Canterbury cap

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An Anglican priest delivers an homily, dressed in choir habit with Canterbury cap Canterbury Cap.jpg
An Anglican priest delivers an homily, dressed in choir habit with Canterbury cap

The Canterbury cap is a square cloth hat with sharp corners found in the Anglican Communion. It is also soft and foldable, "Constructed to fold flat when not in use ..." [1] The Canterbury cap is the medieval birettum, descended from the ancient pileus headcovering. It is sometimes called the "catercap".[ citation needed ]

Hat shaped head covering, having a brim and a crown, or one of these

A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status. In the military, hats may denote nationality, branch of service, rank or regiment. Police typically wear distinctive hats such as peaked caps or brimmed hats, such as those worn by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Some hats have a protective function. As examples, the hard hat protects construction workers' heads from injury by falling objects and a British police Custodian helmet protects the officer's head, a sun hat shades the face and shoulders from the sun, a cowboy hat protects against sun and rain and a Ushanka fur hat with fold-down earflaps keeps the head and ears warm. Some hats are worn for ceremonial purposes, such as the mortarboard, which is worn during university graduation ceremonies. Some hats are worn by members of a certain profession, such as the Toque worn by chefs. Some hats have religious functions, such as the mitres worn by Bishops and the turban worn by Sikhs.

Anglican Communion International association of churches

The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion. Founded in 1867 in London, England, the communion currently has 85 million members within the Church of England and other national and regional churches in full communion. The traditional origins of Anglican doctrines are summarised in the Thirty-nine Articles (1571). The Archbishop of Canterbury in England acts as a focus of unity, recognised as primus inter pares, but does not exercise authority in Anglican provinces outside of the Church of England.

Pileus (hat) conical or half-egg-shaped cap, often of felt,  worn in Ancient Greece and Rome and by ecclesiastics

The pileus was a brimless, felt cap worn in Illyria, Ancient Greece and surrounding regions, later also introduced in Ancient Rome. The Greek πιλίδιον (pilidion) and Latin pilleolus were smaller versions, similar to a skullcap. The plis, an Albanian felt cap, originated from a similar felt cap worn by the Illyrians, and is worn even today in Albania, Kosovo and surrounding regions.


In Anglican churches, clergy are entitled to wear the cap, which is worn for processions and when seated to listen to Scripture or to give a homily, but not when at the Holy Table . It forms part of the "canonical" outdoor clerical dress, along with cassock, gown, and tippet. [2] The cap is made of black velvet for bishops and doctors, otherwise of black wool. [3]

Clergy leaders within certain religions

Clergy are formal leaders within established religions. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the terms used for individual clergy are clergyman, clergywoman, and churchman. Less common terms are churchwoman and clergyperson, while cleric and clerk in holy orders both have a long history but are rarely used.

Cassock ankle-length garment worn as Christian clerical clothing

The cassock or soutane is an item of Christian clerical clothing used by the clergy of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and Reformed churches, among others. "Ankle-length garment" is the literal meaning of the corresponding Latin term, vestis talaris. It is related to the habit, which is traditionally worn by nuns, monks, and friars.

Tippet a pendant streamer hanging from the sleeve of a cotehardie

A tippet is a scarf-like narrow piece of clothing, worn over the shoulders. It may also be likened to a stole in the secular rather than ecclesiastic sense of this word. Tippets evolved in the fourteenth century from long sleeves and typically had one end hanging down to the knees. In later fashion, a tippet is often any scarf-like wrap, usually made of fur, such as the sixteenth century zibellino or the fur-lined capelets worn in the mid-18th century.

In 1899, Percy Dearmer wrote in The Parson's Handbook:

Percy Dearmer British priest

Percival Dearmer (1867–1936), known as Percy Dearmer, was an English priest and liturgist best known as the author of The Parson's Handbook, a liturgical manual for Anglican clergy. A lifelong socialist, he was an early advocate of the public ministry of women and concerned with social justice. Dearmer also had a strong influence on the music of the church and, with Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw, is credited with the revival and spread of traditional and medieval English musical forms.

The Cap, or 'square cap,' may have had its origin in the almuce. For the almuce was originally used to cover the head, and when it ceased to fulfil that function the cap seems to have been introduced. It has gone through several modifications: once of the comely shape that we see in the portraits of Bishop Fox and others, it developed in the seventeenth century into the form sometimes called the Canterbury cap (of limp material, with a tuft on the top), and then into the still beautiful college-cap in England, and abroad into the positively ugly biretta. There is no conceivable reason for English churchmen to discard their own shape in favour of a foreign one, except that the biretta offends an immense number of excellent lay folk, and thus makes the recovery of the Church more difficult. [4]

Almuce fur hood-like shoulder cape worn as a choir vestment in the Middle Ages, especially in England

An almuce was a hood-like shoulder cape worn as a choir vestment in the Middle Ages, especially in England. Initially, it was worn by the general population. It found lasting use by certain canons regular, such as the white almutium worn on the arm by Premonstratensian canons. Use of fur-lined almuce was against the rules of the canons, leading to requests for dispensations from the rule, as described by Alison Fizzard. It also survives in the tippet and hood worn by some Anglican priests.

A similar cap called the Oxford soft cap is worn today as part of academic dress by some women undergraduates at the University of Oxford instead of the mortarboard. It has a flap at the back which is held up with buttons unlike the Canterbury cap.

Academic dress regulated formal attire worn by students and officials at certain schools and universities, especially for commencement or other cermonial occasions

Academic dress is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings, mainly tertiary education, worn mainly by those who have obtained a university degree, or hold a status that entitles them to assume them. It is also known as academical dress, academicals, subfusc and, in the United States, as academic regalia.

University of Oxford University in Oxford, United Kingdom

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation after the University of Bologna. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

The Tudor bonnet is also a similar academic cap worn by a person who holds a doctorate.

Tudor bonnet Traditional soft-crowned, round-brimmed cap, with a tassel hanging from a cord encircling the puggaree of the hat

A Tudor bonnet is a traditional soft-crowned, round-brimmed cap, with a tassel hanging from a cord encircling the hat. As the name suggests, the Tudor bonnet was popularly worn in England and elsewhere during Tudor times.

Doctorate academic or professional degree

A doctorate or doctor's degree or doctoral degree, is an academic degree awarded by universities, derived from the ancient formalism licentia docendi. In most countries, it is a research degree that qualifies the holder to teach at university level in the degree's field, or to work in a specific profession. There are a variety of names for doctoral degrees; the most common is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which is awarded in many different fields, ranging from the humanities to scientific disciplines.

The Canterbury cap differs from the Roman Catholic biretta, as a Canterbury cap has four ridges, compared to the biretta's three. In addition, the biretta is (sometimes) rigid, or rigid but folding, while the Canterbury cap is always soft and easily folds when not in use. [1] [ not in citation given ]

See also

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Square academic cap Academic headdress consisting of a horizontal square board fixed upon a skull-cap

The square academic cap, graduate cap, cap, mortarboard or Oxford cap, is an item of academic dress consisting of a horizontal square board fixed upon a skull-cap, with a tassel attached to the centre. In the UK and the US, it is commonly referred to informally in conjunction with an academic gown, as a "cap and gown". It is also sometimes termed a square, trencher, or corner-cap. The adjective academical is also used.

Vestment clothing prescribed for Christian clergy performing specific roles

Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religion, especially among the Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans. Many other groups also make use of liturgical garments; this was a point of controversy in the Protestant Reformation and sometimes since, in particular during the Ritualist controversies in England in the 19th century.

Humeral veil long, oblong veil or shawl worn over the shoulders of the celebrant of the Mass in the Roman Catholic tradition

The humeral veil is one of the liturgical vestments of the Roman Rite, also used in some Anglican and Lutheran churches. It consists of a piece of cloth about 2.75 m long and 90 cm wide draped over the shoulders and down the front, normally of silk or cloth of gold. At the ends there are sometimes pockets in the back for hands to go into so that the wearer can hold items without touching them with the hands.

Mitre liturgical headdresses worn by Christian bishops and abbots

The mitre or miter, is a type of headgear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in traditional Christianity. Mitres are worn in the Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church also wears a mitre during important ceremonies such as the Episcopal Consecration.

Biretta Square cap with three or four peaks or horns

The biretta is a square cap with three or four peaks or horns, sometimes surmounted by a tuft. Traditionally the three peaked biretta is worn by Roman Catholic clergy and some Anglican and Lutheran clergy. The four peaked biretta is worn as academic dress by those holding a doctoral degree from a pontifical faculty or pontifical university. Occasionally the biretta is worn by advocates in law courts, for instance the advocates in the Channel Islands.

Zucchetto skullcap worn by ordained clergy in the Roman Catholic church as part of ecclesiastical dress

The zucchetto is a small, hemispherical, form-fitting ecclesiastical skullcap worn by clerics of various Catholic churches, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and by the higher clergy in Anglicanism. The plural is zucchetti; it is also known by the names pilus, pilos, pileus, pileolus (pileolo), subbiretum, submitrale, soli deo (solideo), berrettino, calotte (calotta).

Girdle womens underwear, often partly or entirely of elastic or boned, for supporting and shaping the appearance of the abdomen, hips, and buttocks

The term girdle, meaning "belt", commonly refers to the liturgical attire that normally closes a cassock in many Christian denominations, including the Anglican Communion, Methodist Church and Lutheran Church. The girdle, in the 8th or 9th century, was said to resemble an ancient Levitical Jewish vestment, and in that era, was not visible. In 800 AD, the girdle began to be worn by Christian deacons in the Eastern Church.

Chimere Chimère

A chimere is a garment worn by Anglican bishops in choir dress, and, formally as part of academic dress.

A Lambeth degree is an academic degree conferred by the Archbishop of Canterbury under the authority of the Ecclesiastical Licences Act 1533 (Eng) as successor of the papal legate in England. The degrees conferred most commonly are DD, DCL, DLitt, DMus, DM, BD and MA. The relatively modern degree of MLitt has been conferred in recent years, and the MPhil and PhD are now available. The degrees awarded are dependent on which of the two ancient universities, Oxford or Cambridge, the archbishop chooses as his model. This is also tied with the nature of the academic dress used as well.

Camauro red wool or velvet cap with white ermine trim worn by the pope of the Roman Catholic Church, usually in winter

A camauro is a cap traditionally worn by the Pope of the Catholic Church.

Clerical clothing is non-liturgical clothing worn exclusively by clergy. It is distinct from vestments in that it is not reserved specifically for services. Practices vary: is sometimes worn under vestments, and sometimes as the everyday clothing or street wear of a priest, minister, or other clergy member. In some cases, it can be similar or identical to the habit of a monk or nun.

Kalimavkion tall, flat-topped, brimless hats worn by some clergy of the Eastern Church

A Kalimavkion, kalymmavchi (καλυμαύχι), or, by metathesis of the word's internal syllables, kamilavka, is an item of clerical clothing worn by Orthodox Christian and Eastern Catholic monks or awarded to clergy. A approximate equivalent in the Latin Church is the camauro.

Skufia clothing item worn by Christian monastics

A skufia is an item of clerical clothing worn by Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic monastics or awarded to clergy as a mark of honor.

Choir dress a traditional costume of clerics, seminarians and religious of Christian churches

Choir dress is the traditional vesture of the clerics, seminarians and religious of Christian churches worn for public prayer and the administration of the sacraments except when celebrating or concelebrating the Eucharist. It differs from the vestments worn by the celebrants of the Eucharist, being normally made of fabrics such as wool, cotton or silk, as opposed to the fine brocades used in vestments. It may also be worn by lay assistants such as acolytes and choirs. It was abandoned by most of the Churches which originated in the sixteenth-century Reformation.

This page describes the different types of academic dress allowed at the University of Exeter. Definitions of the academic dress for the award holders and officials of the University are set out in the University's regulations.

Academic dress in the United Kingdom

The academic dress of the United Kingdom and Ireland has a long history and has influenced the academic dress of America and beyond. The academic square cap was invented in the UK as well as the hood which developed from the lay dress of the medieval period.

Pom-pom tufts or bunches of ribbon, velvet, or thread, worn in the hair, on a cap, or dress, or similar bunches of streamers used in cheerleading

A pom-pom – also spelled pom-pon, pompom or pompon – is a decorative ball or tuft of fibrous material.


  1. 1 2 "Style 250 Canterbury Cap". J Wippell and Company Limited - Style 250 Canterbury Cap. J. Wippell & Co. Ltd. 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  2. Dearmer 1899, p. 81.
  3. Dearmer 1899, p. 86.
  4. Dearmer 1899, p. 87.