From Scottish Homespun to Modern Battledress

by Anthony Partington

Hodden Grey, with its Gaelic ancestors lachdann and lachtna, is an ancient Scottish homespun and woven fabric, made of natural coloured wool, worn primarily by the peasant class. What is little known is that the Scottish peasants were forced to develop breeds of sheep, now considered rare breeds, to satisfy the cultural and social demands of the various areas and peoples until the early 18th century.

Early Gaelic custom and medieval Scottish law imposed single colour fabrics on the peasantry but the colour varied from place to place. Selective breeding from the primitive north European vari-coloured short-tailed sheep over the centuries produced the local colour preferences of Hodden. The full extent of the story of Hodden Grey and its ancestors from antiquity to modern day is told in Hodden Grey: From Scottish Homespun to Modern Battledress.

Background image: Teague village on the Sleat peninsula, Isle of Skye, Scotland

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