the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, 1951-52 and
[comments in square brackets are not in the original text
but have been added for clarification]
HENSHALL, AS (1951-52) EARLY TEXTILES
FOUND IN SCOTLAND Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot Vol LXXXVI pp1
- 29 (extract)
25. Fisherrow, Musselburgh, Midlothian. P.S.A.S., LXXXV
(1950-1), 177. On five coins from a hoard, the latest of
which was dated 1646, were slight traces of cloth.
a. On three coins. Weave, 2/2 twill, about 22 per inch,
b. On two coins. Weave, plain. Both yarns Z, c. 40 x 48.
Linen. Fine and regular.
26. Dava Moor, Cromdale, Morayshire. (NA 477, 478.) P.S.A.S.,
LXIII (1928-9), 22. [The village of Dava is at the junction
of the A939 from Nairn and the A940 from Forres, north of
Grantown on Spey.] The relics were found, in July 1927,
on a skeleton in the moss with a birch stick laid across
the body. Professor T. H. Bryce examined the skeleton and
reported in a letter of August 5th, 1927, that it represented
a short, poorly developed person somewhat over 20 years
old. The long bones were very short and fragile, the length
of the thigh bone indicating a height of under 4 ft. 10
ins. The sex is doubtful. There was some dark hair still
adhering to the bones.
cap is the most intact item. In general shape it is similar
to those from Barrock and Tarvie, having a brim of double
fabric and a flat crown. In the knitted cap from Dava the
crown barely overlaps the edge of the brim, which has two
pieces of cloth knotted through it. The fabric, the general
shape and the side strings are comparable to the caps of
the 16th century in the London Museum, though similar caps
would probably last longer in the north. The cap from Barrock,
which belongs to the end of the 17th century, is of cloth.
The crown is not much larger than that from Dava but the
brim is hardly more than a roll of cloth: the knitted cap
from Tarvie has an exaggerated crown protruding well beyond
the brim, though not so enlarged as that of the "Kilmarnock"
bonnet of the late 18th and earl 19th centuries. The clothes
are ragged in the extreme, patched and repatched and now
quite formless, [although now considered to be trews after
the style of those found at Dungiven] though the wool is
in good condition. In all there are pieces of at least 29
different cloths, and a piece of knitting as well as the
cap; an analysis of the more important pieces follows.
The commonest weave is twill; there are 15 examples of 2/1,
2 of which are check, and 7 examples of 2/2, 3 of which
are check. Of the 5 pieces of herring-bone, 2 are check;
and in 1 piece the heddling order is reversed, which makes
a row of diamonds in the woven pattern. There is only 1
small piece of plain weave. A very heavy rep cloth does
not have the appearance of having been woven for clothing
at all (PI. IV, 4).
26,c 26, d 26, j
greatest interest of the remains is the diverse use of colour,
though it seems to be confined to shades of brown, green
and red, brown being the background or only colour, red
and green being used sparingly in narrow stripes except
for one piece with a green warp. There are 7 pieces bearing
cheek patterns; these can be divided into three groups.
There are 3 examples of line checks (26 b, c and g). 26
b has a green line on brown with a repeat of 1½ -
1 7/8 ins. sq. Small solid checks, in the case of 26 a,
consist of 6 light and 6 dark threads, while another example
has 8 threads per stripe. Of the large checks there are
no pieces big enough to show if they had any formal repeat,
but 26 d and e show a complex arrangement, and 26 a and
f may belong to this class.
There are also some coloured stripes. One of the 21/1 twins
has two heavy warp stripes 2/5 in. wide divided by a stripe
of the ground colour. Another 2/1 twill has an irregular
warp stripe, single dark threads are divided by 2-9 threads
of the ground colour. Again there may be single threads
of red and green in groups on a brown cloth. 26 h has a
group in the warp, and another 2 /2 twill has a group in
both the warp and the weft consisting of R B B G B B R,
and although there is a considerable area of cloth remaining
there is no repeat, nor does the colour occur at the edges.
These colour stripes are similar to those on 28 g in the
Birsay find. The colour pattern in the rep cloth 26 j consists
of weft stripes in four colours. In the twills there are
three instances with the warp and weft of different shades,
and in the single colour pieces there is a variation from
ginger to black in individual cloths.
There is only one certain example of a patterned edge, where
there are narrow herring-bone stripes and a dark- coloured
stripe against the selvedge. Selvedges occur on 4 cloths,
and are made of: double threads in the 2 outside places,
double threads in the 4 outside places, thick 2-ply threads
in the 2 outside places, no special arrangement. There are
no signs of beginning or finishing edges. In only five instances
is it certain which threads are the warp, but in each case
they are set closer than the weft. In 26 i it shows the
pattern is a true herring-bone and not a wave.
The weaving mistakes are all unremarkable, commonly 2 warp
threads running together, or loose warp threads caught down
All the yarns are Z spun except one twill using S, and in
the rep cloth there is a mixture of S and Z. The counts
vary from 32-18 warp threads per inch. the weft from 24-11.
the average being about 20. The felting varies from one
extreme to the other.
(":Repeated" refers only to the last two colours
a. Check. 2/2 herring-bone. Wa. Z, 25-28, we. Z, 21-24.
Three shades of brown; wa. 6 light, 6 dark alternately,
in places 3 or 5 instead of 6; we. 6 light, 6 dark; in one
part the dark we. are a lighter colour. Weaving pattern,
herringbone stripes do not follow the stripes of the colour
pattern. no. of wa. in each herring-bone vary from 17-2.
b. Check. 2/1 twill. Wa. Z, 30, we. Z, 23. Brown and green;
4 green., c. 31 brown, repeat 1 ½ - 1 7/8 ins. sq.
Cloth rather felted on one side, hard and firm.
c. Check. 2/2 twill. Wa. Z, c. 25, we. Z, 16-20. Two shades
of brown; wa. 16 dark, 48 light; we. 14 dark, 48 light;
wa. repeats pattern at 3 1/4 ins. Cloth delicate, lightly
spun and open, dark threads heavier than light.
d. Check. 2/2 twill. Wa. Z, 24-27, we. Z, 20-23. Two shades
of brown and green., wa. 6 dark. 6 light repeated 5 times,
18 green, 6 light, 18 green, 6 light, 6 dark repeated 7
times. we. 6 dark, 6 light repeated 6 times, 11 green, 5
light, 10 green, 6 light, 6 dark repeated 6 times. Not enough
cloth to see a repeat. Unfelted.
e. Cheek. 2/2 herringbone. Wa. Z, c. 26, we. Z, 21. Dark
brown, light brown, khaki-brown and red-brown; wa. 4R, 6LB,
5DB, 6LB, 6DB, 6LB, 5DB, 6LB, 6DB, 6LB, 5DB, 6LB, 6DB, 6LB,
?DB, 6LB, 4R, 15KB, 4R, 13+KB . . . ; we. 6LB, 6DB repeated
3 times, 3LB, 4R, 16LB, 4R, 13LB, 4R, 4LB, 6DB, 6LB repeated
8 times. Weaving pattern, herring-bone stripes with c. 12
threads in each do not follow colour pattern. Cloth lightly
spun, not enough to see repeat. Very fragmentary.
f. Check. 2/2 twill. Wa. Z, 30, we. Z, 23. Green and brown;
wa. 4G at selvedge, 1 2/5. ins. brown, 6G, 6B, 6G, 2.3 ins.
brown, 6G, 6B, 6G, 56B, 6G, 4+B; we. 4 ins. +brown, 6G,
6B, 6G., 2.5 ins. +B. Selvedge has double threads in the
2 outside places. Cloth is firm with a softer thread in
g. Check. 2/1 twill. Wa. Z, 20-25, we. c. 18. Two shades
of green and brown; wa. 28-30 brown, 6 dark green repeating,
we. 30-32 brown, 5 khaki-green repeating, we. green stripe
faint due to 2/1 twill, wa. repeat 1 5/8 ins., we. repeat
2 ins. Hard, felted on inside.
h. Stripes. 2/2 Herringbone. Wa. Z, c. 27, we. Z, c. 24.
Mid-brown cloth with single threads of green and red at
one side arranged RBGBRBGBR. Weaving pattern, herringbone
stripes do not coincide with colour stripes; herringbone
stripes of 9 or 5 threads between pieces of twill over 2
¼ inss. Wide. Fine and unfelted.
i. 2/2 herring-bone. Wa. Z, c. 30-32, we. Z, 18-20. Green
and brown. Weaving pattern, herring-bone stripes consist
of 11-8 threads, between two there is no displacement. Selvedge
of light coloured threads, double in the outside 4 places.
Cloth is 1 1/2 ins. wide, 5ft. 7 ins. long, with selvedge
the whole length of one side. Fine and firm.
j. Rep. Wa. Z, 6-7, 3 threads together, we. 2-ply, |Z twist,
S spun, 116-20. Black, 3 shades of brown, red-brown, no
regular repeat of the stripe pattern though a number of
narrow stripes are reversed in order to make a definite
pattern within a broad stripe. The wool is particularly
long stapled and lustrous.
k. Knitting. A strip over 2 ft. long, very felted. Stocking
stitch, decrease every 8th st. 5 sts. Per inch. Might have
been the brim of a cap similar to l.
l. Knitted cap, internal circumference 21 ins., brim 1 in
wide, circumference of crown 28 ins. Brown, 2-ply, Z spun,
S twisted. 5.5 sts. on brim and 6.5 sts. on crown per inch,
10 rows per inch. Worked on 4 pins in stocking stitch. Knitting
starts a the inside under edge of the brim with 118 sts.,
increases in the 4th row to 129 sts., decreasing in c. 17th
row to 116 sts. There are 20 or 21 rows in brim. Upper edge
is fastened back to beginning row. The junction of brim
and crown is obscured by felting. Crown must start with
c. 118sts., increases soon after beginning and again in
14th or 15th row making 171 sts., the maximum number. After
12 plain rows there are decreases in every 3rd st. to make
130 sts. After 10 rows decreases to 92 sts. Decreases in
the 7th, 5th, 5th, 3rd, 3rd rows ending with 5sts. It is
extremely felted inside and on the outside where the crown
is hidden by the brim.
27. Tarvie, Garve, Ross-shire. (1935. 208.) [The villages
of Tarvie and Garve are about 3 miles apart, on the A385
Inverness-Ullapool road, and about 9 miles west of Dingwall.]
A green woollen knitted cap on loan from the Scottish United
Services Museum, Edinburgh Castle. It was found with another
not now known [apparently in Inverness Museum], in 1935,
3 ft. below the surface of the peat bog. The cap is slightly
oval in shape, the circumference inside the brim is 21 ins.,
of the crown when flat 33.25 ins. There are two cut slits
under the edge of the crown just above the brim, probably
the position of a brooch or badge. The cap is very felted;
the stitches on the inside are indistinguishable. The outside
appears to have been shaved. Stocking stitch and four pins
have been used. There are 7 stitches and 10 rows per inch.
The knitting seems to have started at the lower inside edge
of the brim with about 103 stitches. The width of the brim
is only 0.5 in., and on its outer edge the number of stitches
has increased to 125.
On this edge where the brim folds back on itself there seems
to be a row of garter stitch. The inner edge of the upper
side of the brim is attached to the brim, but the junction
of the brim and crown are too felted to distinguish the
stitches or ascertain whether the brim and crown were continuous
or stitched together after knitting. The crown must have
started with about 103 stitches, and after 21 ins. it reached
its maximum diameter with 230 stitches. The first row of
decreasing is almost at the edge of the crown. There are
9 rows of decreases between here and the centre 13, 9, 7,
5, 4, 5, 2, 1 and 1 rows apart; the last 6 stitches are
pulled together at the centre of the crown.
28. Birsay, Orkney. (NA 2.) P.S.A.S.,
xvi (1881-2), 11. Some pieces of extremely worn and patched
woollen clothing found. about 1881, with the skeleton of
a girl in a bog. The find has been included with the 17th-century
pieces because of the similarity of the single thread colour
stripes in piece g with those from Dava, including 26 h.
Another fragment of interest is b, which originally had
a pattern of warp stripes but one of the two warps has completely
disappeared; presumably it was of vegetable fibre.
a. 3 pieces of yellow-brown cloth, the largest 16 x 10'
ins. Weave, 2/1 twill. Probable wa. Z, 18, we. S, 13, thicker,
softer and lighter colour. The cloth is very heavy, firmly
woven and slightly felted.
b. 1 piece yellow brown, 9.75 x 10.5 ins. Either the warp
or the weft was made of two materials, one of which has
completely disappeared. There is an edge to the cloth which,
if it is the selvedge, means the warp was mixed. The arrangement
of the stripes is irregular, sometimes the vanished threads
alternating with the woollen threads, but not more than
three of either coming together. Weave, plain. ? Wa. Z.,
18, we. Z, 16.
c. 3 pieces light and dark brown cloth. Weave, plain. Probable
wa. darker, harder spun, Z, 19, we. S, 19. Regular but rather
d. 1 piece light brown cloth. Weave, plain. Count, 20. One
yarn Z the other S. Cloth firmer and more felted than c.
e. Similar to d. Count, 26 x 20.
f. Similar to d, but more irregular. Count, 19 x 23.
g. Light brown. Weave, 2/1 twill. Probable wa. Z, 32, we.
S, 26, lighter spun. Stripes, probably in the wa., consist
of 2 green, 2 brown, 2 red, 2 brown, 2 green threads. This
combination is placed at intervals of 2.5, 4.75 and 4.25
ins. There is a broad green stripe parallel with these at
one side over 1.5 ins. wide.
h. Cloth forming foundation of garment. Largest piece 21
x 171 ins. Dark brown. Weave, plain. Wa. Z, 27, we. Z, 16.
Selvedge has double thread in outside place. Less evenly
spun than other cloths.
29. Quintfall Hill, Barrock, Caithness.
(NA 408-416.) P.S.A.S., LV (1920-1), 213-21 (contains full
report). [Barrock village is just of the A836 Thurso-Wick
coast road, some 10 miles east of Thurso.] Clothing found
on the skeleton of a man buried in the moss: dated by the
coins in his purse to the end of the 17th century.
The bonnet. Dark brown. 2/1 twill. ? Wa. Z, 28, we. Z, 21.
The inside is very felted and the threads quite obscure;
on the outside they are distinct. The bonnet was shrunk
and the nap raised after sewing. One Piece of the brim had
been used with the side with weft threads predominating
to the outside, but the nap is raised on the inside like
are the res t of the bonnet (PI. IV, 3). It is not correct
to say (as in the report) that the bonnet would only fit
a child; it fits the present Keeper of the Museum.
b. The outer coat. Mid-brown. 2/2 twill. Wa. Z, 22-30, we.
Z, 19-23. Width of warp over 31 ins. Selvedge, double threads
in 2 outside places. There are gores in the cloth at the
bottom of both front pieces, with at least 4 extra threads.
The cloth has been rather felted but the nap has worn off
on the front, especially at the waist. The buttons here
and on the breeches are of cloth.
c. The inner coat. Mid-brown. 2/1 twill. Wa. Z. 28-30, we.
Z, 19. Width of warp 27 ins. Selvedge, one side double threads
in 2 outside places, on other side in 3 outside places.
The cloth has been somewhat felted but the nap has worn
off the front. A similar fabric to the plaid. The positions
of the buttons all show very distinctly, and they would
seem to have gone since the coat was buried-possibly they
were of leather.
d. Outer breeches. Dark brown. 2/1 twill. Wa. Z, 27, we.
Z, 15. Width of warp over 26 ins. Selvedge, double threads
in 4 outside places. Cloth very felted inside and very firm.
There has been a lining to the waistband which has totally,
disappeared though the stitching remains. Patched with various
cloths: (1) 2/1 twill, we. with lighter fleece mixed in
it, light weight, felted. (2) Similar, but all dark brown.
(3) 2/1 twill, hard spun, unfelted.
Tapes at bottom of leg: (1) 1 type, 0.75 in. wide, rep with
warp stripe. Wa. fine 2-ply S, we. brown, 2-ply S, 10, thicker.
Warp pattern 4 brown, 4 red, 4B, 4 light green, 2 dark green,
4R, 8B, 2LG 2B. (2) 2 tapes, 9/16 in. wide. Similar, heavier.
We. green, 7 per in. Warp pattern 6B 1G, 1B, 1R, 1B, 1R,
1B, 1R, 1B 1R, 1B 1G, 1B, 1G, 1B, 1G, 1B. The tapes are
similar to that from Gunnister, especially b. where the
use of alternate threads of different colours in a warp
rep makes a design of transverse stripes.
e. Inner breeches. Mid-brown, warp of lighter colour. 2/2
twill. Wa. Z, 24. we. Z. 20. Width of wa. 26.5 ins. Selvedge,
double threads in 2 outside places. Gore of 6 threads above
left knee. Cloth rather felted, worn off in places now.
There was apparently a leather facing inside to the front
opening, a leather pocket to the right of the front, and
the long side slit has been loosely whipped and must have
held a pocket too, and there was a lining to the waistband;
the leather leaves slight traces, in the other places nothing
but the stitching remains.
Linings and patches. (1) 2/2 twill, Z, 26 x 21, unfelted.
(2) 2/1 twill. Z, 30 x S, 18.
f. The Stockings. Mid-brown. 2/2 twill. Wa. Z 27, we. Z,
24. The tops are rather felted, but not much below.
g. Plaid. Mid-brown with dark stripe. Dimensions about 64
x 107 ins. 2/1 twill. Wa. Z, 21-24, we. Z, 18-20. Selvedge,
double in 2 outside places. Felting seems to have been little
originally, but now rather varied. There are no weaving
mistakes to be seen at all.
The plaid is made of 2 identical strips sewn together down
the centre, the warp being 28-33 ins. wide. The dark stripe
is 3-4 ins. wide, 11 ins. from the selvedge at each side;
it is not an even colour, but the inner half is mixed with
noticeably lighter coloured threads. Both ends of the plaid
have been cut, one is hemmed and the other oversewn. Against
the former end is an area of lighter colour which the "shaped
piece" mentioned in the report exactly fits, its long
edge having been sewn to the end of the plaid. Holes of
vanished stitches can be traced round the edge of the "shaped
piece" and round the shadow on the plaid; originally
the "shaped piece" was sewn down on all sides
to the end of the plaid, with the deliberately made hole
in the centre, with inturned edges. The shaped piece was
evidently a later addition to the side with weft predominating,
but was not a patch for there is a patch on the plaid under
it, but no other hole. No explanation of its use can be
Most of the sewing is by 2-4 strand but in places, as round
the shaped piece, the sewing has gone and was probably by
a vegetable fibre thread. There are also the remains of
a patch at the other end of the plaid, which seems to have
been a cloth with a warp of wool and weft of linen. Now
there are only the woollen threads left, Z spun, about 20
per inch, showing the positions of the vanished threads
by a series of indentations.
A piece about 18 x 20 ins. has been cut from the centre
of the plaid shortly before its burial; the edges are quite
h. “Shaped piece." Mid-brown with dark brown
stripes. 2/1 twill. Wa. Z, 24, we. Z, 21. Width of warp
over 32 ins. Selvedge, double in 3 outside places. Hardly
felted. Similar cloth to plaid. Against one selvedge, 1
in. mid-brown 1.25 ins. dark brown. l.25 mid-brown., 5/8
in dark brown. There is a gore of 6 threads against the
striped side and another on the other side. There are warp
mistakes, loose threads and threads running together.
30. Gunnister, Shetland. (NA 1037-1049.)
Clothing and other articles found on the skeleton of a man
buried in the moss. The latest date on the coins in his
purse is 1690 (see pp. 30-42).