Vicar of Bray


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Vicar of Bray

Someone who changes their alleged fundamental belief(s) or allegiance(s) in keeping with the popular views of the time, so as to gain or maintain a favorable position or advantage. (An allusion to Simon Aleyn, a 16th-century vicar in the town of Bray, Berkshire, who changed his religious doctrine between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism to that of the ruling monarch.) Though the statesman always remained popular in the polls, many politicians felt him to be a Vicar of Bray, changing the tune of his rhetoric to meet whatever fancy the public demanded at the time.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Duffy harbors great sympathy for Christopher Trychay--the center of it all--though some readers (this one included) may hold less generous views of a priest who can come across as somewhat nasty at times, with his stern hectorings and his obsession with raising funds to purchase black vestments; while Duffy also insists upon Trychay's continued traditionalism, the priest did persist through the reigns and take the required oaths, thus giving him more than a passing resemblance to the time-serving Vicar of Bray.
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.