Bath and Wells 1206-1247
This volume is concerned with two bishops whose pontificates differed hugely in length: Jocelin of Wells, 1206-1242, and Roger of Salisbury, 1244-1247. Bishop Jocelin's 36-year pontificate was among the longest in England in the thirteenth century, being exceeded only by those of Roger Longespée at Coventry and Lichfield (37 years) and of Walter de Gray at York (nearly 40 years). By contrast, that of his successor, Bishop Roger, was very short, lasting for a
little over three years. Jocelin was the last bishop of Bath, Roger the first bishop of Bath and Wells. This volume provides for the first time scholarly editions of their 200 surviving acts, together with appendices elucidating their administration (particularly their use of dataries in their documents and
their itinerariations around the diocese and beyond it). It also uses an extensive introduction to place these texts in the context of the bishops' lives and what they tell us of their work. In particular they consider the content of the material: content which allows us to touch the lives of ordinary men and women through the administrative records of their bishops, and the diplomatic structure of the acta, which provides information about the administrative and bureaucratic development of the
bishops' chanceries and administration.
The volume is of value in itself: Jocelin of Wells in particular was an eminent figure in the political life of the thirteenth-century as well as in his diocese and influenced his relative, Hugh of Wells, who was also both a royal servant and then a bishop, in his case of Lincoln. It provides much information in terms of place name variants and local information for local historians as well. However, it is also a vital part of the English Episcopal Acta project's work, as the series brings
together information on the development of documentary format and the changes in emphasis on content for bishops across England in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. These texts are a vital part of that jigsaw, adding to the 44 currently printed volumes.