[MR] Birth of Bishop John Leslie

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Sat Sep 29 03:31:40 PDT 2018

Noble Friends, Especially Fellow Scots,

On this date in 1527, was born John Leslie (d. 1956), later Bishop Ross,
and one of Mary Queen of Scots' major supporters.

I recently mentioned John Leslie in connection with the Ridolfi Plot, a
scheme to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and put Mary in her place. That does
not bear further review today. What is more interesting is what else John
Leslie was up to during and after Mary's captivity. So what does a Catholic
bishop do when he can't return to his see because it is in Protestant
hands? Well, apparently rot in prison a lot. Leslie seems to have been
pretty good at that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lesley .

Leslie also wrote a history of Scotland known as *De Origine, Moribus, et
Rebus Gestus Scotorum*. This book is chiefly of interest to Scadians
because it contains one of the few descriptions of Highland Dress
contemporary to our period of interest:

*“All, both nobles and common people, wore mantles of one sort (except that
the nobles preferred those of several colors). These were long and flowing,
but capable of being neatly gathered up at pleasure into folds. I am
inclined to believe that they were the same as those to which the ancients
gave the name of brachæ. . . . The rest of their garments consisted of a
short woolen jacket, with the sleeves open below for the convenience of
throwing their darts [javelins], and a covering for the thighs of the
simplest kind, more for decency than for show or defense against the cold.
They made also of linen very large shirts, with numerous folds and wide
sleeves, which flowed abroad loosely to the knees.” *

Well, it definitely isn't the kilt, though some claim so. He's actually
talking about the same garment, a large blanket-sized piece of cloth called
a *breccan an faile,* and similar to the Irish *brat*. This was worn as an
upper-body mantle. See the central figure (an Irish *kern*) in the famous
Durer print at
. It is the same garment that was to become the Highland great kilt a few
years later, but worn very differently.

How did I wander so far afield?

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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