What strange garments priests wear!

The New Liturgical Movement has just produced a fine article on the almuce, a garment worn by cathedral canons of some dioceses over the surplice or rochet. I read theology at Fribourg University (Switzerland) in the 1980's and saw canons of the cathedral still wearing this amazing garment.

A comment to this article tells us:

In England the almuce developed into two garments (or a garment in two parts).

The academic hood is decended form the almuce, and also the preaching scarf which has also been know as a choral tippet. An English cleric in choir habit should wear, on top of the surlice, an academic hood to which he is entitled and a black preaching scarf.

Untill the 18th century the hood had a full shoulder cape, but when the clergy affected wigs they could not get the hood over their heads. The cape was split down the fron and the garment thrown over the back. Judges stil wear the more primitive form of the hood, and wear it with the scarf, which is decended from the pendants of an almuce.

In the 19th century the Warham Guild attempte to restore the academic hood to its former shape. Some robemakers will make a hood in the Warham shape if requested.

British Armed Forces Chaplains of all denominations wear a scarf with chaplaincy badges and medals. Medals because the scarf/tippet/almuce is an ornament of peronal dignity and not a sacerdotal vestment – not a stole. Some chaplains have confused this.

Here is a Wareham Guild hood worn with full surplice and choral tippet (scarf). 

Author: Fr. Anthony Chadwick

Father Anthony Chadwick was born in the north of England into an Anglican family. He was educated in one of the Church of England’s most well-known schools, St. Peter’s in York, at which he was nurtured in the Anglican musical tradition. After several years studying and working in London he studied theology at university level in Switzerland, Italy and France. Still living in France, he has been a priest of the Traditional Anglican Communion (under Archbishop Hepworth) since 2005. Fr. Chadwick is charged with chaplaincy work among dispersed Anglicans in the north of France, is married and lives in Normandy. His interests outside the Church and directly religious matters include classical music, DIY and sailing. As a non-stipendiary priest, he earns his living as a technical translator.

2 thoughts on “What strange garments priests wear!”

Leave a Reply