Your Handy Guide to Clerical Beards #9. The Niagara

by Instant Noodle

The Niagara is unusual, but in a few cases finds favour ; it is formed by shaving away all hirsute append-ages above an ideal line drawn across the face from the tip of one ear to that of the other, and allowing all below the line to grow in perpendicular freedom. It becomes clerical gents of a middle age who still rejoice in hirsute privileges on the lower part of the coun-tenance, and is an assertion of vigorous manhood, especially be-coming when the upper sphere of the cranium has been divested of  its capillary attractions.

Well, that’s the final one in this series, which we began on the 9th July (today for me, obviously!) I will leave you with Punch’s final words on clerical beards.

These are the principal beards that adorn our pulpits ; they admit of many subdivisions which it would be tedious to particularise. No doubt they greatly strengthen the Establishment by increasing the respect in which the clergy are held. Dissent came in with the razor; LATIMER, CRANMER, and RIDLEY, of course had beards, and it was the beard that awed the rebellious Puritan till the days of LAUD. The Roundheads clipped their locks in mockery of a shaven clergy. The beard alone is want-ing to restore unity and piety to the land; it is a sure intimation that the clergy are above the poor vanities of the world allow Nature to assert her privileges and are too much taken up with higher duties to attend to the adornments ol their persons.

Mr. Punch concludes by suggesting that as they permit their hair to grow ” like eagle’s feathers,” they should suffer their ” nails to grow like birds’ claws,” the effect of such a conjunction in the pulpit
would be irresistible.

(5th March 1864)