Jocelyn, Percy (1764–1843), disgraced bishop, was born 29 November 1764, third of four sons of Robert, 1st earl of Roden (qv), and his wife Anne, née Hamilton. Educated at TCD, he graduated BA (1785). Ordained a priest in the Church of Ireland, he rose swiftly in the church, due mainly to his father's connections. In quick succession he was rector of Tamlaght, treasurer of Cork cathedral, archdeacon of Ross, treasurer of Armagh, and prebend of Lismore. Despite having no genuine interest in religion, in 1809 he was appointed bishop of Ferns and Leighlin. His first brush with national scandal occurred in 1811. Accused of homosexuality by a coachman, James Byrne, Jocelyn prosecuted for malicious libel and the trial took place in Dublin in October 1811. As presented by Charles Kendal Bushe (qv), Jocelyn's case centred on the claim that homosexuality had not yet reached Ireland from the corrupt Continent. Jocelyn denied Byrne's allegation and, as the word of a bishop was not likely to be doubted, the coachman was found guilty, stripped, tied to a cart, dragged throughout Dublin, flogged, and sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
Appointed bishop of Clogher in 1820, Jocelyn soon became embroiled in another national scandal, but one that was less easy to escape from. On 19 July 1822 the elderly clergyman was found in a back room of a public house, the White Lion, in London, with a 22-year-old soldier called John Moverley. Interrupted by a watchman and suspicious locals, Jocelyn was discovered with his breeches down, and immediately arrested and taken by a mob to prison. His identity was soon discovered and he spent the night in prison. Because he had been arrested before any sexual act had been committed, he was only charged with a misdemeanour and released on bail of £1,000 (the charge of sodomy, however, was still a capital offence). Terrified at the prospect of facing trial, Jocelyn fled the country and went to France. The scandal soon became a national preoccupation and was widely discussed. George Dawson (qv), private secretary to the home secretary, Robert Peel (qv), described the arrest as an event that ‘will sap the very foundation of society, it will raise the lower orders against the higher’. The archbishop of Canterbury observed that it was not safe for a bishop to show himself in the streets of London in the days immediately after the scandal. And when Viscount Castlereagh (qv), the foreign secretary, had a nervous breakdown in August 1822 he confessed to the king that he was guilty of the same crime as the bishop of Clogher. Byrne, meanwhile, had been vindicated and a public subscription to help him raised £300. In October 1822 Jocelyn was deposed as bishop of Clogher, and two years later he was declared an outlaw.
After a number of years in exile under various assumed names, he returned to Britain. Living with his sister in Scotland, and masquerading as a butler, he died 2 December 1843 at 4 Salisbury Place, Edinburgh, where he had been living as Thomas Wilson. He was buried privately and the inscription on his coffin read: ‘Here lies the remains of a great sinner, saved by grace, whose hopes rest in the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ’.