Saturday, May 28, 2016

Historical Roots of the Warham Guild Hood

In doing just a little checking on the internet, it's interesting to see how the Warham Guild hood, which I have as part of my STM degree attire, is actually a throwback to the Medieval hood. One article notes "the work of the Warham Guild in its imaginative renderings of medieval hoods" (reference is from here).
Again, here is my hood:
The Medieval hood, which was originally a very practical outer garment to cover a person's head and shoulders, protecting both from the elements, bears striking resemblance to this revived form:

This hood was also a part of the garb of monks in that era.

The Medieval hood, in some cases, also had what is known as a "liripipe," a long tail hanging from the back of a hood.
You can see the modern stylized version of this on my own hood.

From an article on "Academic hood development" we read that "By 1463 the favourite dress of doctors was the hood with round bell-shaped cape, and the liripipe, which was now shortened or entirely removed and replaced by a separate article, the scarf, now represented by the lapel or panel. By 1592 the hood was worn with the lining displayed." See here for the linked article. The article also notes that "By the fifteenth century the hood came to be seen, in England at least, as a token of graduation and was given distinctive colours and lining."

In an article on the evolution of hood patterns, they echo the observation made above that "initially they evolve from the actual medieval headgear used by everyone." The article then notes that "the medieval hood consists of three parts: the cowl (or hood proper), the cape (or shoulder) and the liripipe.  Exactly what shape the medieval academic hood had is open to question, but it doubtless was the same as the hood in everyday use." Then, referencing the Warham Guild style in particular they note that "a reconstructed version of this, known as the Warham Guild shape...from the company that promoted its use in the will be seen that all three parts are present, although the liripipe is possibly much shorter than the medieval one would have been." Eventually the hood evolved from this form, changing shape and function as time passed.  You can read the remainder of the article here.

I noticed that the Warham guild hoods for the lower degrees, such as the Masters in Ministry and the Master of Arts in Theology were mainly black in the cope portion.  Those of the higher degrees, such as M.Div and STM then adopt the maroon color for the cape, with the red lining for theology.  Maroon appears to be the school's color.

One additional picture of a priest wearing a full hood in the Warham Guild style:
The source is from an article here from 1915 in reference to the Warham Guild.  It is captioned: "Doctor's Full Choir Habit. (Surplice, Scarlet Chimere, true Hood, Tippet, and Cap.)" I find it interesting that it notes the "true Hood."  The Warham Guild attempted over a century ago to restore what they believed was the original hood design.

Here is another image from the 1950's:

Going back to our own era, here is a present day example of a hood much like mine, this one borrowed from "Robes of Distinction."
It is posted on a Pinterest site under the designation "Ornaments of the Church," which also includes many examples of ecclesiastical garments, although this one is identified as "University of Hull, BA".  The academic color of the lining corresponds to the school color, which is turquoise.  The University of Hull is in England, and I am not aware of any other institution in the US, save Nashotah, that uses this unique style of academic hood.   In checking the school's website, it does not appear that this style of hood is currently used, so the picture might be from an earlier period.  Their site also notes that "the distinguishing feature of the System to be used in the University of Hull may be termed 'The Single Silk System', i.e. one special silk (turquoise blue taffeta) lines." Note: Where this hood has the lining in the color of the institution, I am now wondering how this works for Nashotah.  Red is, in the American system, at least, the academic color of theology. 

Some additional information from a online discussion board for musicians.  One participant wrote: "By the way IanW, I just purchased, for the fun of it, a Warham Guild-style hood from Wippell of London (I hold a Doctor of Musical Arts from a "Big 10" university). Its design is adapted to the American academic regulation (with the institution colors in the lining and a 4-inch border of the discipline color in velvet around the bottom edge. It actually looks really amazing, and I can't wait for the opportunity, however rare, to wear it with cassock and surplice, as it was designed."  Interesting.  I had wondered how I would wear this hood for an academic occasion outside of the church.  I thought of purchasing a standard master's gown (if needed), but according to this source that would not be entirely correct.  Perhaps that is why the picture above is on a white robe instead of a black one. And according to the source above this hood was originally "promoted its use in the church." So I guess I'll figure out what to do when and if such an occasion arises.

So far the closest thing I have found in academia that resembles a Warham Guild hood are the ones used in Australia, specifically at Deakin University. The one below is for a master's degree by research:

Also, here is some more information on the evolution of the hood from STILIM.AZ:
"Medieval dress consisted of a flowing gown or cappa clausa, with a cape or cloak draped over the top. This often had a cowl-like appendage that could be pulled over the head, much like a hooded cape or capitium. By the second half of the fifteenth century, the fashion had progressed toward an open gown, said to be an expression of the new acceptance of academic learning and the arts. From 1490 onward this gown became standard academic dress, with the hooded cape becoming more ornamental than practical. Most commonly, bachelors and masters scholars wore black gowns made of “princes stuff” or “crape,” with the senior man’s garment having wider sleeves to allow for movement while teaching. The dress hood took the form of a drooping cape, lined with silk or fur to denote the scholar’s faculty or social status. For example, in 1432 Oxford forbade the use of miniver for anyone except Masters of the Arts and those of great wealth or noble birth. Variations in sleeve style and lining continued to mirror fashionable dress, and by the sixteenth century academics followed professionals and the clergy in the wearing of caps.
It is difficult to pinpoint the origins of the academic cap, but it is thought to have evolved as a variation on the ecclesiastic pileus cap and the medieval head scarf. Most contemporary graduates wear the trencher form of the pileus quadratus-or the Oxford mortarboard. This consists of a small skullcap, shaped to fit the head, and a flat, square top, adorned with a silk tassel. This form of headwear became popular with the clergy after the Restoration, when it was thought that emphasizing “squareness” denoted greater dedication. However, the modern academic form was not popularized until the eighteenth century, when wood or card was used to stiffen the square. Some philosophical doctors or secular doctors may wear a variation of the Tudor Bonnet, a softer, fuller hat, or if of Scottish origin, the John Knox cap."  (
Here are some examples from Spain, the only place that seems to use a true cape-style hood:

These people are wearing attire for those with honorary doctorates. The green cape is for education, and I think the blue one on the top is for the sciences. The third one is the president of the European Union.  It appears that these capes do not have a hood, an evolution of the garment in modern time, perhaps.  I am not sure what the gold symbolizes, or the red. They seem to come in a variety of colors.
More searches......Here is a picture of the faculty at Trinity Episcopal School of Ministry.  The gentleman on the second row, far right, appears to be wearing a Warham Guild hood with his doctoral robe.  Far as I can tell he is the Rev. Dr. Henry L. Thompson III, whose doctorate is a D.Min from the same institution.

Not sure if this was the original hood that he was awarded, though.

Addition (October 5, 2016): I discovered that court dress in England and Wales also utilizes a style of hood similar to the Warham Guild.  In the picture below are circuit judges, I believe from Wales. You will note the distinctive cape style of hood. This style is also utilized by others in the legal profession on very ceremonial occasions, such as the Opening of the Legal Year at Westminster Abbey.



1 comment:

Kenneth Crawford said...

I notice you've used two pictures from my website, indicating that they are the University of Hull BA. In fact, they are of the University of Southampton MA, the white binding on the cowl indicating that the degree was taken in education. There are pictures of the University of Hull BA, but these are not they. I'd be grateful if you'd change the reference to Southampton.