Interesting Thread

Following from an earlier post English Use, there has been some interest taken in the painting of the solemn Mass in Amiens Cathedral sometime in the early nineteenth century. See Need help identifying…

Indeed the “wizard hats” and tridents of the Rulers in Choir seem quite obscure. Of course it’s not the Sarum Use but the local diocesan use of Amiens, since the Roman Rite was only generalised in France under the influence of the Ultramontanists (including Dom Guéranger) in the mid nineteenth century. However, many of the so-called Neo Gallican rites adopted the Roman ordinary of the Mass, as you will find in the Parisian and Rouen missals printed since the eighteenth century.

It’s interesting to find the observation about the use of blue cassocks and choir dress in the Institute of Christ the King as a revival of the old neo-Gallican fashions. They had not yet been introduced when I was at their seminary in the early 1990’s. I remember the discussions between “pure Roman” and “Gallican” tendencies. Boy, did we live in a dream world! It all seems so long ago.

* * *

Update: a magnificent painting of what appears to be a Corpus Christi procession in the mid nineteenth century (no white powdered wigs). You can click on the image to get a bigger image and more detail.

corpus-christi-processionThe headgear of the choir rulers, looking a little like a wizard’s hat, was the turlututu, the ancient pointed hat of chanters. It is named after Saint Turlututu, martyr of the second century, devoured by lions in Lyons. It was the pointed hat of those who were condemned to death. Something similar was worn by the victims of the Inquisition as they were led to be burned at the stake.

San_BenitoThe vestments of the priests are red, not white as in the Roman rite. Red is more associated with solemnity as in the Ambrosian rite and the Norman / English tradition. Such images will give us tremendous insight into what has been lost, even in traditionalist circles, except for perhaps some of the major churches in France like Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet in Paris. This is a real leftover from the medieval Church!

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3 Responses to Interesting Thread

  1. Father Martin says:

    Father Anthony,
    I can’t help identify the “dunce caps” and tridents, however, I do see two cavalry serpents in the front of each choir. They’re wind instruments and made of leather, producing a wonderful sound similar to a chalumeau and a trumpet combined.

  2. Liam Oager says:

    The uniforms of guards would also indicate 19th century.

  3. Paul Kitchenham says:

    W.G.Henderson’s Introduction to his 1882 edition of the Sarum Processional (page vii) mentions Tau-shaped staves held by the Rulers of Choir on the greater Feast Days, adding that “Rulers’ staves were ordinarily made of this shape, and of boxwood, allowing an image or other ornament to be placed on them.” The tridents must be a development of this arrangement, I would think.

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