Historical Scottish Clothing Project
The Pennylesse Pilgrimage

by Sharon L. Krossa

Last updated 27 Sep 2003  

John Taylor was a Londoner who travelled to Scotland in 1618 and later wrote The Pennyless Pilgrimage, an account of his trip, which included a description of Highland clothing.


Unfortunately, at the moment I don't have the details of the original.

Dunbar: History of Highland Dress

Dunbar, John Telfer. History of Highland Dress. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1962. Order hardcover from Amazon.com (used)

Dunbar gives the title of Taylor's publication as:

"The Pennyless Pilgrimage, or the Moneylesse Peramulation of John Taylor, alias, the King's Majesties Water-Poet: How he Travailed on Foot from London to Edenborough in Scotland, not carrying any Money to or fro, neither begging, borrowing, or asking Meate, Drinke, or Lodging." (p. 34)

To put Taylor's observations in context, Dunbar notes that Taylor characterizes his comments as "some serious ... some merry. ... Lastly, that (which is rare in a Travailer) all is true" (p. 34). Dunbar prefaces the following quote from Taylor with "When Taylor came to the Braes of Mar he found a gathering of":

Original English:

"truely noble and right honourable Lords ... and hundreds of others knights, esquires, and their followers; all and every man in general in one habit, as if Licurgus had beene there, and made lawes of equality. For once in the yeere, which is the whole moneth of August, and sometimes part of September, many of the nobility and gentry of the kingdome (for their pleasure) doe come into these high-land counties to hunt, where they doe conforme themselves to the habite of the High-land-men, who for the most part, speake nothing but Irish; and in former time were those people which were called the Red-shankes. [Redshanks was teh name applied to the Highlanders and Irish from their legs being bare to the knee. In his speech from teh scaffold, Raleigh spoke of the Irish as Redshanks.] Their habite is shooes with but one sole apiece; stockings (which they call short hose) made of a warm stuffe of diverse colours, which they call Tartane: as for breeches, many of them, nor their forefathers, never wore any, but a jerkin of the same stuffe that their hose is of, their garters being bands or wreathes of hay or straw, with a plead about their shoulders, which is a mantle of divers colours, much finer and lighter stuffe then their hose, with blue flat caps on their heads, a handkerchiefe knit with two knots about their necke; and thus are they attyred. Now their weapons are long bowes and forked arrowes, swords and targets, harquebusses, muskets, durks, and Loquhabor-axes. With these armes I found many of them armed for the hunting. As for their attire, any man of what degree soever that comes amongst them, must not disdaine to weare it: for if they doe, then they will disdaine to hunt, or willingly to bring in their dogges: but if men be kind unto them, and be in their habit; then are they conquered with kindnesse, and the sport will be plentifull. This was teh reason that I found so many noblemen and gentlemen in those shapes." (p. 34)

Dunbar further indicates "Later Lord Marr put Taylor into a Highland costume, who then joined in the great hunt and enjoyed 'good cheere in all variety, with somewhat more than plenty for advantage'." (p. 35)

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