The last book written by the late Lord Dacre of Glanton also states that the Declaration of Arbroath, which confirmed Scotland’s independence in 1320, is plagued with inaccuracies and details of “imaginary” kings.
He argues that Scotland’s literary, cultural and political traditions, which are claimed to date back from Roman times, were largely invented in the 18th century.
The book, titled The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History, is to be published at the end of this month, five years after Lord Dacre died of cancer.
Its controversial findings debunk many of the cultural arguments for Scottish independence, and are likely to fuel the current heated political debate over the country’s constitutional future.
Lord Dacre, formerly Hugh Trevor-Roper, concludes in the book: “In Scotland, it seems to me, myth has played a far more important part in history than it has in England.
“Indeed, I believe the whole history of Scotland has been coloured by myth; and that myth, in Scotland, is never driven out by reality, or by reason, but lingers on until another myth has been discovered to replace it.”
He claims that the “myth” of the ancient Highland dress was perpetuated by historians to provide a symbol by which Scots could be universally identified, as well as to support the country’s textile industry.
The traditional dress of the Highlanders was in fact a long Irish shirt and a cloak or plaid, he states, and only the higher classes had woven in stripes and colours creating tartan.
“The kilt’s appearance can, in fact, be dated within a few years,” he reveals in the book.
“For it did not evolve, it was invented. Its inventor was an English Quaker from Lancashire, Thomas Rawlinson.”
He claims Mr Rawlinson decided to shorten belted plaids after workmen in the Highlands, where he was staying, said they were uncomfortable.