(chrismale). In the Roman Church the priest puts on the baptized person after the Chrism a white robe, saying, "Receive this white garment, which mayest thou carry unstained, etc." In the baptism of infants a white kerchief is given instead of the garment, with the same words.
By a constitution of Edmund, archbishop of Canterbury, A.D. 736, the chrisomes, after having served the purposes of baptism, were to be made use of only for the making or mending of surplices, etc., or for the wrapping of chalices. A "chrisome child," in old English usage, was a child in its chrisome cloth. Thus Jeremy Taylor: "This day is mine and yours, but ye know not what shall be on the morrow; and every morning creeps out of a dark cloud, leaving behind it an ignorance and silence deep as midnight, and undiscerned as are the phantasms that make a chrisome child to smile" (Holy Dying, chap. 1, sec. 2).
The first Common Prayer-book of King Edward orders that the woman shall offer the chrisome when she comes to be churched; but, if the child happens to die before her churching, she was excused from offering it; and it was customary to use it as a shroud, and to wrap the child in it when it was buried. Hence, by an abuse of words, the term is now used in England not to denote children who die, between the time of their baptism and the churching of the mother, but to denote children who die before they are baptized, and so are incapable of Christian burial. — Catechism of Trent (Bait. ed.), p. 136; Hook, Church Dictionary, s.v.; Procter, On Common Prayer, 373.