Academic Regalia Hoods
Evolution of the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral Hood
This piece covers Academic Hood development, including academic regalia in the middle ages, and the history and evolution of the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral Hood . The discussion concerns only medieval universities and higher learning education in the colleges and schools of europe.
Excerpt from "Academical Dress in New Zealand", 2000, Chap 2: Mediæval Education,
by Noel Cox, LLM(Hons) MA PhD GradDipTertTchg FRHistS FBS, Barrister of the High Court of New Zealand, Professor of Law, and Discipline Chairman of Law, Faculty of Business, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
The hood, or caputium, which was in universal use as a separate item of dress from about 1200 onwards,(1) was originally common to all classes and both sexes, and had, at first, no academical significance. Unlike the gown, the hood was certainly lay in origin, and served the function of a head covering, a shoulder cape and as a bag for alms. It was also used to cover the shoulders in the cold and draughty mediæval buildings, or in inclement weather. In front of the hood was a liripipe, also called the tipetum or cornetum, which was a piece of material originally used for pulling the hood on and off the head. This later served as a scarf. The whole was held in position by a neckband, which held the two sides together at the throat.
The style and pattern of the hoods was settled in the course of the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries(2) when it was adopted by monks, clergy and university students. 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. Undergraduate hoods were black and unlined, while those of graduates were furred or lined with fur or other material, such as stuff.(3) It was eventually retained in a specialised form (influencing, and, prior to the Reformation, being influenced by, the form of the almuce)(4) by the various faculties as an academical distinction, and is now the main means of identifying the degrees held by graduates in academic dress.(5)
Bachelors' and masters' hoods were originally distinguished by the value of the material of which they were made, rather than their shape or colour. Commonly, bachelors wore badger's fur or lamb's wool lining. When the cap was adopted, and the hood came to hang down the back, the liripipe became longer for undergraduates.(6) Doctors adopted scarlet for their hoods in c.1330-40. In 1414 Cambridge Masters of Arts, both regent and non-regent were to wear, by order of King Henry V, fur of good quality in their hoods, such as ermine.(7) From c.1432 masters and doctors at Oxford wore two kinds of hoods, the cooler silk-lined hood for summer, and the miniver-lined(8) hood at other times.
Those below the degree of master were not permitted to use these materials, but only lamb's wool or rabbit's fur, unless they were entered upon the university's books as being of royal blood, the sons of peers or members of Parliament, or with incomes of 60 marks a year or more.(9) By 1463 the favourite dress of doctors was the hood with round bell-shaped cape, and the liripipe,(10) which was now shortened or entirely removed and replaced by a separate article, the scarf, now represented by the lapel or panel.(11) By 1592 the hood was worn with the lining displayed.(12)
The undergraduate hood appears as early as the 1480s, but were abandoned before the sixteenth century, at Oxford as early as 1489.(13) Early in the sixteenth century the epitogium or "shoulder piece" was no longer worn and the hood, much elongated, was used alone. By the 1604 canons all graduate ministers were to wear a hood. By 1666 caps and hoods were not worn in public, often not even at congregation and convocation.(14) From c.1675 masters and doctors retained the silk-lined hood, and the miniver-lined hood served for proctorial insignia only. Later, at Cambridge, a distinction was made between hoods of regent masters (who wore miniver) and non-regent masters (who wore silk).(15) Later again the regents showed the white lining while non-regents wore theirs squared so as to not show the white lining.
Bachelors of Divinity wore black cloth hoods, originally lined with fur as the Master of Arts, but later lined with black silk. The Doctor of Divinity hood was originally of black cloth, lined with ermine or miniver. When later scarlet cloth was adopted, this was lined with black silk in summer.(16) The Bachelors of Canon Law, and of Medicine wore hoods of blue, lined with white fur.(17) The Doctor of Canon Law originally wore blue lined with fur, but later, when the other doctors began to use scarlet hoods, followed this precedent, and wore scarlet lined with fur or white silk. Doctors of Physic wore scarlet cloth, lined with white fur, or with crimson silk. Bachelors and Doctors of Music originally wore hoods used by other secular faculties, such as physic. Before the 1636 statutes however, the present Oxford DMus hood was adopted.(18)
While doctors adopted scarlet, bachelors in canon law, civil law, and physic retained the original blue cloth and white fur-lined hood, originally the preserve of the lawyers.(19) The Cambridge Master of Arts hoods departed from the Oxford pattern in the mid-sixteenth century.(20) Silk and miniver-lined hoods survived at Oxford until 1657 or even later.
It is interesting that in Europe hoods have disappeared but tippets sometimes remain, in the form of a cape.(21) However, in those parts of the world influenced by the British academic tradition, the hood remains, though the tippets have disappeared in the Oxford pattern hood. Cambridge full shaped hoods, and those copied from them, have vestigial capes, much smaller than even in the eighteenth century.(22) In certain cases the hood alone is granted, particularly by theological colleges.
The tippet and hood replaced the almuce in the sixteenth century in the Church of England. The tippet is, in the Church, a long black scarf worn over the surplice. The hood and tippet are derived from the mediæval hood. By canon 58 of the 1604 canons of the Church of England all graduate ministers were to wear a hood, and non-graduates a tippet instead. All clergy were to wear a tippet over a gown outdoors. Today, clergy generally wear the hoods of their degree, or of their theological college, with their vestments.
(1) Franklyn, Charles, "Academical Dress- a brief sketch from the twelfth to the twentieth century, with especial reference to doctors" in (1946-7) 9(2) Oxford 78 at 80. Its origin can be traced as far as the Bronze Age.
(2) Franklyn, Charles, "Academical Dress- a brief sketch from the twelfth to the twentieth century, with especial reference to doctors" in (1946-7) 9(2) Oxford 78 at 81.
(3) A material which does not contain any silk or silk-like fibres in its composition. Stuff refers especially to woollen fabrics.
(4) The hood of the cappa developed into the almuce. This was discontinued under Elizabeth I and replaced by the tippet and hood.
(5) Smith, Hugh & Sheard, Kevin, Academic Dress and Insignia of the World (AA Balkema, Cape Town, 1970) vol 1 p 12-13.
(6) Clinch, George, English Costume (Methuen & Co, London, 1909) 248.
(7) Ermine, the winter coat of the Putorius erminea, an animal of the weasel family. The fur, all white except for the black tip of the tail, is extensively used in robemaking, especially for official dress.
(8) Miniver, or minever, is a white fur, originally mixed or variegated, used for lining and trimming.
(9) Gibson, Strickland (ed), Statuta Antiqua Universitis Oxoniensis (1931) 239-40; Wells, Joseph, The Oxford Degree Ceremony (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1906) 71; 60 marks was worth £40, moderately large income in the early fifteenth century.
(10) Franklyn, Charles, "Academical Dress- a brief sketch from the twelfth to the twentieth century, with especial reference to doctors" in (1946-7) 9(2) Oxford 78 at 83.
(11) Haycraft, Frank, The Degrees and Hoods of the World's Universities and Colleges revised and enlarged by EW Scobie Stringer (4th ed, The Cheshunt Press, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, 1948, first published 1923) 2-3.
(12) Clark, A, Register of the University of Oxford (OHS vol x, 1887) vol ii 1571-1627, 231.
(13) See Gibson, Strickland (ed), Statuta Antiqua Universitis Oxoniensis (1931) 51-2.
(14) The terms at Cambridge and Oxford for formal meetings of members of the university. In both instances the principal modern occasions are degree ceremonies, although these bodies retain some limited control over university appointments and policy.
(15) New Catholic Encyclopaedia (The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, 1967)Vol 1 p 63-64.
(16) Franklyn, Charles, "Academical Dress- a brief sketch from the twelfth to the twentieth century, with especial reference to doctors" in (1946-7) 9(2) Oxford 78 at 83.
(17) Franklyn, Charles, "Academical Dress- a brief sketch from the twelfth to the twentieth century, with especial reference to doctors" in (1946-7) 9(2) Oxford 78 at 83.
(18) Franklyn, Charles, "Academical Dress- a brief sketch from the twelfth to the twentieth century, with especial reference to doctors" in (1946-7) 9(2) Oxford 78 at 83.
(19) Franklyn, Charles, "Academical Dress- a brief sketch from the twelfth to the twentieth century, with especial reference to doctors" in (1946-7) 9(2) Oxford 78 at 83.
(20) Hargreaves-Mawdsley, WN, A History of Academical Dress in Europe until the end of the Eighteenth Century (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1963) 120-121.
(21) A form also to be found at the University of Aberdeen.
(22) Hastings, Very Rev'd Rashdall, The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages (first published 1895, new ed FM Powicke & AB Emden, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1936) vol 3 p 391.
The above excerpt was reprinted with permission of copyright owner.