Verger Vestments and Verger Regalia
The vergers gown is very distinctive having several special features including, Lappets, Chevrons and Inverted T welts.
The Verger wears a cassock similar to a priest, on top of this the verger wears a gown and a choice of neckwear. Although the cassock is used widely today, it was not historically part of the vergers dress. The cassock is used as an undergarment onto which to place the vergers gown.
Like most other ecclesiastical garments, the vergers gown used to have a practical function, as well as protection from the weather. The square collar of today's gown, similar to a naval sailors uniform, would originally have been a hood. Over time this has changed into the square collar found today on most robes. On some gowns the hood has disappeared. Buying a gown.
The pattern of the gown varies slightly as do the colours. Some vergers wear black cassocks under the gown, others wear coloured cassocks. Some of the gowns are more ostentatious than others.
The gown was primarily an academic gown which would have been worn by a parish clerk as he went about his work. The lower parts of the vergers gown sleeves called lappets, were developed to hold scrolls and the chevrons on these lappets were originally ribbons with which to tie small scrolls or other documents. These chevrons are now usually made of velvet and are used for more decorative purposes. These chevrons also feature at the back of most gowns.
The sleeves are quite short and come out of the body of the gown with an inverted T welt. This is a very distinctive armhole that is only found on special academic dress and on vergers gowns. This T welt is similar to a pocket that is commonlly found on as suit.
On sleeves with lappets these inverted T welts are usually hidden, and are sometime less fancy.
The lappets were also used to enable the verger to carry the host and other things that a member of the laity would not be allowed to touch. The verger would carry perhaps the bible wrapped in the lappets so that it is secure but untouched by the verger.
The neckwear worn by vergers all seem to stem from some form of Cravat. The most common form of neckwear for the verger is a sub fusc, a winged collar and a white bow tie, although most vergers seem to wear an ordinary shirt and guild tie.
Some vergers wear a bonnet, adapted from the headwear of medieval times. These are based on skull caps in some instances. Many bonnets are like those worn by PhD's. These are more commonly worn in the USA.
Many churches including those abroad often have one gown for anyone who acts the part of a verger. In the USA some churches import their robes from England