Monday 5 December 2011
The Vestments of Adrian Fortescue, DD. Part I
This month will see the launch of a new biography of one of the most brilliant yet enigmatic of English clerics, Dr. Adrian Fortescue. 'The Latin Clerk: The Life, Work and Travels of Adrian Fortescue' by Aidan Nichols OP and published by the Lutterworth Press should, hopefully, be an interesting read. Adrian Fortescue was a man of many, diverse, talents and there is a certain irony that the work which most readers of this blog will associate him with, The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, was a work Fortescue deeply regretted writing and took little subsequent interest in. That in itself is rather sad as it is a most excellent work indeed.
Fortescue designed his own vestments in a singular yet characteristic style for use at his church of St. Hugh at Letchworth. Several years ago with a change of incumbent Fortescue's vestments were thrown away and piled onto a skip. Fortunately, some were spared the land-fill site and rescued from the skip by His Excellency Fra' Duncan Gallie and taken to St. Edmund's College at Ware, an institution with which Dr. Fortescue had many connections. Two years ago I was able to take some photographs of them thanks to the kindness of Mr. Alan Robinson. Several Low Mass chasubles, some complete sets, were saved along with a frontal of great interest but, sadly, no copes or High Mass sets survive.
As this is the season of Advent this first post will show the violet vestments. Two violet Low Mass chasubles remain. One has maniple, burse and veil the other only its stole. As the adage says 'a picture is worth a thousand words' let the vestments describe themselves.