a more cynical attitude toward Hollywood interpretations of scottish history.

Hello Wolfman Jack
That would be the best course of action! I have yet to see a Hollywood adaptation of ANY Scots history which is honest and faithful to the facts! rolleyes.gif Why this is so, I don't know.... the REAL history is a fascinating topic biggrin.gif
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maggiemahone1 
Posted: 13-Dec-2003, 09:17 AM
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Hollywood is only interested in what brings the crowd in and a way to make big bucks. So many people are influenced by the glamour and glitz of Hollywood, they start believing what they see as truth, they don't know how to seperate fact from fiction.

My two cents worth... biggrin.gif
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andylucy 
Posted: 14-Dec-2003, 01:49 AM
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QUOTE (Catriona @ Dec 13 2003, 07:45 AM)
I have yet to see a Hollywood adaptation of ANY Scots history which is honest and faithful to the facts! 


Hollywood doesn't just rape Scottish history. I have yet to see a movie about any historical event that hasn't butchered the historical facts. sad.gif

My wife hates going to see historical movies with me. I am not very generous toward mistakes in a movie that I have paid $8.00 or more to get in to see. I very rarely get up and leave during a movie, but during the Mel Gibson flick "The Patriot," I actually did leave. It was so unrealistic a depiction of 18th century life that I was nauseated by it (have I conveyed my feelings for Mr. Gibsons "grasp" of history?). The intermingling of social classes not to mention the "never fail to miss" muskets. Arrggghhh!!!! ranting.gif

Just my tuppence.

Andy
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Catriona 
Posted: 14-Dec-2003, 09:13 AM
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QUOTE (andylucy @ Dec 14 2003, 06:49 AM)

Hollywood doesn't just rape Scottish history. I have yet to see a movie about any historical event that hasn't butchered the historical facts. sad.gif

My wife hates going to see historical movies with me. I am not very generous toward mistakes in a movie that I have paid $8.00 or more to get in to see. I very rarely get up and leave during a movie, but during the Mel Gibson flick "The Patriot," I actually did leave. It was so unrealistic a depiction of 18th century life that I was nauseated by it (have I conveyed my feelings for Mr. Gibsons "grasp" of history?). The intermingling of social classes not to mention the "never fail to miss" muskets. Arrggghhh!!!! ranting.gif

Just my tuppence.

Andy

I have to confess, I walked out of Braveheart too.... biggrin.gif I went with a group of friends and they were 'mortified' at me picking holes in the history all the time...
BAH, HUMBUG.... smile.gif wink.gif
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Aon_Daonna 
Posted: 14-Dec-2003, 01:55 PM
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I know that problem... *rolls eyes* I just am notoriously stingy, I don't walk out of films I paid quite alot for... but I am known to annoy the people around me with snorts and comments about the films... *smiles innocently*
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