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Jocelin of Wells: Bishop, Builder, Courtier

Jocelin of Wells: Bishop, Builder, Courtier

Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Jocelin of Wells: Bishop, Builder, Courtier
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-826-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    Robert Dunning

    As indicated in the Preface, the papers in this volume have their origin in a conference organised under the auspices of the Archaeological Research Committee of the Bishop’s Palace at Wells, held there on 11–12 September 2006. The date was chosen to commemorate Bishop Jocelin of Wells (bishop 1206–42) and to share current knowledge of his enormous contribution to the history of the present cathedral and diocese and of the buildings that he erected which still form the heart of the Bishop’s Palace. Not all the papers included here were actually delivered at the conference. The additional contributions...

  7. Bishop Jocelin of Wells

    • 1 Jocelin of Wells: The Making of a Bishop in the Reign of King John
      (pp. 9-33)

      Strange as it may seem to open an account of the election of Bishop Jocelin of Wells with personalities of the twentieth rather than the thirteenth century, it would be an act oflèse-majestéwere I to fail to acknowledge that what follows is not so much my own work but a mere précis of that of two of the greatest of twentieth-century ecclesiastical historians. The first of these giants was a local man, Joseph Armitage Robinson, born at Keynsham, professor of divinity at Cambridge, dean of Westminster and after his controversial removal from that (still controversial) office, dean of...

    • 2 Jocelin of Wells and the Role of a Bishop in the Thirteenth Century
      (pp. 34-52)

      Jocelin of Wells died at Wells on 19 November 1242, ‘full of days’, as the chronicler Matthew Paris says.¹ A Wells man, probably born in the town or its vicinity, he had seen the creation of a cathedral worthy of a bishop, and had dedicated it to St Andrew in 1239.² His marble tomb, surmounted by a brass, was placed in the middle of the quire, flanked by tomb effigies of earlier bishops whose remains had been translated there from Bath a decade or so before Jocelin’s election.³ The tomb, constructed before his death, has not survived, but his elegant...

    • 3 Jocelin of Wells and His Cathedral Chapter
      (pp. 53-66)

      When I was invited to speak on Jocelin of Wells and his cathedral chapter at the 2006 conference on the bishop and his career, I accepted readily and with great pleasure. But later it occurred to me that it would have been more accurate to have entitled my lecture ‘Jocelin of Wells and hisquasi-cathedral chapter’. For in Jocelin’s time the church of Wells was technically no longer, and not yet, a cathedral. It was existing in an interim,quasi, phase.

      Historically the ancient minster of St Andrew at Wells had been made the mother church of the newly created...

    • 4 The Bishop and His Cathedral Cities
      (pp. 67-98)

      Jocelin of Wells was a local man whose family networks and rapid career rise were both firmly rooted in the Somerset diocese, and most particularly in the up-and-coming borough of Wells. His life spanned the very decades when English provincial towns were experiencing their most rapid growth and when so many were emerging onto the national map as centres of wealth and power. Across the country communities like Wells were undergoing a dramatic demographic and commercial expansion, securing their most decisive political liberties and creating new forms of civic government.¹ Jocelin and his brother Hugh are distinctive examples of the...

  8. Bishop Jocelin the Builder

    • 5 Jocelin of Wells as a Palace Builder
      (pp. 101-109)

      When Jocelin became bishop of Wells in 1206, cathedral building-work on a huge scale had been taking place in England for a century or so. Starting with Canterbury in 1071, some extraordinary new buildings were erected which evolved rapidly from the fairly crude but often massive Romanesque buildings of the later eleventh century to the wonderful early Gothic rib-vaulted structures of the later twelfth century.¹ At Wells itself a magnificent new cathedral (started inc.1175) was nearing completion, with its eastern arm, if not its nave, ready for use.² Alongside this work, but less well known because most of...

    • 6 Bishop Jocelin and His Buildings in Wells
      (pp. 110-122)

      This chapter seeks to consider Bishop Jocelin’s buildings in Wells from the point of view of buildings archaeology, concentrating on the two prime examples: the cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace. While there is probably surviving fabric from Jocelin’s period in the Old Deanery, and perhaps in other houses to the north of the cathedral, those remains are slight and have not been studied in detail. The other major survival, the fragments of Jocelin’s chamber and chapel at Wookey, lies outside the city. Therefore, what follows is a consideration of Jocelin’s work in the cathedral and palace, first by examining the...

    • Colour plates
      (pp. None)
  9. The Bishop’s Palace at Wells

    • 7 Geophysical and Geoarchaeological Survey at the Bishop’s Palace, Wells
      (pp. 125-136)

      Geophysical and geoarchaeological surveys were carried out at the Bishop’s Palace, Wells in 1998 and 2003–04 by staff and students of King Alfred’s College, Winchester (now the University of Winchester) at the request of the Bishop’s Palace Archaeological Research Committee. The main objectives in undertaking this work were, firstly, to determine whether buried archaeological features beyond those identifiable in historic cartographic sources exist below the present ground surface and, secondly, to assess whether medieval archaeological remains are buried by thick alluvial or made ground deposits. Resistivity and magnetometer surveys were carried out on the lawns that surround the palace...

    • 8 The Location of Bishop Jocelin’s Palace at Wells
      (pp. 137-153)

      The Bishop’s Palace at Wells is rightly considered to be one of the most important groups of surviving medieval buildings in Britain. Its completeness and modern appearance are, however, the result of long architectural development throughout the Middle Ages, and a certain degree of antiquarian restoration, landscaping and deliberate ruination during the nineteenth century that positioned the palace within its extraordinary setting of gardens, moat and pools.

      Understanding the development of this complex site requires the use of a variety of different approaches – documentary, archaeological, antiquarian, architectural and geophysical.¹ Particular difficulties relate to the depth of deposits through the deliberate...

    • 9 Lichens on the Stonework of the Bishop’s Palace, Wells
      (pp. 154-168)

      It may seem rather unusual to have such a chapter as this one within an historical and archaeological book. This arises because I was asked to carry out a survey of the lichens on the walls and stonework of the Bishop’s Palace and walls as part of the investigations about the building prior to its development as an historic site for the public to visit. As far as I am aware, this is the first lichen survey that has been done there. The full results have been previously privately reported more fully¹ and this chapter summarises those findings with some...

    • 10 Robert Burnell and the Transformation of Bishop Jocelin’s Palace
      (pp. 169-196)

      The sequence of Decorated buildings associated with Robert Burnell, chancellor of England 1274–92 and bishop of Bath and Wells 1275–92, including the chapter house and staircase in his cathedral at Wells and the monumental additions to Bishop Jocelin’s palace there, together with related buildings at Acton Burnell in Shropshire and Nantwich in Cheshire, have been justly celebrated as ‘one of the most coherent and interesting’ sequences in English Decorated architecture.¹ These buildings have hardly gone unnoticed by scholars of medieval architecture, but to date the majority of attention has focused upon Acton Burnell castle and the additions to...

  10. Index
    (pp. 197-202)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 203-207)