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"Did Scots wear trousers?" Topic

11 Posts

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Groundcloths & Battlesheets

Wargame groundcloths as seen at Bayou Wars.

983 hits since 27 Mar 2019
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

AegonTheUnready Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2019 8:07 a.m. PST

In particular, Scots of the 14th to 15th centuries? I'm painting a bunch of Scot spearmen (as one does), and wondering about the legs. I know they should probably look just like their southern neighbors, but I vaguely recall some historical mention of "bare-legged Scotsmen", so i thouht I should ask TMP>

Personal logo rampantlion Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2019 8:12 a.m. PST

They would have for the most part looked like their southern neighbors, however, I can't help but add some "shaggy", bare legged guys to my Scots armies. I do think late 13th century Scots in Wallace's army might have looked a little more ragged (Falkirk and Stirling Bridge), just my opinion. They fought more of a hit and run guerilla type campaign which seems a fitting of a more lightly armored, bandit type force than a traditional western European medieval force. Chris Brown may soon chime in against my thoughts and he is very well educated on the subject.

bsrlee27 Mar 2019 9:56 a.m. PST

Lowland vs Highland Scots – Lowlanders dressed basically the same as their contemporary English/Europeans, Highlander Scots tended to be the more naked and feral types due to simple economics but their leaders would have looked more like Lowlanders. Both 'types' could be found in national armies and would have grouped together by region, so blocks of Lowlanders and blocks of Highlanders rather than a mixture (Hollywood finds this too boring).

Nick B27 Mar 2019 11:01 a.m. PST

Kilts are a relatively modern invention dating back only to the 16th Century. Everything else is myth and Hollywood!

Personal logo rampantlion Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2019 11:18 a.m. PST

No kilts, however highland contingents might have a plaid tunic on.

bandit86 Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2019 11:31 p.m. PST

They wore trews

uglyfatbloke28 Mar 2019 8:55 a.m. PST

BSRlee….no reason to think that highlahd soldiers looked any different to lowland ones or English or French ones for that matter. Rampantlion no reason to think anyone would be wearing plaid tunics either, but it might look cool and help to distinguish units. Also..'guerilla' is not a very useful term for medieval warfare would we call a massive chevauchee a 'guerilla' operation? Medieval wars in Scotland worked just the same way as everywhere else, so the vast majority of the day-to-day business was either sieges or (mostly small) clashes between parties of men-at-arms. Finally, think 'hose' rather than trousers/trews/britches and you won't go wrong and avoid barelegs or a lack of shoes.

Personal logo rampantlion Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2019 10:03 a.m. PST

Chris, do you know of any contemporary descriptions of the highland forces that fought with the Scots armies during the wars of independence? I'd love to read some accounts. It seems quite difficult to find much from the chronicles dealing with the common man. Was there anything surviving from the English after the Falkirk campaign describing the appearance of the Scots army?

uglyfatbloke28 Mar 2019 1:50 p.m. PST

No need to describe them since they did n't look any different to Lowland or English troops; had they been distinctive that would get a mention. That said, there's no particular reason to assume that there were Highland troops (in any number anyway) at Falkirk or Stirling Bridge or at Bannockburn. Bear in mind that the Lowland/Highland division in the 13/14th C was primarily linguistic not cultural. This is true of many medieval counties – not that many French people spoke French.

Personal logo rampantlion Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2019 2:47 p.m. PST

I have never heard of a reference of highlanders at Falkirk or Stirling Bridge either, just curious since the English won Falkirk and did a nice roll of arms if they had also described the Scots army somewhere. As for Bannockburn, wasn't Angus Og Lord of the Isles present?

uglyfatbloke29 Mar 2019 5:03 a.m. PST

Quite possibly not. Barbour says yes, but nobody else mentions him and I'd say there was a strong possibility that he and his force would have been in the south-west to disrupt supplies/troops coming to Edward II from Ireland.

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