Jocelyn, Robert (c.1688–1756), 1st Viscount Jocelyn , lord chancellor, was the only son of Thomas Jocelyn of Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire, and his wife, Anne, daughter of Thomas Bray of Westminster. In 1708 he was pupil in the office of the solicitor Charles Salkeld in London, where he formed a lifelong connection with Philip Yorke (qv), later earl of Hardwicke. He entered Gray's Inn in 1709 and was called to the Irish bar in 1719.
In Ireland he was at first associated with several of the bishops of the Church of Ireland who were of English birth. His first wife was sister-in-law of one of these, Bishop Timothy Godwin (d. 1729) of Kilmore, whose friendship and patronage helped secure Jocelyn's return to the house of commons. He sat first for Granard, Co. Longford, 1725–7, and subsequently for Newtownards, Co. Down, 1727–39. His progress through a series of legal offices began with his appointment as third serjeant in 1726, then as solicitor general, 1727–30, and attorney general, 1730–39. In 1739 the office of lord chancellor became vacant through the unexpected resignation of Thomas Wyndham (qv). The likely successor was thought to be Sir James Reynolds, chief justice of the common pleas. Hardwicke, now lord chancellor of England, intervened, however, on behalf of his friend and correspondent, and secured the Irish woolsack for Jocelyn.
He was one of the lords justices of Ireland appointed, during the absences of the lords lieutenant, on every occasion between 1740 and 1756. He stood firm with the government against house of commons opposition during the money bill dispute of 1753, keeping Hardwicke – who played an important role in framing English policy on this question – informed of developments in Ireland. He was created Baron Newport in 1743 and Viscount Jocelyn in 1755. In September 1756 the seal was put in commission during his illness; but he died on 3 December 1756 in London and was buried at Sawbridgeworth. He had married first, in 1720, Charlotte, daughter and co-heir of Charles Anderson of Worcester. She died 23 February 1747. He married secondly, in 1754, Frances, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Claxton of Dublin and widow of Richard Parsons (qv), earl of Rosse; she survived her second husband too, dying 25 May 1772.
Jocelyn has been characterised as a moderate whig in politics, and was a defender of the English interest. Conciliatory in temperament, however, he was a popular figure and prominent in the social and cultural life of Dublin. His city residence was on St Stephen's Green, and he had country residences in Co. Dublin at Donnybrook and later at Mount Merrion. He was president of the Physico-Historical Society in Dublin, and patron to a fellow member, the antiquarian Walter Harris (qv), who left him all his papers. In 1746 he was one of the purchasers of books at the sale which followed the death of Jonathan Swift (qv). Jocelyn's letters to Hardwicke are in the British Library (Add. MSS 35584–35594).