Newspaper Reports concerning the Scandal involving the Bishop of Clogher, 1822

Thursday, 1 August 1822

          SIR,       Cloyne, July 25, 1822.
          Understanding that some of the public prints have made a serious mistake in writing the title of Cloyne instead of Clogher in a late charge of a gross nature, against a Bishop, you will be pleased to remove any doubt, and rectify the mistake. The Bishop of Cloyne has not been in England this year, but constantly resident in his diocese, devising means for the suppoert of the starving poor, and piously exercising the various duties of his sacred station.
          I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,
                    JAMES KINGSTON,
                        Vicar-General of the Diocese of Cloyne. (Morning Chronicle)

Thursday, 1 August 1822

SIR,       Dublin, July 24, 1822.
          The sensation of horror with which the account respecting the wretched Bishop of Clogher was received in this country, is not to be described. It was felt as a case peculiarly aggravated, in consequence of the prosecution which he instituted about five years since against his own coachman, who was charged with and found guilty of scandalizing him by the imputation of the crime in which he has been now detected. The man was sentenced to be publicly whipped; and such was the public idignation against the supposed falsehood and malignity of his offence, that the sentence was carried into effect against him with a vindictive severity that put a period to his existe4nce. He was literally almost cut to pieces; and it was thought that he did not get half what he deserved. Do you not think that this is a case that pculiarly calls for public sympathy? If so, for God's sake make such a representation of it as may draw the notice of the generous and humane to the pitiabole and forlorn condition of the widow and orphans of the unfortunate man, that some effort may be made to compensate them for the rest of their lives for the loss of a husband and a father, and to make, as far as it is possible to do so, some amends for the ignominy and bereavement with which they have been so unjustly and cruelly visited. (Morning Chronicle)

Thursday, 1 August 1822

THE LATE SHOCKING AFFAIR. – Application was on Saturday made to the sitting Magistrate at Marlborough-street Office, by the desire of Colonel Downes, in whose regiment the soldier served who was detected in company with the Hon. and Right Reverend Percy Jocelyn, Bishop of Clogher, under such dreadful circumstances on the night of Friday week, to know if he had or had not been admitted to bail? This enquiry was indeed in consequence of a rumour having been circulated that he had been bailed, and was then at large. The Magistrate said that the man was still in custody; but that as the charge against him amounted only to a misdemeanour, he was entitled to his discharge on producing proper recognizances. – the Serjeant-Major, by whom the application was made, said, that his enqujiry was solely induced by the regulations of the regiment. If the man had been set at liberty, he ought to have returned to his quarters; and, in default of so doing, would, of course, be considered as a deserter.
          The Bishop Jocelyn, has, we understand, forfeited his bail, and fled from this country for ever. When this wretched operson was discovered in the guilty situation at the public-house, he offered 3,000l. to the proprietor of the house to allow him to escape. the publican very properly refused. – Morning Herald. (Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser)

Saturday, 3 August 1822

Government has taken measures to relieve the Church of Ireland from the disgrace which the abominable turpitude of the Bishop of Clogher has lately brought upon it, and upon human nature. As soon as an account of the horrible occurrence reached the Home Office, the case is said to have been submitted to the Crown Lawyers, and conformably with their advice arrangements were made for proceeding against him in the Ecclesiastical and Temporal Courts. With regard to the former, if the wretched criminal does not volungtarily resign his ecclesiastical dignity, episcopal deprivation will be pronounced by the Metropolitan, assisted by a Council of Cishops. With regard to the latter, the Attorney-General will prosecute at the next Sessions, and bring the parties to trial, if they answer to their recognizances; or proceed to an outlawry, with all its penaltis and disabilities, if they do not. The See of Clogher will, therefore, soon be freed from the stain under which it at present lies. (Jackson's Oxford Journal)

4 August 1822

"We briefly adverted a few days ago, to the disgraceful conduct of a Dignitary of the Irish Church. One sentiment of abhorrence actuates every mind on the subject; and Government have shown themselves on this, as on all otehr occasions, faithful representatives of the national feeling. Anxious to mark their sense of the severe injury sustained by the cause of religion and morals, they nevertheless could only act as the law directs; but every measure prescribed by the law has been and will be pursued with undeviating strictness. As soon as the matter came to the knowledge of the Home Department (which was not till the chief criminal had been admitted to bail), the particulars were officially submitted to the Crown Lawyers; and in conformity with their professional advice, the msot speedy and effectual means were adopted, both in Ireland and England, for proceeding at once in the temporal and ecclesiastical courts. The See of Clogher, therefore, will not long bear the stain with which it is at present defiled. If conscience does not prompt a voluntary resignation of the pastoral charge, recourse will be had to the solemn, but happily very unusual, process of Episcopal deprivation, which must be pronounced by the Metropolitan, usually taking to his assistance six or seven other Bishops. – No instance of this infliction has occurred, we believe, since the reign of William III. but it is certain that the Church retains the power of removing a Prelate from huis See for scandalous excesses, "whence any great public infamy doth arise;" and that the present is a case which calls aloud for the exercise of that power, no one can doubt. – Independently of this, the Attorney General will officially prosecute the parties at the Middlesex Sessions, either to trial, or, if they evade that, to outlawry, with all its consequent penaltis and disabilities. More, the law does not permit; for, black as is the moral turpitude of the conduct deposed to, it still amounts only to a bailable offence; and we all know that both by the Common Law and by the Habeas Corpus Act, it is deemed a violation of the liberty of the subject, in any Magistrate, to refuse or delay to bail la person bailable. In the present instance the wealthier individual found bail immediately; and if the other should tender bail aty any time before the Sessions, it must be accepted. The Magistrate demanded much more than ordinarym, though,w e fear, much less than effecctual bail; but it must be remembered, that the Bill of Rights strictly forbids the taking of excessive bail. It is to be regretted that a vaillain should ever shelter himself under the protection of such salutary enactments; but they are too closely interwoven with our liberties to admit a doubt of their general utility, even though, in a particular instance, they may operate to produce a defeazance of that entire and exemplary justice which the case demands." – New Times.

          It appears from a statement in the Dublin Herald, that the unfortunate man Byrne, who was nearly whipped to death in Dublin for bringing a criminal charge against the Bishop, is still living, and that he was not sentenced to transporation. This paper adds, "he was found guilty entirely on the evidence of the wretch, whose theatrical attitude in rising and calling on the God of truth and justice to hear his words, while he pledged himself before his country, and on the Holy Evangelists, that he had been falsely accused, has not yet left the minds of numerous citizens who were spectators. – The Sentence was two years imprisonment, and two or three floggings. The incarceration was fully completed, and under one flogging he bled until the last spark of life had nearly become extinct. When he had recovered, and was on the eve of getting a second flogging, a steward of the monster came to him, and offered a remission of the impending punishment, on the condition of Byrne's signing a written acknowledgment of his having been guilty of slander and falsehood. Who, that was not prepared to die of the agonies of the rack, could refuse a signature under such circumstances? The poor creature, it may be supposed, was not slow in putting his trembling hand to the paper – and he was mercifully spared a punishment of which it was a thousand to one he would not have survived the infliction." – The above journal also says, that the Bishop of Clogher was not only a Dignitary of the Irish Church, but a Member of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, one of the Board of Education, a Bible Distributor, and a staunch Hater of Popery. (The Examiner (London))

Thursday, 8 August 1822

BYRNE. – There was a report that the man prosecuted by the Bishop of Clogher was dead. He had suffered the agonies of a thousand deaths; but he is still living. His crime was the whispering a report that the miscreant who is at length detected had attempted to commit a certain atrocity in this country. About 11 years ago he lived as coachman in the service of the Hon. John Jocelyn, of Dundalk, and after quitting his service was met in Dublin by his Hon. and Right Rev. Brother, who was then Bishop of Ferns, when the horrid circumstance which he disclosed came to his knowledge; but to prevent his proceeding in the necessary prosecution, he was thrown into prison, and although he offered respectable bail, it was rejected. He had two letters in his possession, written to him by a confidential servant of the Bishop, named Leonard, and at the Bishop's desire, requesting him to conceal the fact from his brother; these letters were taken from him by stratagem, and he, being thus deprived of the only documents by which he could support his charge against the Bishop, was brouight to tr5ial for defamation, and found guilty. The sentence was two years' imprisonment, and two or three floggings. The incarceration was fuly completed and ended, and under one flogging he bled and tortured until the last spark of life and feeling had nearly become extinct. When he recovered, and was on the eve of getting a second flogging, a steward of the monster came to him and offered a remission of the impending punishment, on the condition of Byrne's signing a written acknowledment of his having been built of slander and falsehood. Who, that was not prepared to die of the agonies of the rack, could refuse a signature under such circumstances? The poor creature, it may be supposed, was not slow in putting his trembling hand to the paper – and he was mercifully spared a punishment of which it was a thousand to one he would not have survived the infliction. Byrne is a native of Mayhnooth, and a man, though he had been a servant, of some education, and very decent parentage. He has, for some years back, supported a numerous family by driving job coaches for Collins, in Denzille-street: but having latelky met with an accident in that employment, he has been oglibed to go into an Hospital; and his unhappy wife and children, thus deprived of his support, are now languishing in miser in South Cumberland-street." – Dublin Morning Post. (Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser)

Sunday, 11 August 1822

The Bishop of Clogher is a member of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. His last subscription was 25l.Morning paper. (The Examiner (London))

Thursday, 15 August 1822

THE BISHOP OF CLOGHER. – Wednesday Thos. Maverley, [actually: Moverley] the Soldier of the Foot Guards, who was charged at Marlborough-street office along with the Bishop of Clogher, was brought up from the House of Correction to be bailed, before Mr. Dyer, the sitting Magistrate. Two persons, tradesmen of apparent respectability, came forward and tendered themselves as his bail. The Magistrate informed them of the offence with which the prisoner stood charged, and asked them if they were willing to give bail for the prisoner's appearance at the Sessions to take his trial, in the amount required. – They answered in the affirmative. The usual questions as to their property, debts, &c. were then put to them, and they were accepted bail in sums of 250l. each for the soldier's appearance at the Sessions. He was bound in a recognizance of 500l. to appear,. After the usual form of registry, &c. had been gone through, he quitted the office acdcompanied by some person, but no serjeant or any soldier attended to take him away. All the witnesses were summoned to appear before Mr. Dyer, who had them all introduced into the private room, and there we understand he addressed them, and informed them that they were expected to attend and give evidence against the Bishop of Clogher and Maverley; and they were also desired to hold themselves in readiness to go to Ireland, where their attendance in the Ecclesiastical Co0urt would be required, as a suit in that Court is about to be immediately commenced against the Bishop. The witnesses being informed that all their expenses would be paid, expressed themselves willing to start. it is said that the payment of the immense revenue of the See of Clogher has been stopped.
          The two watchmen, Clegg and Clarke, who gave evidence aginst the Bishop of Clogher, attended at Marlborough-street office on Thursday morming, when one of them was immediately dispatched to Ireland, in order to go through some usual form in the Ecclesiastical Court, prior to the other witnesses being sent over to give their evidence. The whole of them will shortlky be forwarded to that country, when the proceedings will take place in that Court. (Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser)

Friday, 23 August 1822

COPY of a LETTER written whilst in the Cell at the Watchhouse, by the Bishop of CLOGHER, the night of his apprehension – the original is in the Possession of Mr. LATCHFORD, Piccadilly.
                    St. James's Watchhouse, Vine-street.
JOHN – Come to me directly; don't say who I am, but I am undone; cone isntantly, and inquire for a Gentleman below stairs.
          I am totally undone,
          Twelve o'clock.
                    P. C.
Mr. John Waring, Montague-street, Portman-square.


HON. AND KIND SIR – Under the sameful accusation for which I am now here confined, and which arose out of the affair as to the Bishop and myself, I most humbly return you my very hearty thanks, for being so considerate as to volunteer to properly notice my case (for such I have understood from a Mr. Price, who is in the habit of seeing me, to have been your kind and welcome office) on condition that self is so candid as to give up the real truth connected with sad affair, so far as concerns muyself and my great accomplice.
          Furthermore, conceiving your intentions to be nothing more or less than to obtain a knowledge of such facts as may tend to reach the fit ends of justice both for and against, as far as the clear investigation of the matter will allow, I hereby declare, with feeling of contrition, that I will, Sir, inform you the real truth, and advance nothing short of it, nor beyond it, at such time as it may please your will to trouble yourself to closely examine me upon the matter now in question, thus holding myself prepared to meet your proper interference.
          I remain, with many thanks, and with the utmost deference,                     Honoured and worthy Sir,
                    Your most humble and very obedient servant,
                    JOHN MOVERLEY, his  X  mark.

July 31, 1822, Middlesex New Prison, Clerkenwell (Bell-yard) – Parkins, Esq. Ex-Sheriff, &c. &c. &c.

                    Public Office, Great Marlborough-street.
          To the Keeper of the New Prison, Clerkenwell, or his Deputy, Middlesex, to wit. – Receive into your custody the body of John Moverley, herewith sent you, brought before me, Henry Moreton Dyer, Esq. one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, in and for the said county, and charged before me, the said Justice, upon the oath of Edward Lea and othes, with unlawfully, wickedly, and indecently committing with the Hon. Percy Jocelyn, Bishop of Clogher, &c. &c. &c. against the Peace, &c.
          Him, therefore, safely keep in your said custody, for want of sureties, or until he shall be discharged by due course of law, and for so doing, this shall be your sufficient warrant.
          Given under my hand and seal, this 20th day of July, 1822.
          (True Copy)                    H. M. DYER.
To W. Beeby, Keeper.

                              Maidstone, Aug. 18, 1822.
SIR – As your letter of yesterday in The Morning Chronicle states, that neither law nor gospel had taken any means to alleviate the sufferings of the unfortunate Byrne, under his terrible and inhuman persecution, we Members of the Turk's Head Porter Room, beg leave to subscribe our trifle, and hope, by your's and the Gentlemen's exertions to-morrow evening, will be the means of calling forth the generous and humane, to render him that in some measure, which may be a useful service to him. Herewith is inclosed a one-pound note, which please to acknowledge by post.
          (Signed)                    J. HILES, Chairman, Turk's Head.
J. W. Parkins, Esq.
                              (Morning Chronicle)

Sunday, 25 August 1822

JAMES BYRNE. – the meeting at the White Lion, St. Alban's-place, St. James's, announced for Monday evening last, in behalf of poor Byrne, the fictim of the Bishop, took place accordingly. It was chieflky composed of journeymen mechanics. Mr. Parkins took the chair; and after he and others had addressed the meeting, it was resolved, – "That houses in vairous parts of the metropolis be opened to receive subscriptions for the unfortunate and much injured James Byrne, the victim of the ciabolical Bishop of Clother." – A box was handed round the room, and a great number of shillings, sixpences, &c. were collected.
          We are informed that a strong feeling prevails among the tradesmen and humbler classes at the west end of the town, in behalf of the tortured James Byrne; and that a second meeting will be held on the 4th of September, (Wednesday week) at the Vernon's Head Tavern, North Audley-street, Grosvenor-square, to promote a subscription for this victim of injustice. (The Examiner (London))

Sunday, 8 September 1822

BISHIP OF CLOGHER. – It is more than rumoured, that the respectable Bishop of Clogher is in every possible case granting new leases in his diocese for the consideration usual in such cases, in order to supply adequate means for otium cum dignitate on the Continent. In proportion as these accounts are accurate, are the cases of the oppressor and the oppressed – the Prelate and the hackney coachman, still more admirably contrasted. We profess not to be acquainted with the episcopal rights in such cases, but if this hard-minded and brutal reprobate can calmly take the advantages which he is now said to be taking, we have fresh reason to admire the privilegte of the priesthood, and its power in its own cases of uniting that worship of God and Mammon, which it affects to regard as sinful in Laymen. – Traveller.

          POOR BYRNE. – We are gratified in having to acknowledge the receipt of a Bank note for twenty pounds from the Marquis of Hertford, for the unfortunate person, Byrne, who was prosecuted by the Bishop of Clogher. – Dublin Morning Post. (The Examiner (London))

Saturday, 21 September 1822

In this court proceedings continue to be taken against the unfortunate Lord Bishop of Clogher, whose crimes have caused such affliction to his respected and estimable relatives. The proceedings as yet have been confined to the issue of citations, receiving the returns of them, and proofs of service, those preliminary forms have not, as yet, been gone through. This day a Court sat at half-past ten o'clock, A. M.; its proceedings were confined to reading ther affidavit of the service, in a proper and legal mode, of the second cidtation, and the return of it; after which the Court was adjourned until the 11th instant; a third citation is to be served, after which the libel will be filed and evidence entered upon. We understand the Bishops who will preside with his Grace the Lord Primate, in the hearing and final disposal of this important trial, are the Bishops of Kilmore, Derry, Raphee, and Dromore. Most probably, judicial sentence will not be pronounced for two months, and if any defence had been made, it would probably be protracted longer. – Armagh Volunteer. (Morning Chronicle)

Tuesday, 8 October 1822

The court Papers, in half sympathetic accents, announce that the Right Rev. Father in God, Percy Jocelyn, Lord Bishop of Clogher, will cease to be a Prelate about the 14th inst. "Unhappy person," The Patriot calls him. Very happy man, the convicts at present under sentence of death in London, for Jocelynism, would be very likely to pronounce his right worshipful reverence. He surely deserved to be hanged by the neck until dead as well as these wretches – indeed, more so, if Judge Fox was correct, for he said, when dooming poor Byrne for a Libel (mind, for a Libel) to all the lashing and incarceration he endured, "you sought to asperse a Clergyman of the Established Religion, raised by his Sovereign to the highesst station in our Church, elevated still higher by those virtues which are not made known by the casual ebullitions of a day or of years, but byh the whole period of a life devoted to the uniform exercise of every duty which becomes a man and a Christian, elevated by religion and education, and by those principles, which, if he departed from, would have made his guilt greater than the guilt of ordinary men." – Dublin Herald. (Morning Chronicle)

Tuesday, 29 October 1822

"I have just returned from the Metropolitan Court, where I heard the whole of the evidence read respecting the charge against the Bishop of Clogher; and the sentence of deprivation and degradation read by the Primate; so that the business is now at an end. A more disgusting detail of a disgraceful transaction cannot well be conceived; it was an open Court to-day, but so little publicity was given of the Court, that very few auditors were present. The Primate was assisted in his Councils by four other Bishops, who were on the Bench; who, if one might judge by their countenances, all seemed deeply affected at the disgrace which had been brought upon their cloth. The Primate seemed to feel severely at the painful duity he had to perform, and the whole proceedings were marked with the most profound attention. A few days ago there was some apprehension that the removal of the Bishop could not be effected; but, however, all legal objections were obviated, and he is driven into that exile he so deservedly merits." – Dublin Evening Post. (Morning Chronicle)

Monday 1 January 1844

Death of a Once Celebrated Character. – An individual died here a short time since, who obtained an unenviable celebrity more than twenty years ago. This was the Bishop of Clogher, who was indicted for an unnatural crime, committed in St. James's, London, in 1822, forfeited bail and fled, was degraded from his ecclesiastical dignity, and has never been heard of till now. He kept house at No. 4, Salisbury Place, under the assumed name of Thomas Wilson, to which he removed four years ago, having previously resided in Glasgow. His mode of living was extremely private, scarcely any visitors being known to enter his dwelling, but it was remarked that the post occasionally brought him letters sealed with coronets. His incognity was wonderfully preserved. It was only known to one or two individuals in the neighbourhood, who kept the secret till after his death. The application for interment was made in the name of Thomas Wilson. There was a palte upon the coffin which he had got prepared some years before, but without any name upon it. It bore a Latin inscriptio, the sense of which was as follows:– "Here lie the remains of a great sinner, saved by grace, whose hope rests in the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ." The preparation of this inscription years before shows that he was deeply penitent. He was very anxious to conceal his true name, having got it carefully obliterated from hius books and articles of furniture. He gave instructions that his burial should be in the nearest church-yard, that it should be conducted in the msot private and plain manner, and at six in the morning. His directions were complied with except in the selection of the ground. His body was drawn to the new cemetery in a hearse with one horse, followed by five mourners in a one-horse coach, at seven in the morning. Such was the obscured and humble death and funeral of the Honourable and Reverend Percy Jocelyn, the son of a Peer, who spent the yearly years of his life in the society of the great, and held one of the highest ecclesiastical dignities in the empire. He was uncle to the present Lord Roden. – Scotsman. (Glasgow Herald)

Saturday 6 January 1844

The Hon. Percy Jocelyn, the son of a peer and sometime Bishop of Clogher, who more than twenty years since was indicted for a detestable crime, forfeited his bail and fled, was degraded from his ecclesiastical dignity and was not since heard of, has lately died in Edinburgh. He kept a house, under the assumed name of Thomas Wilson, at No. 4, Salisbury-place, Edinburgh, to which he removed four years ago, having previously resided at Glasgow. His mode of living was extremely private, and his incognito was only known to two or three individuals, who kept the secret till after his death. The application for interment was made in the name of Thomas Wilson. There was a plate upon the coffin which he had got prepared some years before, but without any name upon it. It bore a Latin inscription, the sense of which was – "Here lie the remains of a great sinner, saved by grace, whose hope rests in the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ." He was very anxious to conceal his true name, having got it carefully obliterated from his books and articles of furniture. (Exeter and Plymouth Gazette)

Wednesday 10 January 1844

The Scotch papers announce the death, at Edinburgh, of one of the most wretched and degraded of human beings, namely the Bishop of Clogher, whose unnatural offence excited so much conversation twenty years ago, and who avoided justice by flying from his bail of one thousand pounds. Subsequently he was deprived of his see, and all the honours of the ministry. It appeared that he assumed the name of Thomas Wilson, wandered about to different places, sometimes dressed as a livery servant, but corresponding with his friends, and keeping up something like a good table. From the accounts given there is every reason to hope that he died a true penitent. (Hereford Journal)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports concerning the Scandal involving the Bishop of Clogher, 1822", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 12 April 2012; enlarged 3 Sept. 2016 <>.

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