Campbell Stirling's Scottish Apparel

By: Kristen Cnossen


Mr. Campbell Lloyd Stirling (1892–1977) bought custom-made Scottish apparel from Glasgow, Scotland in 1962. In 1981, Mrs. Campbell Stirling donated the apparel, along with some Baltimore-made clothing, to the Maryland Historical Society. The donation included a “Prince Charlie” formal jacket of black wool with a matching waistcoat with the label “R.W. Forsyth Ltd./ Edinburgh & Glasgow.” R.W. Forsyth Ltd. was the famed Edinburgh department store that flourished between 1906 and the 1980s. (Mclean, 2015)  The jacket and vest would have been worn over the formal white dress shirt with the label, “Hutzler’s/ Baltimore/ by Hathaway/ 100% cotton.” The Moffet Mills, Scottish-made plaid kilt is the apogee of the apparel; the kilt represents traditional Scottish dress and is made using the characteristic “tartan.” A tartan is a specific woven plaid design that identifies the wearer as belonging to a particular Scottish clan.

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Interestingly, the kilt worn by Stirling was made using the Ancient Campbell tartan, not the Stirling tartan. A pin carrying the Campbell clan crest was attached to the Balmoral cap, as well. The pin features a boar encircled by a belt with the words “NE OBLIVISCARIS,” which is Latin for, “Forget Not.” The Stirling crest is a stag’s head encircled by a belt with the motto, “GANG FORWARD,” which translated to “Go Forward.” (House of Names, 2000-2016) Although the Stirling family is well-known, Stirling’s entire Scottish apparel revolves around Campbell clan attributes.

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More research will be done on the ancestry of Campbell Stirling and the results featured in next week’s blog post, but my best guess is that Mr. Stirling’s mother was a Campbell. Thus, Mr. Campbell Stirling was the product of two influential Scottish families: the Campbell’s and the Stirling’s.


Along with the “Prince Charlie” formal jacket, matching waistcoat, dress shirt, kilt, Balmoral cap, and Campbell crest pin, the donation by Campbell Lloyd Stirling’s wife included a daytime jacket of heather grey wool tweed, a St. Andrew’s lapel button (attached to the daytime jacket), a formal sporran (small purse-like pouch worn in front of the kilt), a kilt pin, formal bow tie, formal hose, underwear, a daytime shirt, daytime tie, daytime hose, daytime sporran, and a sgian dubh (small knife).

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The kilt lies at the center of all of these articles as it could be worn with both the formal and the daytime apparel. The kilt would have been wrapped around the waist, with the pleats in the back, and closed using the leather straps on both sides. A white shirt (daytime or formal) would be tucked neatly into the kilt. Next, the hose (daytime or formal) would be put on and garters (Stirling's look like hair-ties) would be rolled up to just under the knee. Flashes (colored ribbon) would be added to the garters and the hose rolled down to hide the garters, but show the flashes. Flashes, however, were not included with the Stirling donation. The sporran (a leather or fur pouch, we have both) would be worn at the waist, attached using the belt loops in the back, and worn with the pouch front and center. The kilt pin (Stirling's was a simple design, but it would normally sport the clan seal) would be worn 4” from the bottom hem and 2” in from the right side. The sgian dubh (a small knife, traditionally worn for Highlands attire) would be worn tucked just inside the right (if right handed) or left (if left handed) sock. The waistcoat, jacket, and bow tie are self-explanatory.

IMAG0538 (1981.6.1.1, .1.2, .2, & .6; c.1962; Mrs. Campbell Lloyd Stirling)

The end result is shown here without dress shirt, hose, garters, Balmoral cap, kilt pin, bow tie, or sgian dubh, but the effect – that of formal tradition and heritage – is striking.


Please read next week’s post on Mr. Campbell Lloyd Stirling’s family where I will piece together his ancestry and perhaps explain why Mr. Stirling's Scottish apparel donned the Campbell tartan instead of the Stirling.




Mclean, David. "Lost Edinburgh: Reinstating the Forsyth sphere." The Scotsman. January 2015.

"Stirling Surname, Family Crest & Coat of Arms." House of Names. Excerpt from archives copyright 2000-2016.