The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451. It is the second oldest university in Scotland and the fourth oldest in the UK (after Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews). By the end of the sixteenth century Scotland had five universities, compared with England’s two. This situation continued for more than two hundred years: it was only in the nineteenth century that England finally caught up with Scotland. So perhaps one might expect that Scotland would have a long, continuous and colourful history of academic dress. However, as we shall see, that is not the case. The reason can be expressed in two words: the Reformation. The presbyterian Church of Scotland that emerged from the Reformation was much more austere than the episcopalian Church of England, and exerted its influence over many aspects of Scottish life. [Excerpt].

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