Jocelin of Wells

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Bishop, royal servant; d. Wells, England, Nov. 19, 1242. Jocelin came of a landed family from the neighborhood of Wells, Somerset, and was the younger brother of Hugh, bishop of Lincoln (120935). The two brothers rose quickly in the royal service and by 1203 or 1204 Jocelin was one of the justiciars at Westminster as well as a canon of Wells. On his election as bishop of Bath and Glastonbury by the canons of Bath and Wells (120506) he became involved in the ancient dispute between Bath and glastonbury abbey (see savaric of bath) which was not settled until 1217 when Jocelin, in return for certain manors, surrendered his claim over Glastonbury and the see was henceforth known as bath and wells. In 1208 Jocelin left England because of the interdict resulting from the disputed appointment of Abp. stephen langton, but he returned in 1213 and was henceforth active in the service of both King john and henry iii as justiciar and custodian of castles. His name appears in the preamble of magna carta. Along with his brother Hugh he founded St. John's Hospital at Wells. He reorganized the constitution of his chapter and its prebends and rebuilt much of the cathedral, the present nave and choir as well as the west façade being his work. He is buried in the choir in a striking tomb.

Bibliography: c. l. kingsford, The Dictionary of National Biography From the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900) 10:835836. j. leneve, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 13001541 (1716) 1:130131. h. wharton, Anglia sacra , 2 pts. (London 1691) 1:563564, 582583. j. h. robinson, Somerset Historical Essays (Oxford 1921).

[d. nicholl]