1822: Breeches foil buggering bishop’s getaway

In July 1822, Percy Jocelyn, Bishop of Clogher and son of the Earl of Roden, was arrested for sodomy. Witnesses caught Jocelyn “deep in the act of buggery” with a young soldier behind the White Lion in Westminster. According to witnesses, Jocelyn was still wearing his bishop’s cassock, which was hitched up around his waist.

A different report says His Grace tried to make a getaway but was foiled by his own undergarment:

“The affair of the Bishop has made a great noise. The people of the public house have made a good deal of money by showing the place [where they were discovered]… The Bishop took no precautions and it was next to impossible he should not have been caught. He made a desperate resistance when taken and if his breeches had not been down they think he would have got away.”

Jocelyn was dragged through the streets and beaten up then handed over to city authorities, who released him on £1,000 bail. He immediately fled to Scotland, where he worked as a servant under an assumed name. John Moverley also absconded and was not heard of again under that name.

The 1822 incident was not Jocelyn’s first brush with accusations of sodomy. In 1811, one of his brother’s servants, James Byrne, attested to “indecent acts and propositions” made to him by the bishop. Byrne was sued for defamation. He was found guilty, fined heavily and publicly flogged.

Source: Report from July 30th 1822, cited in the Greville Memoirs, vol. 1. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.