Good In Vestments



Amidst the rustle of silk, the drape of damask and the questions over whether the green or the red lining is better, the Reverend Richard Coles explores the ancient tradition of ecclesiastical vestment-wearing.

At the recent Royal Wedding, all eyes may have been on Catherine Middleton's dress, but the magnificent vestments worn by the Archbishop of Canterbury also caught peoples' attention.

Why do clergy still wear these clothes, who designs and sews them and has the emergence of women priests made any difference to who's wearing what in church?

In this programme, Rev Richard Coles talks to various members of the clergy and historians to find out more about the traditions and developments in the way vestments have been adopted by Anglicans and Catholics.

He goes to one of London's oldest vestment companies to meet priests being measured for their new clothes, and to talk to the seamstresses who stitch the chasubles and stoles by hand.

As well as hearing about the traditional designs, he investigates how some clergy are seeking out new pictures and patterns - and asks what that says about the role of vestments in an increasingly secular society.

Producer: Emma Kingsley.

The Rev Richard Coles explores the surprising history of church vestments.