So in prep for Cuddesdon in September I have received a welcome pack. Apparently a black cassock is required and a surplice. So after discussing across twitter and various priests, this is my definitive* guide! Remembering a good cassock will last 20 yrs – so some thought is needed!
First I need to point out that many Ordinands borrow a cassock during training or buy second-hand. I have chosen not to do that as I am short and the likelihood of borrowing one that fits is low! Also, I have been lucky enough to have my Diocese pay for my Cassock out of the end budget for clergy wear. I do not know if this is the norm but as I am the only f/t ordinand my diocese is sending this year I may be a ‘special’ case.
Where to buy
- www.jandmsewing.com Ask around and you’ll soon be told that J&M are the best around for quality, cost and service. I’ll be ordering mine from them! Also, in the USA they are considered to be ‘high end’! 😉 Also Ordinands get a discount or a free Preaching Scarf when ordering a surplice with their cassock!
- www.wippell.co.uk V Expensive. I ordered a Cassock Alb from them and it was ok although the buttons had to have extra attention as they were not tied securely. Men biased.
- www.vanpoulles.co.uk – I bought a travel bag from these as, at the time, I could not find a better /cheaper one. Expensive overall.
- www.hfltd.com Hayes and Finch. www.mccfs.com Mary Collins. www.wattsandco.com Watts and Co. And Ebay! Yes really! There are others but none of these I have ordered from.
Cassock Features – or Symbolism of pleates, collars, buttons (all entirely down to taste)
- 5 pleates on the back = Five wounds of Christ. (St Stephens House requirement). Has good ‘swing’ but not gd for the ladies who worry about “does my bum look big in this ?”.
- 3 pleates = Trinity (My choice due to above and suggested for women).
- 1 pleates = No meaning (unless you know different?!)
- Rounded = Catholic or Anglo-C, so ‘High church’. Also longer wearing and more comfortable. (My choice.)
- Square = Middle church. (there must be a better way to describe ‘other than high church’.
- No gap in collar = Ordinand awaiting priesting. So altered to include gap later at extra cost.
- No collar = Come fly with me High in the Sky Church.
- Gap size = Personal preference but the average seems to be 3cm. But rounded collars usually come with 1 inch (2cm) gap.
Buttons on Single breasted
- 39 = Represents the 39 Articles of the Church of England and/ or the stripes of our Lord’s Scourging (40 -1). (My Choice)
- 33 = Represents Christ’s earthly years (Tends to worn by RC priests or those too short to wear 39 who’ll then get evenly placed)
- J&M have the choice of a pen Pocket or Jackey type inside Pocket. (I chose neither).
- You can have normal pockets or slit through or one of each.
Cuffs: I chose no cuffs but some like cuffs as useful for putting pew/ liturgy/hymn sheets in. (cant’ see it myself).
Thanks to Twitter @PeterDaviesWorc, @maggidawn, @frsimon for info!
*May not be definitive.
Images from J&M Sewing.