Project Canterbury

Lecture Notes for Lantern Slides.

By Percy Dearmer.

London: The Warham Guild, 1922.

The slides for these lectures can be hired in two sections, 1-37, and 38-66, or the whole collection of 66 on nominal terms to cover cost of carriage, etc. Terms and conditions on application to the Secretary, as above.

For One Lecture

By taking all the slides very rapidly, and omitting five or six, the whole set can be got into a lecture of about ah hour and a half or more, if necessary.

For Two Lectures

It will be more useful however, when possible, to use the two sections of 37 and 29 slides respectively for two lectures of about an hour and a quarter each. I. “The Church and its Ornaments,” Slides 1-37, and II. The Ornaments of the Ministers,” Slides 38-66, repeating two or three slides from Lecture I as an introduction to Lecture II. (There are more slides in Lecture I, but the last ten will not take much time.)

For Three Lectures

To divide into three will be even better, for 20 slides supply a fully adequate lecture of over an hour with none too much explanation. The slides might then be arranged thus:—I. “Types of Architecture,” Slides 1-2 (19), 3-15 (24, 2.5), 16-18; II. “The Church and its Ornaments,” Slides (5, 11, 16) 19-37; III. “Ornaments of the Ministers,” Slides (40, 41, 42) 38-66. (The repeated slides are in brackets.)

For Four Lectures

With a little more explanation and a short recapitulation, four good lectures of an hour each can be given. The slides might then be arranged rather differently. For example (the repeated slides being in brackets):—I. “Types of Architecture,” Slides 1-18; II. “Ornaments and the Altar,” Slides 28-37 (5, 7, 11), 19-21 (16)—(17 in all), [as Slides 28-37 take less time, some of Slides 22-26 might be added]; III. “Churches and Vestments,” Slides (19, 21) 22-27, 38-49—(19 in all)  IV. “ The English Rite,” Slides (45, 42, 48, 49) 50-66—(20 in all).

To save repetition and to keep this Leaflet within a possible size, matter contained in the Warham Guild Leaflets is not as a rule reprinted here, but references are given instead. Leaflets 13 and 14 especially should be consulted, also 15 and 16; the others referred to are Nos. 10, 11, and also 5, 8, and 18.


1. Lamps

Christian art began in the 1st century, and there exist to-day frescoes in the Catacombs painted when S. John must have still been alive: among these are pictures of the Good Shepherd (fig. 1), who is shown in this 4th century lamp with the Dove and Jonah on the L., Jonah under the Gourd on the R.

Clay lamps were among the cheapest and commonest of domestic ornaments, and very many have been found with Christian devices, as here. Fig. 2 shows the symbols of the Fisherman and the Fish (baptism), and the eucharistic Grapes. Fig. 3 is Daniel and a Lion, a symbol of deliverance. Fig. 5 (a bronze lamp) is shown to be Christian by the two crosses on the ram, and by the dove: the crosses prove that this lamp is some time after Constantine. This Emperor presented to the Lateran basilica lamps and candelabra which furnished no fewer than 8,730 lights! Candles were used; but, in the account of the Lateran, lamps only were set near the altar, being evidently preferred in honour. It was not till about the 10th century that the clerk began sometimes to put his candle on the altar itself.

Fig. 4 shows a lamp made in imitation of a basilica—the earliest form of Christian church. Note the round arches and the apse.

2. Plans of Basilicas

The Basilica was a Christian invention, and probably was invented in the East, a century or so before Constantine. Christianity, being a religion of fellowship, needed a building that could hold a congregation—unlike a pagan temple. Hence the basilica of the 3rd century. Some of the 4th century basilicas which Constantine built in Rome still survive in a more or less altered condition.

Here are plans of basilicas from the 4th to the 9th century (the type hardly changed at all)—one from the East (Syria), the others from Rome, Ravenna, and Parenzo in Istria. Note the narthex, aisles with colonnades, and apse.

3. S. Vitale, Ravenna

Another early type of Christian architecture was the round, or rather the “central” church, built originally to protect and honour some sacred spot, or the font, or a tomb. Constantine, early in the 4th century, built such churches over the sacred places at Jerusalem—the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (326) and the Church of the Ascension. These are gone, but the church which he built as the mausoleum of his sister, S. Costanza in Rome, still survives. It was early used as a baptistery. Indeed the most general use of round or central churches was as baptisteries. But magnificent Byzantine churches of this type were built later, of which the best known is S. Vitale, Ravenna (526-47). This is a view across the octagonal church. Note the beautiful Byzantine capitals; also the glimpse into the apse where the altar is, and the original 6th century mosaic.

4. S. George, Ezra

A Syrian example of the “central” church, with an apse for the altar. One of the many ruined churches in this part of Asia, discovered during the 19th century in Syria, it is not round but octagonal and had the altar, not in the middle, but in an apse. These remarkable Syrian churches (mostly of oblong basilican plan) were built between 372 and 609, when their flourishing towns were utterly destroyed by the followers of Muhammad. Near Antioch there are 100 of these ruined churches in 100 square miles. The date of S. George, Ezra, is 515. Note the “central” plan, modified by a sort of chancel attached, and an apse beyond. Note the dome, which became a great feature in Byzantine architecture, and was revived in Renaissance architecture: e.g. S. Paul’s Cathedral. Much of the early Romanesque architecture of England and France is now proved to be derived from the ancient Churches of the East—Syria, Armenia, and even Egypt.

5. Parenzo Cathedral, Istria

Within the apse stood the altar, and round its curved walls were seats for the clergy. The celebrant took the westward position. Over the altar was the ciborium, a canopy between the columns of which hung four curtains. The ciborium continued in Romanesque architecture down to the 12th century, and later it became again a feature in Renaissance churches. The altar was regarded as too sacred for anything to be on it except the vessels and book, and linen cloth; and the celebrant faced the people with nothing to hide him from them except when the curtains were drawn. This church is 6th century, but the ciborium is 1277. Note the very fine mosaics (see Slide 19).

6. S. Agata, Ravenna

A charming example of a basilica, dating from the 5th century. The ciborium however has gone, and the apse has been pierced with windows. This basilican architecture is very suitable for modern requirements. Note the pews, which do not block up the church and spoil it in modern fashion. Anciently there were no seats the people stood, as they still do in the Eastern Churches.

7. Torcello Cathedral

In a deserted island of the Venetian lagune. The apse is 8th century, the rest was rebuilt with the old materials and with little change in 1001. Basilican, with Byzantine detail. The magnificent mosaic of S. Mary the Virgin in the semi-dome of the apse is hardly seen behind the crucifix, which is of course much later. Note the beautifully carved Byzantine capitals, and the mosaic floor: also the ambo or pulpit, and the interesting rood-beam on columns—another good feature suitable for modern requirements. Close to the cathedral is the central Church of S. Fosca. Both are strangely impressive.

8. S. Basil’s Birmingham

A 20th century church of basilican form, which shows how well suited this type is for us to-day—simple, dignified, convenient, and very cheap, with no bad carving (“cheap” in the bad sense), and no sham-Gothic flummery. Note the screen, rather like Torcello, but without the loft, the fair whitewashed walls and wise concentration of decoration in the apse. All the ornaments are good; but there are always too many seats in modern churches; and the hot-water grating has not the effect of the mosaic pavement of Torcello.

9. S. Sofia, Constantinople

Built for Justinian (537), 6th century. The crowning glory of Byzantine art. The marvellously rich altar, and other ornaments, are gone, for it has been a mosque since 1453 (and for how much longer?): the Arabic inscriptions are out of scale and spoil the proportions. The mosaics are destroyed or covered, but the angels in the spandrels of the dome survive. The Greek architects of S. Sofia invented what is called the true dome (resting on spandrels). The church is full of exquisite carved work. No photograph can reproduce the wonder of this vast and exquisite interior. Let us follow William Morris in calling it the finest building in the world. Byzantine churches cover Eastern Christendom, Greece, the Balkans, Russia—from the Adriatic to the Sea of Japan.

10. The Uspensky Sobor, Moscow

S. Sofia is the mother of all Byzantine churches, as of this one which was built nearly a thousand years later. S. Sofia is also the mother of all true domes. But in Russia the dome is modified, as in these examples. Gilt or painted domes are a feature of Russian churches. The Muslims modified the dome again into the familiar onion shape. Renaissance domes are a further modification. Within, Eastern churches have retained many primitive characteristics. The ancient veiling of the altar has developed into a permanent screen-wall, solid, with three doors, and covered with pictures (see Slide 44).

11. S. Mark’s, Venice

Another Byzantine example, covered with mosaics. It was built about the time of William the Conqueror. The artists of Venice for many centuries were Greeks. S. Sofia was a one-dome church; the Church of the Apostles at Constantinople was many-domed; it was destroyed, but S. Mark’s is on the same lines. Note in this magnificent interior the two pulpits, the stately and simple screen. The altar stands in the apse under its ciborium.

12. Worms Cathedral

About the year 1000, which is easy to remember, Basilican and Byzantinesque architecture, was developing into the great Romanesque style, which in its English form is called Norman. Here is the cathedral of Worms (1110-81), one of the many splendid Romanesque churches on or near the Rhine.

13. Durham Cathedral

And here is an example of English or Norman Romanesque, Durham Cathedral (1093-1133), the work of a great master, a noble, rational, mighty building, completed in a life-time, and unaltered. The discordant note is “ the pretentious marble and alabaster screen of mid-Victorian Gothic,” “ one of the many abominable ‘restorations’ of which the authorities of this cathedral have been guilty” (Francis Bond, Cathedrals of England and Wales). Previously there was a Renaissance choir screen, much more in keeping with the original Norman work. [The lecturer can here mention any local Norman churches.]

14. Salisbury Cathedral

In the 12th century, Romanesque began to develop in France and England into the marvellous style which is called Gothic. It is a logical, scientific, and immensely accomplished method of building by a system of thrust and counter-thrust, the immense weight of the vaults being distributed among slender piers, walls that became almost all window, and buttresses. Gothic is not really a matter of pointed windows (though the windows are generally pointed, and in later Gothic traceried), but of the economized use of material in a slender and elastic framework: even the traceries have a practical purpose—to sustain the great expanse of glass against wind-pressure. Gothic was free and democratic, the work of marvellously cunning masons, who were untrammelled by precedent or pedantry, and were always making new discoveries. It is free and soaring, making wonderful sky-lines. Salisbury is unusually symmetrical and unmixed in style. It is Early English (13th century), but the lofty spire is Decorated. [Mention local Gothic churches.]

15. Amiens Cathedral

Amiens is one of the most perfect examples of early French Gothic. Note the great height, and consider the structural skill involved. Notice also the simplicity of detail. (The east end is later, finished in 1279: the nave was begun in 1220.) Gothic afterwards ran into excess of detail (in capitals, finials, crockets, etc.), and many people think of the detail as if this was Gothic. But in England the masons recovered themselves and became simple again before the end of the Decorated period, and almost severe in Perpendicular. In France there was little change, after the full Gothic of Amiens, till the outburst of Flamboyant, c. 1400. Gothic was the perfect expression of the social conditions of the period from the 12th to the 15th centuries, especially of the guild system. It therefore cannot be revived to-day: it was invented and developed by working masons, and cannot be made by learned architects in offices. It cannot be copied, for its whole spirit is originality and freedom from imitation. This is why modern Gothic has proved a failure. We must change society before we are worthy of being Gothic. The moment we imitate, we cease to be Gothic. The nearest style at the present day to Gothic is really modern steel construction, because it has rather similar scientific structural principles. It may succeed, or it may not. The most Gothic buildings, on the other hand, in spirit though not in construction, are the charming cottages and small houses in the country which we are now building; because, for our own homes, we build what we really like, and do not try to be “correct.”

16. Thaxted Church, Essex

Thaxted is a very complete and well kept example of a Perpendicular parish church. It has not been blocked up with choir-stalls. Note the effect of the clear sweep of the pavement, and the dignity of the long altar. There are large open chancel aisles. The Renaissance wooden pulpit fits in excellently—unlike the sham Gothic stone or alabaster pulpits of the 19th century. Gothic is not specially ecclesiastical. It is the style of three or four centuries in north-western and central Europe only. In Italy it was only a passing fashion and barely reached as far as Rome. Basilican really is an ecclesiastical style, and it lasted for a thousand years in the West.

17. S. Miguel de Escalada

Here is an example of how churches should express their national character and their epoch, and not be mere copies. This Spanish church near Leon (probably 12th century) shows the development of Romanesque in the peculiar form of horse-shoe arches. Spanish archaeologists now say that this was a Christian Spanish invention, and not really of Moorish origin at all, though it has become characteristic of Moorish architecture. How simple it all is, and how impressive is this little church! Note again the suitability of this type of screen to modern needs—only we must not start copying horseshoe arches!

18. All Saints’, Peshawar

No, churches need not be Gothic nowadays! Here is the C.M.S. church in the bazar (the still rather dangerous old part of this frontier city) in Peshawar, near the Khyber Pass. We did great harm to the Christian cause in India by associating the Church in Indian minds with Western forms—with Gothic (and such Gothic!). Here is an exception: an attempt to make a Christian church in the style which Islam introduced long ago Into North India.


19. S. Clemente, Rome

This shows the basilican arrangement of the altar, and the later basilican choir within low screens with gospel and epistle ambos and Paschal candle. This beautiful ciborium happens to be as late as the 12th century, but it is on the old lines and shows exactly the arrangement of the Early Church. The too sumptuous  ceiling is Renaissance (see Slide 5).

20. S. Matthew’s, Bethnal Green

The simplest way to show the development of the Christian altar is to show this modern Renaissance work by Mr. Eden in a Georgian church. Here are still the four ciborium columns, though the canopy has gone; and still three of the four ancient curtains, the one between altar and people only being gone. (See Warham Guild Leaflet, No. 11. The Altar, by Mr. F. C. Eeles). This is what happened when the ciborium disappeared in Gothic times. (We still find the ciborium in the paintings of Giotto, c. 1300.)

21. Blakeney Church, Suffolk

Early English, with a good modern altar on the original lines. Screen behind, forming a vestry. (See Warham Guild Leaflet. No. 14. The Altar according to English Traditions, by Dr. Hermitage Day.)

22. King’s College, Cambridge

A side chapel, fitted up simply and inexpensively by the Warham Guild. (See Leaflet. No. 14. as above)

23. Chapel in Fairford Church

A beautiful carved reredos (which is shut during Lent) by Mr. Geoffrey Webb. Length of altar determined by monument on L. (See No. 14)

24. Ickford Churchy Oxon.

A little parish church, free from horrors, and beautifully arranged by Mr. Vernon Staley. Note the pleasant wood-work, pulpit, pews, etc. (See Nos. / / and 14?)

25. Ranzuorth Church., Norfolk

A famous Perpendicular screen with its altars. (See Warham Guild Leaflet, No. 15, The Chancel Screen, by F. E. Howard.)

26. S. Mary's, Primrose Hill

An over-large reredos on German lines by the late Mr. Bodley, subsequently modified. Rood loft and figures by Mr. Gilbert Bayes. (See Warham Guild Leaflet, No. 10, Monuments and Memorials, by Dr. Dearmer.)

(This would be a place for explaining the use of colours: their primary object, beauty; their secondary object, the marking out of the Church seasons. There are no “Correct” colours, but many very ugly ones!)

27. The Same, in Lenten Array

(See No. 14, by Dr. Hermitage Day.) White distempered walls are needed for this as for all other colour effects.


28. Chalice and Paten
(See Warham Guild Leaflet, No. 16, The Chalice and Paten, by Dr. Dearmer.)

29. Cruets

By the Whitefriars Company, through the Warham Guild. To show that cruets can be beautiful and convenient in shape.

30. Altar-cross and Candlesticks

The candlestick began to appear on the altar in the 10th century (see above. Slide 1). One, or at most two, were used down to the Reformation, and the custom of using two has continued in this country till the present day. The use (and abuse) of more arose on the Continent after the overloaded Baroque period of architecture. (See Leaflets 5,8,11, and 18 for this, and subsequent slides?)

31. Chapel at Merrow

Showing the use of candles and candlesticks. It is usual nowadays to put a cross on the altar, but not necessary, and in this case it would be a mistake because there is a rood in the reredos. The reredos, decorated in gold, blue, and black, contains the Annunciation, Crucifixion, and the Three Maries at the Sepulchre. The four figures represent S. George, S. Andrew, S. Patrick, and S. David.

The stained glass, mainly of silvery white with colour sparingly used, but pure and bright, contains figures of S. George, S. Michael, S. Joan of Arc, and S. Martin. The last saint is the patron of French soldiers, and also of Ypres, the pivot of the British front, and it was on Martinmas Day that the Armistice was signed. The whole work by Mr. Howard for the Warham Guild.

32. Standard Candlesticks

33. Processional Crosses
34. Flagon and Ewer

35. Staves

36. Hymn-board

From S. Mary’s, Primrose Hill. To show that these necessaries need not be eyesores.

37. Banner

Designed by Mr. C. M. Gere for S. Mary’s, Primrose Hill. One of the most beautiful in existence.


38. The End of the Creed

Drawn by Mr. Skilbeck to illustrate this part of the service. Note the Vestments:—Chasuble, Dalmatic, Tunicle, Clerk’s Tunicle, Albes, etc.; Preacher’s Surplice, Hood, and Tippet (he can equally well wear Gown, Hood, and Tippet). (This drawing and that on Slide 62 are taken by permission from the Alcuin Club Collection, No. xix. Illustrations of the Liturgy, Mowbrays.)

Let us go back to the earliest vestments. First the Chasuble.

39. Trajan and his Officers. (Paenula.)

(For this and the following Slides see Leaflet 13, S. Paul’s Cloke, by Dr. Dearmer.)

40. Mosaic, Ravenna: SS. Maurus and Septimius

Paenula and Dalmatic, etc., 6th century.

41. Fresco in S. Clemente

This fresco, in the under-church of S. Clemente, Rome, was painted in 1085, and is thus a kind of halfway house in the history of Christian art, besides belonging to a series of pictures very highly esteemed by modern artists. It also sums up a good deal of this lecture. It represents the translation of an unknown saint, whose relics are being carried, C., by four clerks or deacons in long tunicles with ornamented borders. On the R. the bishop is celebrating at the altar under its ciborium, attended by deacons in striped dalmatics. On the altar is a book. The only lights are lamps hanging from the ciborium. (The artist has suggested the outlines of the basilica as well as the ciborium.) The bishop wears his paenula (chasuble), and over it the Y shaped pallium. This was originally a large robe like a toga, and the earliest Christian robe worn by the celebrant and others in the 2nd century (and doubtless in the 1st). You see it as the dress of Christ and the Apostles in all pictures, except some quite modern ones. It was folded into one long narrow strip by the 6th century; and later was pinned into the Y shape, as here. It forms part of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s coat of arms.

Behind, C, are two clerks in albes and tunicles, waving censers. On the L. is a bishop in paenula, pallium, etc., wearing a curious conical cap, probably papal. Also other bishops, whose stoles are seen under the ample bell-shaped paenula. Stoles are. later than these other vestments, the earliest representation we have being of the 8th century.

Note, also on Z.,one processional cross, three banners with crosses on the tops of the poles, and two croziers. Here then we have the most elaborate form of ceremonial in the West, of the 11th century.

42. Brass: Saffron Walden. (Chasuble.) Paenula (now called the Chasuble), etc. {See Leaflet 13.)

43. A Modern Paenula

Ample linen vestments (not necessarily as large as this) are very desirable at the present day.

44. The Little Entrance in the Russian Church

Showing priest in phaelonion or paenula (caught up in front), and deacon in dalmatic carrying Gospel book. Also shows the solid screen (iconostasis) of the Eastern Church, mentioned under Slide 10.


45. “As in the Second Year”

A 15th century miniature, showing altar, with riddels; ministers in chasuble, dalmatic, tunicle, etc.; chanters in copes; also surplices. (The Ornaments Rubric should be read here.) The Ornaments Rubric orders the old ornaments to be still in use; but under the same authority the Elevation  (here shown) is forbidden (and rightly, for it arose from a mechanical and “clock-time” idea of consecration). (See Mowbrays Pamphlet, The Ornaments Rubric, by F. C. Eeles.)

46. Clerk in Tunicle

We have seen examples of the tunicle, and also of the dalmatic (originally a tunic with wide sleeves) worn by the deacon. (See Leaflet 17, Some Notes on Vestments, by Dr. Hermitage Day. Further details about vestments—if they are required—can be found in The Ornaments of the Ministers, Mowbrays.) Let us now work backward from this photograph of a parish clerk in his tunicle to a very early example. The clerk, by the way—not merely a little boy—is the proper' assistant of the priest in the absence of other priests or deacons.

47. Orans in Dalmatic

Both the tunicle and dalmatic were originally coats, worn over the under-tunic. Here is an example from the Catacomb of Callixtus, painted in the second half of the 3rd century, i.e. as early as about 270 or 280. The orans, or praying figure, represented the soul of the departed person. In this case it is a woman, dressed in the everyday costume she had worn—a dalmatic over a tunic, and a veil. Note the ornamental stripes, the clavi, now called orphreys. Note also the Christian attitude for prayer—standing, with outstretched arms.

48. Brass at Rothwell. (Cope.)

Effigy of the archdeacon, William de Rothewelle, c. 1361. Cope over fur almuce, surplice, and tight-sleeved cassock. The cope is a comparatively late vestment, and is worn by choristers (chanters) as well as by priests and bishops. Note how still in the 14th century it is a soft cloak or mantle, with a narrow orphrey and soft hood,  and fastened by a small brooch. The stiff cope, with broad orphreys, and flap for a hood, is a deterioration in design; and we shall restore beauty and manliness of appearance by working back to the original shape. (Cf.  the sandwich-man type of chasuble. All vestments underwent degradation). (Further details, and illustrations of all vestments from brasses, can be found in Mr. H. J. Claytons Alcuin Club Collection, The Ornaments of the Ministers as shown in English Monumental Brasses.)

49. Anzac Memorial Service

The King, Lord Kitchener, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others outside Westminster Abbey, in 1915. Two of the old Westminster copes. The purple and silver cope on the left was made in the reign of Charles II. Note that stiffness has not yet supervened: there is much of the old grace in its ample folds; and the hood, though flattened, has not the last degradation of being hung below the orphrey. The orphrey itself is a fine design.

50. Bishop in Cope and Mitre

A Warham Guild cope of transitional design, i.e. it is shaped round the neck and has ample folds: the orphreys fall straight, as always in old brasses. It is half-way to the original mantle form. We have to move by degrees, and male costume is of slow evolution or revolution—unlike female costume!

The mitre also has suffered deterioration in the exaggeration of its height, till bishops of the Roman Church have come to look like wizards. Originally it was a low cap. This example represents the utmost height that is desirable.

This cope and mitre were designed by Mr. Howard, and made by the Warham Guild for the Archbishop of Wales. The arms on the orphreys are those of the four Welsh dioceses. The mitre is of cloth of gold, with blue silk orphreys, decorated with moonstones and amethysts. The crozier, of beautifully simple form, designed by Mr. Greenwood for the Warham Guild, is that of the Bishop of Chota Nagpur in India.

51. A Missionary Group

The Bishop of Korea with native deacons. The mitre is a little too high, and the cope too stiff: but the whole group shows a development in the right direction. It is important that public worship should be beautiful and distinctive in countries where there are non-Christian religions, which themselves have distinctive and beautiful forms of worship.

52. Cope with real Hood

This shows the cope, with the hood brought back to its proper form. The Warham Guild has made several of these copes, including one for York Minster.

53. A Surplice

Of ample grace and beauty. The degradation of the surplice into a little tight skin was simply due to the worship of Mammon. Sometimes the parson would not pay a proper price, and sometimes the maker profiteered by skimping his material. l8

54. Brass: Little Wilbraham. (Hood.)

Brass of William Blakeway, M.A., 1521, in narrow-sleeved cassock, gown, chimere, and hood of a Master of Arts. The M.A. hood, both at Oxford and Cambridge, was originally of white fur. The hood, like the chasuble, dalmatic, tunicle, and (probably) the cope, was originally an out-door garment. It is now worn also over the surplice, of different coloured linings according to the degree. (Give familiar examples.) Doctors’ hoods are generally scarlet. The shape also has deteriorated (owing mainly to the use of wigs): we should gradually get it right.

55. Doctor’s Robes

Oxford D.D. (The Cambridge robes are different.) Here worn over the surplice:—scarlet chimere, scarlet hood of the proper original shape, lined with black silk, black silk tippet (or scarf), black velvet square cap. Both the mortar-board and the biretta are degraded forms of the square cap.

56. Taperer

In apparelled amice and plain albe. The albe may be girt with a white or coloured cord or band of any suitable kind. Here a red sash is used.

57. Bishop in Ordinary Dress

The Pickwickian costume of our bishops is of course due to conservatism: the prelates of the 19th century retained the costume of that eminent man, wearing it under a cassock cut startlingly short in the skirt. The proper official dress out of church is now relegated to court and parliamentary functions, and is also worn at church services. It consists of a rochet and chimere over a cassock (which, like all cassocks, should be rather tight in the sleeves), tippet, and velvet cap. Frills at the wrist are an absurd disfigurement.

58. Apparelled Rochet

The Rochet may be described as an ungirt albe. It came into use doubtless for its convenience, and was worn in the later middle ages, and after, by servers in church, as well as by bishops out of church (and, by bishops, under the surplice, according to the First Prayer Book, in church). Here is an example with apparels—a specially convenient dress for clerks and servers in hot countries, where it may be worn without a cassock (and over bare brown legs).

59. Sleeveless Rochet

The most convenient of all. In the tropics, with a white cassock. Cassocks, by the way, may be of any colour; though scarlet is fatal to any colour scheme unless it is almost hidden by a long sleeved rochet or large surplice. The contemplation of any picture will show that crude scarlet has to be used with great caution and in minute quantities. For parsons, black, dark blue, and light or dark grey are good colours: for servers, black, and lighter blue, or the darker crimsons. In hot countries (and even in England in hot weather), clergy and servers alike should wear cassocks of washable cotton, white, or (better still) of the tint of tussore or parchment. There is no reason why cassocks should be all of the same colour: if proper ample surplices, albes, and rochets are worn, a little variety is good.

60. Winged Rochet

Another pleasant variation of this convenient garment.

61. A Church Scene

In Bethnal Green. Boy in winged rochet putting out the candles.

62. Priest in Ordinary Dress

This is the canonical dress of the clergy out of doors, and nothing is so convenient and comely as the gown over the cassock. The Roman clergy have different varieties of costume in different countries, none of which can be lawfully worn by our clergy, and none of which is so graceful as ours. In this example, over the cassock (which may be either double or single breasted, so long as it is without those inconvenient buttons) is worn the priest’s gown, and tippet (unspoilt by creasing), with a cloth square cap. Academic gowns may also be worn.

63. The Blessing

Let us conclude with four general scenes. Here is a simple diagram by Mr. Skilbeck of the Blessing at the end of the Communion Service. You know all the ornaments of the church and of the ministers thereof by now (explain if necessary). This shows the full ceremonial, which of course is not suitable (or indeed possible) in any except a few churches.

64. Dedication of a Church

Let us hark back to the 15th century, the unspoilt period, very near to the time of our Ornaments Rubric. This miniature shows the dedication of a magnificent Gothic church. Bishop in cope and mitre over dalmatic and albe, carrying his crozier, preceded by two surpliced clerks carrying banners, and followed by seven canons wearing the grey fur almuce of their dignity over surplices.

Costume is as expressive as architecture. The men who built our marvellous Gothic churches knew also how to design the costumes worn inside them. More simple, you will remember, but even more majestic, were the earlier forms—the coloured paenula and the white woollen dalmatic—which belonged in its ecclesiastical origin to the Basilican architecture. The ornateness of the later Gothic is not suited to the habits and temperament of the present day: still less are the lace and stiff glitter of the Baroque developments. The sweeping drapery of the first thirteen or fourteen centuries, basilican and early Gothic alike, is a better inspiration for the designer of church costume in Twentieth Century England.

65. A Procession To-day

We must remember again that this represents the fullest legitimate ceremonial, and not a procession in a village church! You will recognize the ornaments. The order is:—Verger in gown with wand. Clerk with cross, Taperers, Thurifer, Subdeacon, Deacon, Priest, banner, two Chanters, Boy choristers. Men choristers. If a bishop were present, he would follow with his chaplain last of all. (Painted by Mr. Vedder for The Parson’s Handbook.)

Let us remember here that a healthy and widespread art, deep-rooted in the people, is a necessary of civilization. Art in recent generations has survived in picture galleries and concert rooms—precariously. It must be the people’s art to be healthy and strong. This is why architecture and costume are so important: they (with God’s own art, which we call Nature) are our surroundings. They, with popular music, make the everyday world we live in. The parish church, with good singing, good architecture, and good costume, is the natural centre of the divine beauty. Once we recover these things, art will spread from these centres back into common life again.

66. The English Rite

We will conclude with a photograph of a normal service in a small parish church, such as should be aimed at in most places. Everything here is made in the most economical way: the chasuble is of blue linen; the frontal of blue stamped velvet, the dorsal and riddels of damask, the wall-hangings of similar blue linen. The celebrant is assisted only by a clerk in a surplice. Yet how right it all is, how dignified, quiet, beautiful, religious. If the clergy had all during the last seventy years kept to the authority of the Prayer Book, if eccentricities had been always prevented by modesty, loyalty, order, and a sense of what is fitting and beautiful, how strong and united the English Church might have become! How honoured and beloved by the English people she may yet become again, as factions and parties give way before the better spirit of loyalty and fellowship among us, who are the inheritors of that wonderful beauty which was the mark of the whole Church until she lost her universal hold upon the hearts of men. As she recovers her strength, her beauty will most assuredly recover also; for art is always the expression of the inner spirit, and is the accurate interpreter of every age.

Project Canterbury