History of a Kilt

The kilt first appeared as the great kilt, the breacan or belted plaid, during the 16th century, and is Gaelic in origin. The filleadh mòr or great kilt was a full-length garment whose upper half could be worn as a cloak draped over the shoulder, or brought up over the head. A version of the filleadh beag (philibeg), or small kilt (also known as the walking kilt), similar to the modern kilt was invented by an English Quaker from Lancashire named Thomas Rawlinson some time in the 1720s. He felt that the belted plaid was “cumbrous and unwieldy”, and his solution was to separate the skirt and convert it into a distinct garment with pleats already sewn, which he himself began wearing.[2] His associate, Iain MacDonnell, chief of the MacDonnells of Inverness, also began wearing it, and when the clansmen the two employed in logging, charcoal manufacture and iron smelting saw their chief wearing the new apparel, they soon followed suit. From there its use spread “in the shortest space” amongst the Highlanders, and even amongst some of the Northern Lowlanders.[3] It has been suggested there is evidence that the philibeg with unsewn pleats was worn from the 1690s.[4]

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *