Letter: All correct on origins of kilt

Click to follow
All correct on origins of kilt

Sir: Both your correspondents James Fraser Wild (letter, 28 November) and Fulton Gillespie (2 December) are correct about the origins of the Scottish kilt.

The ancient "quelt" was indeed a rather short, indiscreet and cumbersome outfit. For this reason the Lancastrian Quaker, Thomas Rawlinson, who employed many Scots producing charcoal for his iron forges, had the military tailor at the Inverness barracks "abridge the dress and make it handy and convenient for his workmen". What the tailor came up with was the "felie beg" or "philibeg", the modern day knee-length skirt and separate plaid combination (as described by Hugh Trevor-Roper in The Invention of Tradition).

Yet despite this heritage I have to confess to a little pride in my own roots, for certainly in Glasgow the modern-day young Scot seems to favour the clans Armani, Versace and Dolce e Gabbana.