Army Sergeant's Sash, 1727-1826
and Indian War -
Length is 72 inches (suitable for
Highlanders as well).
first mention of infantry sergeant's sash with a single stripe of facing colour
in the British Army came in the clothing regulations of 1727.
Regulations were vague on whether it was to be worn over the shoulder or around
This was clarified in 1747 when orders were issued
calling for sergeants to always wear their sashes around their waists.
With the exception of highland regiments, from this point until 1826, the
serjeant's sash changed very little.
there were deviations from regulations from time to time.
For example in
the 1790s some regular regiments issue solid crimson sashes to their men (made
of cheaper floss silk) .
This distinction was reserved for the Guards and
Ordnance Corps and military officials in 1799 found it necessary to restate the
regulations to the regiments.
In the order it was specifically stated that
red faced regiments will wear a sash with a white stripe.
out gives the impression the red faced regiments were the principal ones bending
Even with that, recruiting sergeants are often depicted with
the more showy solid crimson sash, along with ribbons in the shako, to give them
a dressy edge to dazzle perspective recruits into serving king and country.
1802 they did make an attempt was made to regulate the length.
none of the originals that have survived are of this regulation, nor does pictorial evidence bear this out.
In fact it
appears these pattern was sleeved until the next regulation change came along 24
single stripe serjeant's sash was replaced in 1826 with a three strip sash with
cords made in the same fashion as light infantry officer sashes.
years later this pattern gave way to an all-crimson wool girdle sash with hook
and eyes and no knot, tassels or fringe.
Facing colours in the sergeant's
this sash was made by a technique called spranging.
The result was much
like a netting that could widen and contract.
To do this many metres of
woolen cord were placed on a special spranging machine.
machines were made two stories high running through the floor to the lower
idea of having this net construction was that if an officer was wounded on the
field his sash could be used as a stretcher.
The original purpose of the
officer sash's contruction started to lose its meaning when the sash went from
the should to the waist in 1768.
The length was gradually reduced for convenient
the sash of the sergeants was to be worn around the waist, its length was
greatly reduced from the outset.
It is obvious from the various lengths of
surviving sashes, they were intended to go around the waist once.
they were spranged like the officer sashes.
There were a number of
some had fixed knots while others finished with fringe frayed or
today spranging is a dying technique and most if not all the old industrial
spranging machines have disappeared.
Even if the technique could be
economically reproduced, the materials alone, namely the unique cording
material, in each sash would cost hundreds of dollars.
spranging the sash from just strands of yarn but appearance deviated measurably from its original appearance.
we have produced with success a hand-woven wool sash to mimic the contracted state of
It's length of 72 inches
is designed to pass around the body
or over the shoulder for highland regiments, and the
width measurements are from an original sash, as it would have been when tied
around the waist.
We chose the frayed fringe (ends of sash called tags).
The quality of the hand
weaving is simply excellent and a great deal of thought and care has gone into
According to regulations Infantry sergeants were to
tie the knot of their sashes on the left, but during the Napoleonic period there
were numerous deviations to this rule.
Cavalry sergeants wore them on the right, but this was
The knot was worn slightly to the front above the knee
so it did not impede the carrying of the halberd or pike.
(left to right) Black, Navy Blue,
Green, Yellow, Buff, and White
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