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Churchwarden Pipes

All pipe smokers need at least one churchwarden pipe in their collection! Churchwardens are built for comfort and relaxation, while providing a cool smoke due to the distance the smoke has to travel from the bowl to the mouthpiece. The extra-long stem provides a leisurely smoking posture as well as ensuring any smoke or heat from the bowl will stay far from the eyes. 

Some people think that a Churchwarden's large stem may appear impractical, but these pipes aren’t meant to be practical day to day, they are designed to take you away from the perils of everyday life, which is what makes them unique! It’s a style of pipe that demands appreciation of the tobacco inside as well as the style of pipe.

Churchwardens have existed in Europe since at least the early 16th century. During Elizabethan times, Churchwardens were popular with England’s upper classes and even associated with leisure as the long stem meant little movement was needed when smoking in an armchair. Back then, pipes were made out of clay instead of briar so the working class tended to smoke shorter pipes as to not break them while labouring, an issue the upper class. Clay Churchwarden pipes were also popular in taverns where they were provided for paying customers to enjoy when drinking, eating and socialising. 

It is difficult to determine where the Churchwarden pipe received its name but there are a couple of theories. The first origin story relates to the watchmen or “churchwardens” who would guard churches at night. They required a clear line of vision to fully watch over the church’s grounds, so they smoked long-stemmed pipes to stay vigilant without anything blocking their vision. Another theory is that the extra long stem allowed people to smoke while in church with the bowl being placed outside of an open window. In Germany they are treated as reading pipes so you can keep reading your book without the bowl getting in the way of the pages.

While churchwardens have been a big part of pipe history they have gone through many periods of being in and out of favour. In the early 2000s a certain trilogy of films brought a massive surge of popularity to a previously untapped market. The Lord of the Rings films introduced a new generation to churchwarden pipes and reminded current pipe smokers that churchwardens are still around. The pipes were an important part of the living situation of the characters in the films as nearly every prominent character within the fellowship smoked a churchwarden of some kind. Whether it was Gandalf quietly puffing away or Merry and Pippin enjoying a stashed barrel of “Pipe-weed”, these films showcased churchwarden pipes in a loving way which is a change to the usual stigma around smoking in films.

Many pipe brands make churchwarden pipes including Mr Brog, Falcon, Dr Plumb, Vauen and more! With Mr Brog and Vauen creating Lord of the rings style pipes. Mr Brog have created the Bilbo range which is a tribute to the central character of the Lord of the rings whereas Vauen have created the Auenland The Shire range which is a tribute to the films as a whole. Both brands' pipes look just like the ones in the film so you can look just like your favourite characters. 

Click here to view our range of churchwarden pipes