Vicar of Bray


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Vicar of Bray

1. a vicar (Simon Aleyn) appointed to the parish of Bray in Berkshire during Henry VIII's reign who changed his faith to Catholic when Mary I was on the throne and back to Protestant when Elizabeth I succeeded and so retained his living
2. a ballad in which the vicar's changes of faith are transposed to the Stuart period

Vicar of Bray

declared that he would retain his office regardless of the reigning king’s religion. [Br. Balladry: Walsh Classical, 61]

Vicar of Bray

changes religious affiliation to suit reigning monarch. [Br. Folklore: Walsh Classical, 61]
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But 30 years after he stopped digging up cricket pitches, this latter day Vicar of Bray has rediscovered some core beliefs.
As for Viscount Cranborne, or the Vicar of Bray as he should be known, it's obvious no family could spend 400 years at the centre of power without being able to judge which way the wind is blowing.
Churchmen, on the other hand, were goaded by external forces - a John Wesley, for instance - to mind their standards and improve upon the laxness portrayed in the ballad of the Vicar of Bray (1720).
The chorus runs as follows: And this be law, I shall maintain until my dying day, sir That whatsoever king may reign, Still I'll be the Vicar of Bray, sir.
ONE of the songs I learnt in childhood was The Vicar of Bray, the theme of which is whatever king might reign he would be the Vicar of Bray and do as he liked.
Unfortunately, whatever the consequences of his latest campaign, he ( like the Vicar of Bray ( will move on, and seek to tackle some new "problem" which has excited the Prime Minister; perhaps leaving many thousands of people to face the consequences of a vibrant and prosperous city economy damaged for the benefit of the Government's latest top 10 problem-solving exercise.