Revealed - why Moderators wear lace

Moderators have worn lace since the 18th century.

Why do Moderators of the General Assembly wear lace?

Right Rev Dr Derek Browning explains the fascinating history behind the tradition.

The present moderatorial dress, which entails lace cuffs and jabot that doesn’t obscure the clerical collar, is a continuation of 18th century court dress.

The story goes that the General Assembly ruled that Moderators must wear the attire to counter the risk that the King, in seeing him coming and fearing that the message being brought was not one he wanted to hear, could instruct his servants to turn the Moderator away on the grounds that he was not properly dressed to be admitted to the court.

In the past, each Moderator has been presented with a personal set of lace made in Chingleput, India, by mission-taught workers there.