Gown The ancient academical gown, always wide-sleeved, was an adoption of the monastic habit from the robe of the preaching-friars, who wore it instead of an alb. From itinerant lay preachers of the time of Elizabeth, the custom of the universities, the vanity of the richer clergy in the last century, wearing silk robes out-of-doors and then in the pulpit, and the introduction of lectures, not provided for by the rubric, the use of the gown in English pulpits took its origin. The narrow-sleeved gown, with a cross-slit for the arms, was an importation from Geneva; and called the lawyer's gown, in distinction from the wide velvet-sleeved gown still worn by other, graduates, posers at Winchester, and often with an ermine hood by proctors at Oxford. Russet white and black gowns were worn by mourners at funerals.

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