Monday 29 March 2010

Exclusive Preview of Black Folded Chasubles

It is my pleasure to present the new set of Black folded chasubles for Good Friday made by Nick Sargent at S. Magnus the Martyr for this Holy Week. As you can see in the above photograph, we had decided to go for the Spanish cut of chasuble, and to fold them at the breast as one would a Roman chasuble. These are certainly the only Spanish-cut folded chasubles I have ever seen, most certainly unique in London and possibly in the UK.

This shot from the back shows the exquisite shape from the back, plus the effect given by the uniform single orphrey at the back. The contrast between the fine pattern of flowers on the chasuble fabric and the large, round cross-based motif is very pleasing. But these are not fussy vestments that distract the eye. Rather, they beautify the liturgy and contribute to a sense of solemnity which is entirely appropriate to Good Friday.

The orphrey fabric came from Damascus, from a supplier on Straight Street which has long had a friendly relationship with S. Magnus. Our purple High Mass set with dalmatics also features fabric from this shop. The orphrey pattern for this set features an anchor amidst circular crosses, a sign of hope for those who chose to discern it in the Passion which these vestments recall.

Here I am posing as a Deacon, although I think I can get away with it since it's just a photo-op. The broad stole features a band of the same purple as used on the maniples. The broad stole is also designed to cross over at the bottom to form the sort of "fish-tail" effect seen in other examples of the broad stole.


  1. These are lovely. I think that they hang rather better than the purple set.

  2. Well the purple set was made from a set of three matching chasubles we had and simply folded and created the extra bits to go with it. This we were able to weight properly. You can't put ties in a folded chasuble so they always look a bit weird. I just love how they look from the back, they're so beautiful.

  3. The use of foulded Chasuble's and your explanation for them seem some what spurious.
    In my MA dissertation, "Liturgical Vesments in the Western Church 1500-1899 with special reference to the use of images of Christ and the Saints" University of Chicago Press 1997, found that folded Chasuble was of little liturgical importance, derived as it was from Parishes being unable to afford full high Mass sets using other/older Vestments as way of making up for this and using folds as a way of creating a difference. The parish of Piriol and Les Monts pay close attention to this in their Parish Priests detailed diaries.

  4. Spurious? Thank you!

    I understand that there is a body of liturgical scholarship that ascribes the origin of the folded chasuble to an era before the chasuble became an exclusively sacerdotal vestment, when chasubles rolled up at the sides were worn in Litanies and penitential services and processions.

    I'm sure your dissertation was well-researched, but personally I'd throw my lot in with the above opinion, which seems a lot more likely. I think if you want to know the origin of the folded chasuble, you need to be looking way before 1500.

  5. Superb! I concurr rather with Joseph too on the history, one ought go back a lot further than 1500...

  6. The rubrics of the Sarum Missal state that 'the deacon and subdeacon are to be vested in chasubles, that is to say, daily throughout Advent and from Septuagesima till Maundy Thursday, when the season us said...........At all other times of the year, when the mass of the season is said, and on feasts of saints throughout the whole year, the deacon and subdeacon shall use dalmatics and tunicles...' Missale Sarisburiensis, trans. Warren, London 1911

  7. It indeed would be difficult to find anything more ancient, or more Roman, than planetis plicatis.

    In later times, in poorer parishes, the deacon and subdeacon just wore albs, the obligation of wearing planetis plicatis being confined to Cathedral and Collegiate churches.

    The black set looks magnificent, congratulations to Nick. I trust lots of photographs will appear here in due course.

  8. The black chasubles are excellent!

  9. Thanks for the preview! The black chasuble set look terrific. Our rector wears a black cope and black chasuable on Good Friday, but I'm not sure I could convince him to extend the set to Deacon and Sub Deacon. May you go well in the coming days of Easter. Thanks for the Palm Sunday photos as well.

  10. Very interesting comments above, although my research covered a wide range of European countries and of course fashions change although the comments of poorer parishes I refer to the Priest's diaries of Piriol (1612-1644) and Les Monts (1734-1741)

    That aside, I have noticed something interesting in the final picture you seem to have your left thumb over your right which I do believe is incorect. There are of course exemptions for people who broke their thumb earlier in life, which you may have done, in which case my apologies

    Details of the exemptions are found in: - Bishop, Edmund. Liturgica Historica: Papers on the Liturgy and Religious Life of the Western Church. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1918

    Pfaff, Richard. Medieval Latin Liturgy: A Select Bibliography. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1982

    They are rather heavy going, but most excellent slim volumes


    This site refers to altar servers but still says left over right.

    Perhaps you should start your own blog, I'm sure you'd find it an interesting venture!

  12. Richard Hawker6 April 2010 at 21:36

    If a former Anglo (now Roman) Catholic may make a comment; you mention that Spanish style fiddlebacks are rare in this country. I suspect not as rare as you might think.

    They are however known under a different name. I think.

    When Nashdom Abbey was in her prime, they used to use (and I think make) Vestments of a not-quite Roman cut- with the high neck of a Spanish chasuble; I think they also had the same cut on the back. I know of several parishes who are proud to have sets of "Nashdom Chasubles", or Spanish fiddlebacks as much of the rest of the world calls them.

    I may be mistaken on this.

    Lovely to see the pre-Pian Rites being used as well! Were they in Latin, or according to the Missale Anglicanum?

    Oh, and PS: Fortescue says thumb should be right over left- same witht he amice and stole- the right goes on top!
    However, I'm sure our Lord won't mind.