HC Deb 10 August 1876 vol 231 cc976-7

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether his attention has been called to the circumstances that, by a judgment of the Dean of Arches, it has been declared to be unlawful for clergymen of the Church of England to wear a vestment called a "stole;" whether chaplains in the Navy are not bound by that decision; and, whether the Admiralty will take steps to enforce the observance of the Law as thus declared by chaplains in the Navy?


My hon. Friend alludes, I presume, to the Purchase Case, in which a decision was given that it was unlawful for the defendant to wear a stole. A very high authority has, however, given his opinion officially that chaplains may wear stoles. In his address to the chaplains of the Army in 1867, the Chaplain General used these words— Being chaplains appointed by the Sovereign, you are each of you entitled to wear a plain black stole or scarf with your surplice. This address has been made a circular by the War Office, and though part of the instructions contained in it have been revoked in consequence of the Purchas judgment, the passage relating to stoles remains in force. I cannot, therefore, look upon the matter as free from doubt.