The Duke of York and Albany's

Maritime Regiment of Foote


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The warrant of 1 February 1678 for the Duke of Monmouth's Flanders Expedition is the basis for our uniforms. It describes the clothing of a typical soldier in the army of Charles II.  

..."(A) cloth coat 7 Cited with bayes, one pair of kersey breeches, lined, with pockets, two shirts, two cravats, one pair of shoes, one pair of yarn hose, one hat, edged, one hat band, one sash, and also one sword and belt .... (T)he said clothing be satisifed for out of the off-reckonings of their pay...(at) 53 shillings in the whole for each man."  

The Coat

The outer shell was made of yellow broadcloth, lined with madder red baize, a coarse felt-like wool, and cut from four panels. It was a rather straight, loose knee length cut with little definition at the waist and edges left raw when sewn. The sleeves were turned backed to, or just above the elbow, revealing the lining. The coats had brass buttons from neck to hem, but were commonly unbuttoned below the waist for ease of movement an the march and on in the field. We feel the buttons were 3/4" in diameter, at least 18 down the front, six on each of the side and rear vents, five on each sleeve, and five on each pocket. The pockets were functional and set low on the coat, usually with narrow horizontal flaps. Coats were purchased en masse and probably came out in three sizes: too big, too small, and almost right. If a soldier wanted a better or more personal fit, he would have to pay a tailor out of his own pocket.  

The Breeches

The breeches were of madder red kersey, a ribbed woolen fabric that was once commonly used to make stockings, trousers or breeches. They had full seats and moderately wide legs. Garters were run through the kneebands to tie them just below the knee. The breeches were no longer highwaisted but were cut to ride on the hips. They were secured about the waist with either a sash through the waistband which either tied in the front or with a strap and buckle in the rear. They would be lined with linen or light wool with vertical slit pockets of chamois leather on each side. The fly buttons were identical to the coat and six to eight in number.  

The Hose

They could be of yarn, which was specified in the warrant, kersey, or worsted wool. They were madder red as were the breeches and coat lining and came well above the knee to mid-thigh. In cold weather two pair were worn.  

The Shirt

Shirts were made up from rectangles of cloth and cut very full, especially the sleeves. Neckbands and cuffs were 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches wide and were fastened at the wrists and throat with either ties or small buttons. Linen was a common material but cotton was by this time replacing it as the preferred fabric.  

The Cravat

In the 1660's a bib-shaped falling band was still being worn. By 1670 it had been replaced with a scarf or neckcloth - the cravat. Cravats were five to seven feet long and six inches wide. They were worn folded in half lengthwise and wound several times about the neck, then loosely knotted with long ends hanging down the front of the shirt. Linen was the most common fabric, but muslin, cotton or silk (for the wealthy) were also used.  

The Hat

Hats were made of black felt, with low crowns and wide brims. They were trimmed with gold or yellow galloon, a cheap tinsel ribbon, for royal regiments such as ours. They were cocked up in front or on the side to keep them from being knocked off during drills.  

The Sash

The sash came into military use circa 1673 or 1674 to cinch in the waist of the rather straight cut coats and give the soldier and a smarter look. These sashes, made from white broadcloth, were edged and the ends fringed with the lining color. They were 14 to 18 inches wide and nine feet long. They were worn folded in half lengthwise, wrapped once about the waist and knotted with the fringed ends hanging down (a cravat for the waist).  

The Shoes

The square toed, high tongued shoes were made of brown leather with no right or left foot and 1 to 1 1/2 inch squared heels. Their open sides grew smaller during the period and eventually disappeared by 1680. Madder red ribbons went through the latchets and tied the shoes on over the tongue.  

Capes and Greatcoats

The Warrant of 1678 called for troops to be issued with cloth cloaks lined with baize for inclement weather. There is no indication given to their colour, but it is safe to assume that they were the common army color, either madder red or hodden gray. Each company was also issued a few heavy greatcoats or watchcoats for centinel service (sentry duty).  


Gloves and mittens were not issued to soldiers, but they were necessary in cold and wet weather, and were purchased or "requistioned" by the individual rank and file. They could be either gauntlet style made of brown or buff leather or knit from wool yarn.  


Waistcoats were not issued to the army until the 1680's and possibly not until James' reign. It was strictly an optional item and the soldiers would, upon receiving their annual new uniform, disassemble the old coats and use cleaner interior face for the new outer face. They could be either sleeveless or sleeved and if so, the sleeves needed a tighter cut to pass through the sleeves of the new uniform coat.  

Fatigue or Undress Coat

The yellow and red uniform coat was for dress occasions and not worn every day, but only when on parade and active duty. For work details and off-duty a grey coat of a cheaper grade of wool, often with black lining, was issued to the army.  


One major problem of our period is that no uniform patterns exist before 1742. There were in fact, patterns and these correct or official patterns, as well as cloth specimens, were either loaned or issued to clothiers. There were two copies of these patterns; one was kept in the Tower, and the other was kept in the Strand. Both were destroyed by fires, one in the mid 18th and one in the mid 19th century. Our patterns have been reconstructed from illustrations, paintings, written descriptions, and surviving civilian garments. It must be remembered that, at this time, military fashion was heavily influenced by nonmilitary styles and patterns.  

Replacement of Worn-out Clothing

After enlistment the ordinary soldier was issued a complete uniform, as described in warrant above, and was to receive a new set annually but like his pay this also was often in arrears. He got NOTHING for free and he was required to pay back his colonel for the priviledge of serving King and Country by an off-reckoning or deduction of 2d taken from his daily wage. Often it would take him the whole year to settle this expenditure just in time to replace the now ragged uniform with a new one and be off-reckoned again!  


We have consulted many, many sources, but in particular we want to acknowledge these most valuable sources: The Royal Marines Museum; Andrew Robertshaw and The National Army Museum; John Tincey, whose articles on the army and Monmouth's Rebellion in Military Illustrated and his excellent The British Army, 1660-1704 in The Osprey Men-at-Arms series were extremely helpful; Robert Giglio, who kindly lent his research; and Charles Young; The Cut of Men's Clothing by Nora Waugh; and Handbook of English Costume in the 17th Century by C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington.  


This page was last updated on December 17, 1998.