Tulchans, or Tulchan Bishops

Tulchans, or Tulchan Bishops A tulchan was the effigy of a calf, or rather it was a stuffed calfskin, set up before a cow when she was milked under the belief that the animal thereby yielded her milk more freely. The custom has long been discontinued. Under the regent Morton, and after 1572, attempts were made to introduce bishops into the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The men who consented to take the title had bound themselves, as the price of their elevation, to receive only a small part of the revenues, the rest going to Morton and his lordly colleagues. "The bishop had the title, but my lord had the milk." Such bishops were called tulchans by the people. The first tulchan was John Douglas, appointed to the see of St. Andrew's. Patrick Adamson, who afterwards himself became a tulchan, said in a sermon, "There be three kinds of bishops my lord bishop, my lord's bishop, and the Lord's bishop. My lord bishop was in the papistry; my lord's bishop is now, when my lord gets the benefice, and the bishop serves for nothing but to make his title sure; and the Lord's bishop is the true minister of the gospel."

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