Pelican Cloak

The following article was initially written by Mistress Rowan Perigrynne, Guildmaster, as a funding proposal to the Barony of Rowany.

Now that the project is complete, it has been updated to reflect this.

Lochac Peliican Cloak April 2014 Cloak completed as at April 2014 (click for large image)


The ceremonies for the induction of members of the peerage into their Orders all include the recognition of the new peers status by being robed as a new peer.

I have been thinking for some years that the Order of the Pelican needed a new cloak, to replace the one made many years ago by Mistress Selivia de l'�Estoile, an early member of the Order.

Many others have felt the same, including Mistress Marienna Jensdatter, with whom I discussed some early ideas.  The Order of the Laurel is also in need of a new cloak, but as Mistress Bess Haddon had plans for that, I have focussed on the Pelican cloak.  When Master Everard de Brusi died, I thought it might be an appropriate memorial, and began work on charting the devices of the Order, but the idea was put on hold for many years.

The project was re-invigorated recently by Mistress Keridwen the Mouse, who thought it might be a good use for some of the Rowany Fighter Auction funds.

Historical Notes

Orders within period were marked by a variety of symbols, including chains, badges and cloaks.  A cloak for the investiture of a new peer is a historical supportable garment.

Originally, I had thought to make a cloak based on the ecclesiastical copes, as there are several extant examples available to provide inspiration (Fig 1, 2).  The Royal Investiture cloaks are based on the cope design, which has a straight front edge, heavily embroidered, with no shaping at the neck, as is the cloak for the Order of the Golden Fleece (Fig 3).

The_Pienza_Cope   Syon_Cope
                   Fig 1. The Pienza Cope c1315-1335                                               Fig 2. The Syon Cope c1300-1320

Cope_-_Order_of_the_Golden_Fleece  Coronation_mantle

     Fig 3. Mantle of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Mid 15thc              Fig 4. The Coronation Mantle, Sicily early 12thc

On reflection, it seems more appropriate to base the cloak on contemporary mantle designs, such as those used by Orders within our period.  These have a shaped neck and a narrower border design follows this shaping (Fig 5, 6).  This shape can also be seen in the coronation mantle (Fig 4.).

Emporer_Sigismund,_Order_of_the_Dragon         teutonicknightshermann
Fig 5. Emperor Sigismund, Order of the Dragon   Fig 6. Teutonic Knights Hermann


The design is based on the many copes and mantles which show a series of motifs in a structured framework (Figs 1-3).  One key feature is the orientation of the motifs, which are set so as to appear upright when the cloak is worn.  This means that they are laid out at angles to each other, when viewed as a flat semicircle. The general design is shown here. The cloak will be fastened at the front, as in Figures 5 and 6.

Cloak_diagThe body of the cloak is laid out in a simple diamond grid, allowing the motifs to be oriented in several directions, so they appear upright when worn.  The grid is applied as braid, rather then embroidered, to reduce the effort involved. 

The front edge has a separate border, as can be seen in Figures 4 and 5.  The neck and front borders of the Pelican cloak will be defined with laid braid and applied embroidered emblems, representing the Kingdom and the Order. The lower edge is decorated with braid alone.

The devices of the members of the Order are the obvious choice for the motifs.  The body of the cloak will be decorated with embroidered devices and names of the members of the Order of the Pelican, applied in sequence, as people originally joined the Order.  Emblems and devices are to be worked in silk on linen, from charted designs. 

The vast majority (over 85%) of Pelicans have registered devices.  Where members have not yet registered a device, a Lochac populace device with their name will hold the place until they do so.  The devices and motifs will be sewn on to the cloak, one in each partition.  A sample of the cloak and edging can be seen below, using the Kingdom device as an example.

Our Kingdom currently boasts over 100 members of the Order of the Pelican.  At the current rate of expansion, there will be room to add more members for many years to come.


The cloak will be used in many environments, so it has been made of a fine, dense red wool, rather than a velvet or brocade.  In order to make it easy to put on and take off, the cloak is lined in silk. 

The partitions are created using applied  woven gold braid.

The devices and border motifs are e embroidered using the same materials as the Investiture Cloak borders: Madeira silks on 16ct linen.  The diamond shaped border motifs are 4.5cm across.

The devices are charted at a size which shows enough detail, but remain fast to work � each is 5.5cm wide by 8.5 high, including a partition for the name.


The devices and motifs have been charted, so each embroiderer can work a single item or several, as skill and time allow.  .Each device takes approximately 4-8 hours to complete, depending on complexity and experience.  The small Lochac and Pelican patches for the borders take 1-2 hours.

Tent stitch is a simple technique, so people with a range of skills and experience can take part.  The charts are offered to the Order of the Pelican as well as the Worshipful Company of Broiderers, so that members may work their own device if they so wish.

To maintain consistency, kits are prepared for each section, containing:


                       Chart example for the Pelican and Lochac border pieces.

The finished cloakGwir_pelican_ceremony

The initial project requested that kits be returned by November 2008, to ensure the cloak can be presented to the Order at 12th Night. Although the majority were returned, there were not enough to complete the project. A new deadline was set for Rowany Festival 2009. 90% of the pieces were returned by this date and the WCoB meeting at Festival viewed the contructed cloak and helped to trim and turn the devices, ready for application.

The cloak was completed (with a few missing devices) for May Crown 2009 and was first used to elevate Master Bernard Stirling to the Order. The picture here shows Gwir ferch Madog at her elevation.