Glove Ceremony held at Christ Church

Tuesday 10 October saw the annual Glove Ceremony take place at Christ Church, in the Drawing Room of the Deanery, as part of a series of events to mark the beginning of the legal year in Oxford.

The ceremony follows the High Sheriff's Law Lecture, held in the University’s Examination Schools, and involves representatives of both the judiciary and the University. It is thought to date back to at least the sixteenth century, potentially having its roots in Elizabeth I once being given five pairs of gloves on a visit to Oxford, whilst it has also been suggested that a pair of white gloves was presented to the High Court judge if there were no crimes for him to try when he visited.

A pair of ceremonial white gloves is presented to the Judge in Commission by the Vice-Chancellor on behalf of the University, and by the Lord Mayor on behalf of the City. Following the ceremony, all those involved process from the Deanery to the Cathedral for the Court Sermon, where a College Chaplain is usually appointed to preach.

After attending the law lecture, the judicial party arrived at the Deanery to dress in their robes, and were joined in the Drawing Room by members of the University – Proctors, Assessor, Clerk to Proctors, Heads of Houses, University Marshal and Bedels – as well as the Civic Party, and personal guests of the High Sheriff. The University Marshal announced the ‘Presentation of the Gloves’, and the Dean gave a short speech in which he thanked the judges for their work. The Lord Mayor then presented a pair of ceremonial white gloves on behalf of the City to The Hon. Mr Justice Stuart-Smith, and The Revd Dr Ralph Waller, Principal of Harris Manchester and attending the ceremony in his capacity as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, presented a pair of ceremonial white gloves on behalf of the University to the Shrieval Lecturer, The Rt. Hon. the Lord Judge. The Hon Mr Justice Stuart-Smith and The Rt. Hon. the Lord Judge both spoke of the honour of being presented with the gloves.

At the conclusion of the Glove Ceremony, the Civic Party, representatives from Oxford Brookes University, the University Party, the Lord Lieutenant and the Judicial Party processed to the Cathedral for the Court Sermon, followed by The Hon. Mr Justice Stuart-Smith and the Dean. On this occasion, the preacher of the Court Sermon was Morag Ellis QC. Following the service, there was a reception in the Deanery.

You can find out more about the Glove Ceremony, as well as other University ceremonies, on the University of Oxford website