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Nag's Head Consecration

On the passing of the first Act of Uniformity in Queen Elizabeth's reign, fourteen bishops vacated their sees, and all the other sees, except Llandaff, were at the time vacant. The question was how to obtain consecration so as to preserve the succession called “apostolic” unbroken, as Llandaff refused to officiate at Parker's consecration. In this dilemma (the story runs) Scory, a deposed bishop, was sent for, and officiated at the Nag's Head tavern, in Cheapside, thus transmitting the succession.

Such is the tale. Strype refutes the story, and so does Dr. Hook. We are told that it was not the consecration which took place at the Nag's Head, but only that those who took part in it dined there subsequently. We are furthermore told that the Bishops Barlow, Scory, Coverdale, and Hodgkins, all officiated at the consecration.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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