Apropos of nothing in particular, I was musing the other day, as you do, about the extraordinary lengths that bishops’ mitres go to these days. Or perhaps one should say, the extraordinary heights that they reach. Have you noticed? I do wonder how they keep them on in a high wind – is there some internal arrangement of rubber bands and combs that attach them to the head? This would work for a woman bishop, but except for our recent Archbishop of Canterbury, the bishops I can think of do not have noticeably thick heads of hair. Perhaps they use superglue?
It was not always thus. In earlier days, a mitre was an altogether more modest form of headgear, only slightly loftier than a biretta. And of course Archbishops of Canterbury tend to build up a wardrobe of mitres, so I could also find images of slightly smaller ones. I have only seen our new Archbishop of Canterbury in one mitre so far, and that is on the modest side.
But by way of comparison and contrast, may I offer you some random Archbishops of Canterbury from an earlier era? Of course, I realise there were exceptions so I include a leaning tower of Pisa of a mitre to save you the trouble of finding the exception. But I would be interested if anyone thinks I have got this wrong – maybe it is all in my fevered imagination?
Of course, if one were as unkind as one is impertinent, one might propose a new theory - to rival Newton and Einstein? -