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Tulchan Bishops

The name comes from an old Scots rural practice of stuffing a calf's skin with straw and leaving it beside the cow to induce it to give milk more freely. In 1572, during the infancy of James VI, through the influence of Regent Morton certain influential Protestant ministers were persuaded to agree to the retention in the kingdom of episcopal titles. The persons appointed to the vacant sees entered into an agreement with Morton and other powerful nobles to ensure that the incumbent should retain only a modest proportion of the episcopal emoluments and give the rest to their patrons. “The bishop,” it was said, “had the title, but my lord had the milk.” The general assembly denounced the practice, which did not long survive the end of Morton's regency (1578).