Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Men’s Hats in Church


 From the Court Journal
There is no doubt that occasionally Churchmen do hit on the weaknesses which keep men away from church, and Canon Venables has boldly stated his conviction that the falling-off in masculine attendance at Church is due to the terrible injury inflicted in places of worship upon favourite and expensive hats.

In the last development of his otherwise sound theory, it is not possible to follow the Canon.  He is obviously not speaking of the feminine part of congregations, yet otherwise his remarks are not reconcilable with facts.  Who ever heard of a man possessing a “favourite” hat?  To a man all hats are alike.  They must be “in condition,” that is all.  Then “expensive.”  Did the Canon ever come across a man who varied in the price given him for his tall silk hats?  To the wearer of such hats there must perforce be no distinction.  If he possesses a dozen, there should not (theoretically) be a pin to choose between them.  And men are faithful to one hatter.  A man with a boot-battered hat coming out of Church could not say “Oh, the hat I bought at so-and-so’s is done for.”

Still the Canon is not far from the truth, and proper receptacles for hats would make men less nervous of being absent-minded in Church.

More about St Thomas’ Church here

Source: IW Observer 4 March 1899
Image: St Thomas’ Church, engraving by W. Wallis 1817
Article: Ann Barrett