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The Celtic Society of Edinburgh, chaired by Walter Scott, encouraged lowlanders to join this antiquarian enthusiasm.The kilt became identified with the whole of Scotland with the pageantry of the visit of King George IV to Scotland in 1822, even though 9 out of 10 Scots now lived in the Lowlands.For battle it was customary to take off the kilt beforehand and set it aside, the Highland charge being made wearing only the léine or war shirt.The exact age of the great kilt is still under debate.The kilt first appeared as the belted plaid or great kilt, a full length garment whose upper half could be worn as a cloak draped over the shoulder, or brought up over the head as a hood. The Breacan an Fhéilidh (belted plaid) or Feileadh Mòr (great plaid) is likely to have evolved over the course of the 16th century from the earlier 'brat' or woollen cloak (also known as a plaid) which was worn over a tunic.The small kilt or walking kilt (similar to the 'modern' kilt) did not develop until the late 17th or early 18th century, and is essentially the bottom half of the great kilt. This earlier cloak or brat may have been plain in colour or in various check or tartan designs, depending on the wealth of the wearer; this earlier fashion of clothing had not changed significantly from that worn by Celtic warriors in Roman times.
The earliest written source that definitely describes the belted plaid or great kilt comes from 1594.Amongst all the politics, murder ballads, and songs about work, the Scots do find time for singing a wee bit about old fashioned romance in their mither tongue!Here's Barbara Dymock and Maureen Jelks singing Mary Brooksbank's on Springthyme Records: Jane Turriff: Rigs O Rye by springthyme Of course, love is not always an easy match.After that point the kilt gathered momentum as an emblem of Scottish culture as identified by antiquarians, romantics, and others, who spent much effort praising the "ancient" and natural qualities of the kilt.King George IV had appeared in a spectacular kilt, and his successor Queen Victoria dressed her boys in the kilt, widening its appeal.
but Rawlinson's is the earliest documented example with sewn-in pleats, a distinctive feature of the kilt worn today.