Gloves (χειροθήκη, gantus). It would seem that gloves, in the strict sense of the word. were unknown to the early Greeks, and Romans (Casaubon, Aniumadv. in Athen. 12:2). That they were in use, however, among the ancient Persians appears from Xenophon (Cyropced. 8:8, 17). The- European custom of wearing them seems to have originated with the German nations, as the Teutonic origin of the, common Latin word for them clearly shows: and although, as an ecclesiastical vestment, properly so called, gloves do not appear till the 12th century (the first extant mention of them in that character being as late as A.D. 1152), they had been used for centuries as articles of practical convenience. Thus we find them mentioned in the life of St. Columbanus, by Jonas Bobbiensis (formerly included among the works of Bede, c. 25). In this instance, the gloves are spoken of as used "for purposes of labor," but sometimes they were obviously of a costly natures, for in the will of Riculfus, bishop of Helena (ob. A.D. 915), in a long list of valuable articles, he mentions "one pair of gloves" (Migle, Patftol. 132:468).
Gloves symbolized the hiding of iniquity by the merits of our Saviour, an recalled the blessing upon Jacob when he wore gloves of skins. William of Wykeham's gloves are preserved at New College, Oxford. Candidates for degrees in medicine formerly gave gloves to the graduates of the faculty in that university, in return for their escort to the doors of the convocation house. Bishop Ken contributed to the rebuilding of St. Paul's the cost of his consecration dinner and a hundred pairs of gloves. At St. Andrew's, Holborn, the clergy were given gloves at Easter, and some noblemen used to send a pair to any bishop or dean whom they heard preach. In 1636 the University of Oxford presented gloves to the members of the royal family and king Charles I.