Simon Aleyn

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Simon Aleyn (or Alleyn) (d 17 October 1565) was a Canon of Windsor from 1559-1563[1]

He was educated in Oxford and graduated BA 1539, MA 1542.

He was appointed:

  • Vicar of Cookham 1553
  • Vicar of Strathfieldsaye 1559

He was also Vicar of St Michael's Church, Bray, Berkshire and according to Thomas Fuller and Richard Brome, is the likely subject of the famous ballad, "The Vicar of Bray" and was also thought to be the subject of a subsequent comic opera of the same name. However, that opera, written by Sydney Grundy with music by Edward Solomon makes no mention of Aleyn, and the text of the opera indicates that the character is actually vicar of Stanford-on-Avon and attached to the Lords of Bray whose family seat is at Stanford Hall. Mention of the Pychley and Quorn hunts placees the opera solidly on the borders of Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.

In legend, Aleyn retained his benefice (c. 1540 to 1588) during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth, he is said to have been successively Catholic, Protestant, Catholic, and Protestant in order to fulfil his principle[2] -

And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
That whatsoever King may reign,
I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!

but in reality he was only Vicar of Bray from 1557 to 1565.

However, his date of death is more likely to be 1563 as given in Fasti Wyndsorienses, or 1565 as given in the online clergy database.[3]


  1. ^ Fasti Wyndesorienses, May 1950. S.L. Ollard. Published by the Dean and Canons of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
  2. ^ "The Vicar Of Bray - What History Tells Of A Legendary Figure". The Herald. 12 March 1938. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  3. ^ CCEd Record ID: 77982