Bell-clerks were two functionaries formerly attached to the pope's chapel at Rome. They probably derived their name from the duty being assigned them of ringing a bell when the pope was on a journery with the holy sacrament. While attending the pope on these occasions they were dressed in red, but at chapel their dress was purple and they wore surplices. It was necessary that one of them should be a priest, so that he could carry the sacrament from the horse to the place where it was to be used on a journey. It was their office to decorate the altar, light the wax tapers, cover the tables of the altar, prepare the seat for the officiating priest, arrange the benches and cushions in order, dress the assistant, take care of the censer, and present the wine and water to be made use of in the mass.

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