The Cornish conspiracy

In regards to the Kilt being used outside of Scotland, I thought I would attempt to set straight the record. And as such, decided to focus on its use within the cultural revival of the Cornish.

So first, let’s address some of the adamant assertions to the former, which I encountered researching this, shall we?

Correcting the delusional Cornish fallacy

Bagpipes have been part of Cornish folklore since time immemorial but the Celtic revival of the twentieth century has encouraged use of the instrument both ceremonially and as a sympathetic medium for our traditional music. This is especially the case for older tunes which have that modal feel and  a resonance with the musical traditions of our fellow Celts in Brittany and Wales” asserts one ‘Cornish Kilt and Tartan’ website.

Time immemorial, really? 500 years isn’t exactly that long buddy, but whatever. First, let’s talk about this deliberate omission of Scotland in the statement ‘our fellow Celts in Brittany and wales’ and lets be clear, this is certainly deliberate, and is used as a means of reinforcing the belief that the Bagpipe is as ingrained an instrument to these regions, as it is to Scotland; as though these areas are instantly associated with the instrument. By doing this, you seek to weaken its association with Scotland, by means of which to strengthen your claim to it. It’s our national instrument, you can play it, but it is ours.

Fun fact: In almost every photograph of Bagpipes being played by the Cornish, Welsh etc., the instrument in question is the Great Highland Bagpipe, which originated in Scotland, and which is incredibly far removed from the earlier, more primitive pipes that would have been played by the early Cornish, and other peoples.

but it was the Celtic revivalists of the twentieth century that embraced tartan as an expression of Cornish national identity” Asserts yet another Cornish website.

Tartan is, of course, an ancient textile/pattern, and has appeared all across the world, and used by many cultures. But, unlike the Cornish/Welsh/Irish, these other cultures and nations realize that the use of named/Clan Tartans has no basis in pre-history, or even the medieval period, but came about in modern Scotland. There simply cannot be any Cornish Tartans, for they never existed. This is factually true.

The ‘Cornish National Tartan’ was designed by Cornish Bard E.E. Morton-Nance in the 1960s The kilt is described as ‘black and saffron’” prolcaims another.

Exactly, you designed a Tartan well into the 20th century; whereas, the tradition first began in Scotland, in around the year 1822; nearly 150 years prior. It is undeniably a part of, and only of, Scotland’s culture, and that is a fact you cannot hide from.

Checked cloths can be seen worn by fisherfolk in the Newlyn paintings of the 1880s and 1990s, so it is inspired by history” says Davey, “but modern tartan was invented in the 1960s. It’s a postmodern experience – people wear it to demonstrate their Cornishness; they aren’t worried about whether the tradition is five years old or 500 years old.” Created by the poet EE Morton Nance in 1963, traditional Cornish tartan is black and gold with slim red-and-blue stripes. Worn at rugby matches, weddings and ceilidhs, its popularity has surged, he says: “as part of a growing interest in Cornish language and identity that has been enjoying a revival in the 20th century“.

Wow, so there you are, ladies and gentleman, straight from the horse’s mouth. They actually acknowledge that it isn’t a part of their heritage, yet also don’t care. They’re happy to delude themselves.

Fun fact: a Cèilidh is a Scottish and Irish social gathering, and has nothing to do with being ‘Celtic’. Yet here we are again, with the Cornish simply ignoring this and passing it off as a part of some intrinsic part of their culture. : “The earliest historical reference to the Cornish kilt is is from 1903 when the Cornish delegate to the Celtic Congress, convening at Caernarvon, L Duncome Jewell appeared in a in a wode blue kilt. John T. Koch in his work Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia mentions a black kilt worn by the Duke of Cornwall’s light infantry in combat., this may be similar to the saffron kilt worn by Irish regiments – as a result of the higland dress craze of the early 19th century

It’s spelt; Highland, but I’ll let it slide this time. Anyway, what is hoped to be proved by this statement? That the Cornish Kilt is a symptom of the Highland craze, and if that is so, then surely you have just admitted to that being the catalyst of this whole fiasco? That the Kilt is from Scotland, and that you have simply copied it. You’ve done my job for me…

Like other Celts the Cornish have kilts and tartans. The Cornish kilt is plain black but you can also get kilts in other Cornish tartans” States this deluded fucker from

Dear god and the almighty Wallace…are these people really that ignorant? Look, I don’t really wanna have to explain it again, and again, and again; but here goes: the kilt, and the use of identifying Tartans, is a MODERN tradition, ORIGINATING IN SCOTLAND. This is FACT…Jesus Christ; this isn’t a lie, or a fantasy. Simply educate yourself, and then I won’t have to raise my voice.

Here are some more.

What is known is that among the medieval treasures of the county are carved bench ends, which can be found in Altemun and St Winnow churches”

“These carvings depict men dressed in what appear to be kilts, with one figure appearing to play the bagpipes

So the wearing of the Cornish kilts is well established in their Celtic heritage confidently states.


Right then, with that taken care of; below are the main three examples put forward as ‘Proof’ of the Cornish Kilt, which I’ll subsequently deconstruct using my awesome skills in MS paint, for your pleasure.

The evidence (Or lack thereof)

First, here’s the big gun, the main weapon in their arsenal.

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, as the saying goes

So, if they’re only going to go and solely base their entire cultural revival on just these carvings alone, then by going off of their logic, Cornwall was once populated by mermaids, as this carving irrefutably, undeniably, and beyond a shadow of a doubt proves.


Now, onto the second carving I found from within the St. winnow church, which depicts a full-body carving, showing a seminude figure (perhaps a wild man) whose modesty is swaddled, or wrapped, in cloth or some such fabric. This is clearly not a Kilt, for the small kilt did not exist when this carving was produced (It is also far too small), but is instead a result of medieval carpenters unwilling to have a naked man showing off his goods in the middle of a church. It is nothing more than an artistic choice with which to avoid scandal. You can clearly see this for yourselves below.


To help you out, here are similar examples of wild men as depicted across Europe. Note the similarities?


Moving on you will find a carving of a Cornish piper playing a double chanter bagpipe with a single base drone, from sometime around the 1600’s. This is one of the main examples put forward to reinforce the idea of Cornish kilts. Firstly, the bagpipe, in whatever form it may take, is not intrinsically tied in with the kilt. One doesn’t require the other to function properly. Secondly, the Bagpipe never even originated in Scotland; the Great Highland Bagpipe, howeverdid; so it is safe to assume that many cultures, and not just the ‘Celts’, used the instrument in some form or another. No one is disputing that, yet the kilt and the Bagpipe are not mutually exclusive, with the former just happening to have been worn by Scotsmen whilst playing the latter, and inadvertently kicking off a tradition. Simply put, the carving below depicts nothing more than a figure in period dress, and playing what was most likely a common instrument of the time.


Side note: James Merryweather, in regards to depictions of Cornish pipers, emphasizes that iconography of double chanter bagpipes is not unique to Cornwall, and that the term ‘pipes’ does not necessarily imply ‘bagpipes’


So, given all of the above, what I can’t seem to get my head around, is why these people want so desperately to believe these flimsy lies? And so much so, that they actively ignore the facts right there on front of them; opting to continue lying to themselves instead. It simply doesn’t make sense to me. What is it about the Kilt that drives this obsession of theirs, then? Is it that they just really like wearing skirts, but are too embarrassed to strut through the town loud and proud, so get their kicks by wearing Scotland’s national dress as some sort of socially acceptable intermediary step to fulfilling their cross-dressing desires?

Of course it isn’t. That’s just ridiculous. So why do they do it? Well, for me, I truly believe that it stems from a lack of national identity, perhaps even pride, or a kind of nationwide identity crisis. For without the kilt, what are they, who are they?

The answer: Just another region with a ‘Celtic’ ancestry, but nothing that immediately announces this to the world around them. Wales and Cornwall are tiny regions, whose impact on the world barely registers. There is nothing that defines them as a people, nothing that is instantly recognizable as being Cornish, or Welsh for that matter. And therein lays this need of theirs to shamelessly steal a separate cultures heritage.

They do not understand themselves. They have no self-belief. They lack confidence. They are an insecure. They are fantasists.

Cinead MacAlpin.