Online Encyclopedia

HUGH OF WELLS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 857 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HUGH OF WELLS, one of King John's officials and councillors, became bishop of Lincoln in 1209. He soon fell into disfavour with John, and the earlier years of his bishopric were mainly spent abroad, while the king seized the revenues of his see. However, he was one of John's supporters when Magna Carta was signed, and after the accession of Henry III. he was able to turn his attention to his episcopal duties. His chief work was the establishment of vicarages in his diocese, thus rendering the parish priest more independent of the monastic houses; this policy, and consequently Hugh himself, was heartily disliked by Matthew Paris and other monastic writers. The bishop, who did some building at Lincoln and also at Wells, died on the 7th of February 1235. ST HUGH OF LINCOLN, a native of Lincoln, was a child about ten years old when he was found dead on premises belonging to a Jew. It was said, and the story was generally believed, that the boy had been scourged and crucified in imitation of the death of Jesus Christ. Great and general indignation was aroused, and a number of Jews were hanged or punished in other ways. The incident is referred to by Chaucer in the Prioresses Tale and by Marlowe in the Jew of Malta.
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