Cassock

A long close-fitting black tunic worn by clergy under surplice or gown in church, or as ordinary attire, sometimes in the latter case with topcoat. It originated in the vestis talaris, or ankle-length dress, laid down for clergy by the Council of Braga in 572, and was retained despite the barbarian pressure for shorter garments in secular life. The Roman Catholic Church used to insist on its invariable use by all clergy, although overcoats were permitted, and the Anglican Canons of 1604 similarly insisted on the use of cassocks in public. In both churches a greater freedom is now implicitly allowed.