- "To the world, to the press, to the government, he was a retired lawyer of fading distinction, yesterday's man, of no interest. In fact, he was directing an organisation that functioned very like a secret service, which not many years before had been part of the security and intelligence services of the Crown."
- —A description of Thomas Nugent's work[src]
Under a liberal, secular government, Thomas Nugent was Lord Chancellor. When a new government arose which submitted to the Consistorial Court of Discipline in Geneva, Nugent was forced to work surreptitiously.
Nugent became director of a secret organisation known as Oakley Street. One of their more unusual directives was keeping the six-month-old Lyra Belacqua safe from those who wanted to kill her. Nugent had her placed at Godstow Priory in the care of the nuns.