'Nemo me impune lacessit'
(None shall provoke me with impunity)

Lord Orkney's Regiment of Foote  

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Uniform and Equipment

For Men's Civilian Fashions visit here:

If you need help with the resizing of period patterns, then visit the site of La Couturiere Parisienne.


Orkney's Uniform



'Clothing, not costume' - we wear copies of period clothes and uniforms usually handsewn as accurately as possible, or copying the construction techniques using existing surviving articles of dress or period tailors patterns (this also applies to our ladies clothes). Our coat patterns are taken from a 1690's Army Tailor's book, with the colours researched from original regimental accounts (see below).
 

Patterns for uniforms and clothing are available from us, and there are regimental seamstresses for those who either find a needle and thread challenging or just wish to expand on their knowledge. Below you will find a guide to regimental uniform, which also shows how much it changed in a 20 year period.

 

 

A few differences should be noted from the later 1745 British Army uniforms:

  • Coats and breeches are still cut in civilian style. Officers have the luxury of wearing the latest fashions in regimental colours. The coat should cover to the knee, hiding the breeches beneath. Breeches must not fall 2 inches below the knee.
  • The pockets are slightly smaller and lower down, a hang-up of the 1670's.
  • The cuffs are at their widest.
  • Spatterdashes (Leg coverings to protect) are still optional to individual.
  • Army hats have only just begun to be 'military cocked', to differentiate between the civilians and serving men.
  • Coats are buttoned all the way up to the cravat.
  • Waistcoats (vests) have sleeves, and also made from wool. Effectively a soldier would be wearing two coats.
  • Buttons are pewter and domed; not flat.
  • Shoes were still the same style as the 1670's, with buckles now replacing laces.
  • Only officers wore wigs. Marlborough introduced the smaller 'campaign wig' into mainstream fashion. 
  • Common soldiers wore their hair loose or tied, which was shoulder length.


Justacorps made in France for the Scandinavian armies, c.1690, ©Stockholm Army Museum 

As with all re-enactment groups, getting the all important equipment and uniform can be, at times, a lengthy progress, especially if you are short of a 'shilling' or two. It is uncommon for new members to be fully equipped within the first year or so. We will help in the building up of your equipment and costume, and point you in the right direction for suppliers of the hardware such as muskets. We also have a limited stock of regimental equipment. In general you should be agreeable to apply for the shot gun and black powder licenses (or already hold one) in order to use the firelocks/flintlock muskets.

The Regimental Colours

The earliest reference to the colours carried by the regiment show them to have consisted of the white cross of St Andrew on a blue ground; in the center, a thistle and crown in gold surrounded by the circle of St Andrew and the motto "Nemo me impune lacessit" in gold. There were several minor variations between the Lieutenant-Colonels', Majors' and Captains' Colours.


The above colours are dated 1745 and were found walled up in a Scottish house in the 20th century. This flag was used at the battle of Culloden by Lord Ogilvy's Foot. Ogilvy served in Orkneys in his youth and perhaps chose the pre-1707 Orkney's colours because he was incensed at the Act of Union which got rid of the traditional cross of St. Andrew. Note how he subtly changed it by moving the thistle and the motto to the top.

The Act of Union in 1707, uniting England and Scotland, brought much change to the structure of the British army. A new flag was introduced for the whole nation, the early variation of the Union Flag [not 'jack'; this is a naval term]. This resulted in the incorporation of the Scottish Cross of St. Andrew with the English Cross of St. George, making a truly unique flag. Orkneys new colours took on the regimental facings and became white with the union flag in the corner, and the thistle and motto in the middle. Records show that some Scottish regiments refused to change flags immediately in 1707, preferring to let the old ones 'wear out' first. In 1742  the flag changed again and took on the Union Flag style, and the pre-1707 crest was deleted. For more information about flags and colours visit here to see a selection of other regiment's colours, as well as a brief outline to flag protocol.

Original Uniform Accounts

The following period extracts are taken from the "Records of the Royal Scots", kindly provided by Lt. Col. R P Mason of the Royal Scots Regiment.

1678 clothing warrant

"A cloth coat lined with bayes, 1 pair kersey breeches, 2 shirts, 1 pair of yarne hose, 1 hatt edged and hatt band, 1 sash, 1 sword and belt for each man."

The predominant colour for hat lace and hat bands was at this time white.

Army List  published by Nathan Brooks, 1684

"The Royal, or Dumbarton's...distinguished by red coats lined with white; sashes white with a white fringe, breeches and stockings light grey; Grenadiers distinguished by caps lined white, the lion's face proper crowned, etc."

The records also describe the beaver hat bound and edged with white tape: coat with white cuffs and lining to the skirts; flat white metal buttons; breeches and stockings grey; garters white; belts tanned leather.

Hounslow Camp, 1685

"Dumbarton's red, lined with white, grey breeches and stockings"

Gerpines Camp, 1692

"..red, lined white."

"1st and 10th Foot.  Red breeches and stockings"

By the early 18th century the hat brim was cocked up on three sides in the familiar tricorn style, the coat fuller and longer in the skirts, worn open at the breast to expose the shirt and waistcoat, and the skirts frequently buttoned back in action.

Gaiters were probably officially introduced between 1725-9, but were worn on campaign in the Flanders mud and privately purchased.  The first mention of issued gaiters for infantry "at two shillings a man" on the clothing warrants is 1735.

Board of General Officers 1708

"A good full bod'd cloth coat, well lined, which may serve for the waistcoat the second year; a waistcoat; a pair of good kersey breeches; a pair of good strong stockings; a pair of good strong shoes; two good shirts and two neckcloths; a good strong hat, well laced.  For the second year:- A good cloth coat well lined as for the first year; a waistcoat made of the former year's coat; a pair of strong kersey new breeches; a pair of good strong stockings; a pair of good strong shoes; a good shirt and a neckcloth; a good strong hat, well laced."  

Unfortunately these worthy gentlemen were more concerned with the quality than recording details for posterity and re-enactors!

"the accoutrements, viz., swords, belts, cartridge boxes, and drum carriages, shall be provided out of the off-reckonings."

"the Sergeants, corporals and drums be clothed in the same manner, but everything better in its kind."

Whitehall 16th March 1708-9 (1709 in the modern calendar)

To colonels of regiments in Flanders, the standard was to be "red coats, with black buttons and button holes". This is confusing as records also show that Orkney's wore white lacings on their coats.

The first official mention of blue facings is in 1742.  A relatively recent plaster model in the regimental museum shows white facings and buff leather cartridge boxes.  The buff leather boxes are borne out by illustrations based on the 1742 clothing warrant, when many regiments had black boxes.

 


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 No part may be reproduced without prior written permission of either the siteowner or Orkney's Regt or other copyright holders whose materials appear on these pages. The opinions contained herein are not necessarily those of the members of Orkneys Regt.

 
 

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