Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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The Chapter House at Westminster Abbey

The Dean and Chapter of Westminster are the ecclesiastical governing body of Westminster Abbey, a collegiate church of the Church of England and a royal peculiar in Westminster, Greater London. They consist of the dean and several canons meeting in chapter and are also (less frequently) known as the Dean and Canons of Westminster.

Foundation[edit]

The first college of canons was established by letters patent on 17 December 1540 by Henry VIII. There was a dean and 12 canons, six of whom were former monks of the abbey. They survived until 1556[1] when the college was dissolved by Mary I. The second college of canons was established on 21 May 1560 by Elizabeth I.[2] From 16 November 1645 the dean and canons were dispersed and a committee of the Lords and Commons from the Long Parliament governed. The dean and canons were restored on the Restoration in 1660.

Current chapter[edit]

Dean of Westminster
Dean of Westminster The Very Revd John Hall (since 2 December 2006 installation)[3]
Canons Residentiary of Westminster
Rector of St Margaret's The Revd Canon Andrew Tremlett (since 9 October 2010 installation)[4]
Canon Theologian The Revd Canon Vernon White (since 7 May 2011 installation)[5]
Canon Treasurer and Almoner The Revd Canon David Stanton (since October 2013 installation)[6]
Sub-Dean, Canon Steward and Archdeacon Vacant since 21 June 2014.
Minor Canons[NB 1]
Minor Canon and Precentor The Revd Dr James Hawkey
Minor Canon and Sacrist The Revd Christopher Stoltz
Receiver General[NB 2]
Receiver General Sir Stephen Lamport, KCVO, DL [7]
  1. ^ The Minor Canons do not form part of the Chapter, but are nonetheless full-time clergy of the abbey.
  2. ^ The Receiver General is a lay member of the abbey, and the clerk to the Dean and Chapter.


Canons of the first foundation: 1540-1556[edit]

Secular chapter abolished 26 September 1556

Canons of the second foundation: 1560-1660[edit]

Canons of the second foundation: 1660-present[edit]

The prebendaries admitted since the Restoration in 1660 had no fixed stalls to their prebends, but upon any vacancy the new prebendary was installed in the lowest stall on the side where the vacancy happened and not in the stall of him who died, or was promoted.[32]

A prebend at Westminster was highly sought after by the ecclesiastical establishment. The value of the prebend helped to enrich the salaries of some of the poorer bishops, who retained their prebends at Westminster whilst in office.

Other distinguishing features of the Westminster chapter were the close links with Westminster School, thirteen headmasters were canons and eleven members of the peerage or baronetage were members of the chapter at various times.

The Ecclesiastical Commissioners reports in 1835 and 1836 (as enacted in the statute 3 and 4 Queen Victoria c. 113) called for a reduction in the number of canons from twelve to six. Two of the remaining prebends were united with the rectories of St Margaret's Westminster and St John's Westminster.

The number of prebends was reduced further from six to five in 1890 on the resignation of Brooke Westcott and from five to four in 1941 on the resignation of Frank Russell Barry.

Canons are listed here by succession rather than by chronological order of appointment.

Succession of John Doughty[edit]

Succession of Walter Jones[edit]

Canonry suspended from 1890.

Succession of Henry Killigrew[edit]

No successor appointed in accordance with Statues 3 & 4 Queen Victoria. c. 113.

Succession of Richard Busby[edit]

No successor appointed in accordance with Statues 3 & 4 Queen Victoria. c. 113.

Succession of John Sudbury[edit]

No successor appointed in accordance with Statues 3 & 4 Queen Victoria. c. 113.

Succession of James Lamb[edit]

Canonry suspended from 1941.

Succession of Francis Walsall[edit]

No successor appointed in accordance with Statues 3 & 4 Queen Victoria. c. 113.

Succession of Herbert Thorndike[edit]

Herbert Thorndike was appointed in succession to Matthew Nicholas, canon of the 5th Prebend.

No successor appointed in accordance with Statues 3 & 4 Queen Victoria. c. 113.

Succession of Charles Gibbs[edit]

Charles Gibbs was appointed in succession to Peter Heylin of the 6th Prebend.

No successor appointed in accordance with Statues 3 & 4 Queen Victoria. c. 113.

Succession of Robert South[edit]

Robert South was appointed in succession to Benjamin Laney of the 8th Prebend.

Succession of George Stradling[edit]

George Stradling was appointed in succession to William Haywood of the 11th Prebend.

Succession of David Mitchell[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541–1857, volume 7, Ely, Norwich, Westminster and Worcester dioceses (1992), p. 72.
  2. ^ Westminster Abbey reformed: 1540–1640. C. S. Knighton, Richard Mortimer
  3. ^ Westminster Abbey – John Hall
  4. ^ Westminster Abbey – Sagovsky appointed Sub-Dean
  5. ^ Westminster Abbey – Address at the installation of White
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]
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  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland 1553-4
  11. ^ a b c Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland 1547-8
  12. ^ Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland 1554-5
  13. ^ Letters and Paper, Foreign and Domestic, King Henry VIII XVII
  14. ^ Letters and Paper, Foreign and Domestic, King Henry VIII XX
  15. ^ a b c d Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland 1549-51
  16. ^ Letters and Paper, Foreign and Domestic, King Henry VIII XVI
  17. ^ Letters and Paper, Foreign and Domestic, King Henry VIII XIX
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Apptd. by queen at refoundation of secular chapter 21 May 1560 (Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland 1558-60).
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland 1563-6
  20. ^ Queen's Scholars of St. Peter's College, Westminster, compiled by J. Welch, London, 1852 p. 9
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  23. ^ Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire, ed. J. Throsby. Nottingham, 1790 II p91
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  27. ^ a b Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland 1580-2
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