One of the most persistent of the legends surrounding Elizabeth is the assumption that she was not only opposed to clerical marriage per se but that her prejudices on the subject presented a formidable obstacle to the elevation of married candidates to the episcopal bench. A corollary is that she was invariably enraged if her bishops had the temerity to remarry as widowers. Scholars have sought to modify the traditional view — most recently and persuasively Eric Josef Carlson1 — but it continues to make its presence felt in generalised accounts of the reign. The present chapter is an attempt to destroy it once and for all, in particular by analysing two crucial cases of marital scandal — those of Bishops Richard Fletcher and John Thornborough.
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