Lady Alison

Lady Alison is Jocelin’s aunt and principal benefactor in The Spire. She is a scandalous character, having conducted an affair with the king. As such, she is refused her promised burial in Winchester Cathedral when the king dies and requests that she be interred in Jocelin’s cathedral. She donates a large sum of money for the building of the spire to ensure this nonetheless. Jocelin accepts the money but does not reply to Lady Alison’s letter of request. Frustrated by his lack of response, Alison visits Jocelin towards the end of the novel. Here she delivers a stinging blow to Jocelin’s faith and pride. She reveals that she had asked the king to promote and elevate him within the Church – she was the one who ‘chose’ him, not God. Alison soon realises that by exposing this secret, she has sent Jocelin further into madness and suffering.