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Surplice

A loose white linen liturgical tunic, with wide sleeves. In the medieval Catholic church it was the accepted garb of the lower clergy and was used by priests also except when they were celebrating mass. The Second Prayer Book of Edward VI prescribed the surplice as the only vestment to be worn by the clergy. This rubric was altered in the Prayer Book of 1559 in an attempt to revert to the wearing of vestments for the celebration of communion and probably for morning and evening prayer. The rubric now ordered a return to the situation in the second year of Edward VI's reign, whereas the first prayer book had been authorised by parliament in the third year of the reign. This mistake led the reformers to believe that the Queen did not wish them to wear the vestments, to which they so objected.