The History of Leith

March 19, 2012

Tulchan Bishops (Church Magazine 1909)

Tulehan Bishops.
This famous concordat agreed upon by the Church
and State for appointing Protestant bishops found little
favour amongst the Reformers. It savoured too much
of bargaining and was regarded as a motley scheme
devised in the interests of the avaricious nobility. The
Concordat of Leith was the source of discordancy in
the Church throughout the following century. The
bishops were humourously designated by the minister
of Dunfermline as tulchan bishops; the meaning of
which has often been explained:—A tulchan, in the
old Scottish language, means a calf’s skin stuffed with
straw, which is set up beside a cow, to deceive her,
and make her yield her milk. The bishop had an
outward form, but was only as a skin stuffed with
straw ; for, while he had the title, my lord drew or took
to himself the milk or commodity of the benefice.
Patrick Adamson, at that time a strenuous opponent
of Prelacy, though afterwards a Prelate, said that there
were three sorts of bishops: my Lord Bishop, my
‘Lord’s Bishop, and the Lord’s Bishop. My Lord
Bishop was in the Papistrie ; 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.

Source-South Leith Church

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