Jocelin of Wells: Bishop, Builder, Courtier

Jocelin of Wells: Bishop, Builder, Courtier

Edited by Robert Dunning


Boydell Press



The life and career of Jocelin of Wells examined, with a particular emphasis on his role in the reconstruction of the Cathedral and Bishop's Palace.
Jocelin, bishop of Wells (d. 1242), is an iconic figure in his native city; but his career as courtier and statesman moved far beyond the west country. From a family network which had produced bishops over several generations, he played a major role in a developing diocese and mother church, and in the growth of towns, fairs and markets in early thirteenth-century Somerset. He had a crucial influence on the completion of what was to become Wells Cathedral, and on the Bishop's Palace beside it.
The essays in this volume look at Jocelin's life and career from a variety of perspectives, with a particular focus on his involvement in the building work to complete the Cathedral, as well as the erection of the earliest part of the Bishop's Palace. Architectural, archaeological and even botanical approaches are used to explain the curious physical nature of the Palace site, the significance of the work still standing there from Jocelin's time, and the possible sites of other contemporary work. A final chapter studies the design and purpose of Robert Burnell's additions to Jocelin's work.

Contributors: Robert Dunning, Nicholas Vincent, Jane Sayers, Diana Greenway, Sethina Watson, Tim Tatton-Brown, Jerry Sampson, Alex Turner, Christopher Gerrard, Keith Wilkinson, Mark Horton, David J. Hill, Matthew Reeve.


July 2010
22 colour, 26 black and white illustrations
236 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in the History of Medieval Religion
ISBN: 9781843835561
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

Introduction - Robert W Dunning
Jocelin of Wells: the making of a bishop in the reign of King John - Nicholas Vincent
Jocelin of Wells and the role of the bishop in the thirteenth century - Jane Sayers
Jocelin of Wells and his cathedral chapter - Diana Greenway
The bishop and his cathedral cities - Sethina Watson
Jocelin of Wells as a palace builder - Tim Tatton-Brown
Bishop Jocelin and his buildings in Wells - Jerry Sampson
Geophysical and geoarchaeological survey at the Bishop's Palace, Wells - CM Gerrard
The location of Bishop Jocelin's palace at Wells - Mark Horton
Lichens on the stonework of the Bishop's Palace, Wells - David Hill
Robert Burnell and the transformation of Bishop Jocelin's Palace - Matthew M. Reeve


Provides a useful (...) overview of Bishop Jocelin's multifaceted career and building enterprises. HISTORY

For what this book presents about his origins, his election, his episcopate and his building-works in Wells, it is surely definitive. ARCHIVES

Edited and produced to a high standard. SOUTHERN HISTORY

This is a most enjoyable collection, containing not a few gems. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

This is a splendid volume and is destined to become an important reference point for future studies. CATHOLIC HISTORICAL REVIEW

An interesting and unusual book (...) handsomely produced and generously illustrated throughout, with twenty-two colour plates and twenty-seven black-and-white figures, all of them very informative. JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

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