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Martin Martin's Description of Men's Clothing on St. Kilda

by Sharon L. Krossa

©1997-2000 by Sharon L. Krossa. All rights reserved

Last updated 1 Jan 2000

This description of the clothing worn by the men on St. Kilda, the outermost of the the Western Isles of Scotland, is part of an account of a trip Martin Martin made to St. Kilda in 1697, which was first published in 1698.

Martin, Martin, "A Late Voyage to St. Kilda," in A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland Circa 1695, ed. Donald J. Macleod (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 1994), pp. 393-476. (1 Jan 2000 )

"Their habit anciently was of sheepskins, which has been wore by several of the inhabitants now living; the men at this day wear a short doublet reaching to their waste, about that a double plait of plad, both ends join'd together with the bone of a fulmar; this plad reaches no further than their knees, and is above the haunches girt about with a belt of leather; they wear short caps of the same colour and shape with the capuchins, but shorter; and on Sundays they wear bonnets; some of late have got breeches, and they are wide and open at the knees; they wear cloth stockins, and go without shoes in the summer-time; their leather is dress'd with the roots of tormentil.

"The women wear ..." [Description of women's clothing ommitted.]

"Both sexes wear course flannel shirts, which they put off when they go to bed; ..." [Description of how women "thicken their cloaths" ommitted.] (pp. 445-456)

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