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Soapy Sam

Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, and afterwards of Winchester. (1805-1873.) It is somewhat remarkable that the floral decorations above the stall of the bishop and of the principal of Cuddesdon, were S. O. A. P. (the initials of Sam Oxon and Alfred Pott. When Samuel Wilberforce went to inspect the building he was dismayed at seeing his sobriquet thus perpetuated.

Someone asking the bishop why he was so called, the bishop replied, “Because I am often in hot water, and always come out with clean hands.”

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