Scottish Ecclesiastical Dress

The late Rev William McMillan, Ph D, DD

The author looks at the history of the use of the cassock, scarf and bands in Scotland. The cassock was for many centuries the outdoor dress of all men and the Reformers continued to wear the garment. James VI ordered the wearing of ‘cassikins’ or short cassocks, to which there appears to have been no objection. It seems, from post-Revolution portraits, that Church of Scotland ministers ceased to wear cassocks after that event. The practice was revived after the middle of the 19th century. The scarf is reported as being worn ‘by quite a number of ministers’, its use having been revived ‘about half a century ago’. Theories regarding its origin vary and are described. James Melville writes of seeing John Knox wearing a type of forerunner. They fell into disuse after the Revolution and until ‘our own times’. Bands are medieval in origin, though whether civil or ecclesiastical is in dispute. They are the only article which distinguishes the minister from the probationer. They were worn by some of the clergy in pre-Reformation times and in Reformed circles in England as early as 1566. They appear in Scotland from the end of the 16th century and their use appears unaffected by the Revolution.

Volume 20 1950, p32
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