Cassocks – A guide to

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

  •  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!

Others are:

  • 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.
  • – I bought a travel bag from these as, at the time, I could not find a better /cheaper one. Expensive overall.
  • Hayes and Finch. Mary Collins. 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.

Rounded collar

Square Collar

Square Collar







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.


Living in the Gap between Past and Future.

I’m at that point where I’m counting down the weeks to leaving my job.  I have two count downs. One for number of teaching weeks left (8) and one for actually leaving my post (15).  Counting down was fun at first (and still is really) but I do actually like my job and the students more so.  I know what I’m doing, comfortable doing it and enjoy working with the students. Yup, I’ve said students twice now as really they make up for all the political rubbish we have to put up with.


Bishop Advisory Panel Thoughts BAP

I nearly titled this post How to get through a BAP but on second thoughts I think that would have been silly. The BAP selection conference is not about getting through however much one may feel geared up to do so. In fact, and I guess as I have been selected it is easy to say so, going to the conference with an attitude of wanting to get through is most likely detrimental to the process. I say this because, above all, the process taught me that old chestnut of relying on His strength and not ours is actually very key. Way before the BAP I realised i could not (and should not ) get through the conference in my own power and ability. So however much I read and experienced the church, it did not count for anything until my relationship with God was sorted.

So, if you think you’re called to the priesthood, get yourself right with Jesus first because only by Him can you truly serve. The rest ( church trad, theology etc) will then fall into place.