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 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. Under the Bishop of Westminster of the newly-created Diocese of Westminster, there was a Dean and 12 canons, six of whom were former monks of the abbey. They survived the dissolution of the diocese in 1550, becoming a second cathedral of the Diocese of London until 1556 when the college was dissolved by Mary I. The second college of canons was established on 21 May 1560 by Elizabeth I, this time as a royal peculiar.[1] 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)[2]
Canons Residentiary of Westminster
Sub-Dean, Archdeacon and Rector of St Margaret's The Ven Andrew Tremlett (canon and rector since 9 October 2010 installation;[3] Sub-Dean and Archdeacon since 2014)[N 1]
Canon Theologian The Revd Canon Vernon White (since 7 May 2011 installation)[6]
Canon Treasurer and Almoner The Revd Canon David Stanton (since 5 October 2013 installation)[7]
Canon Steward The Ven Jane Sinclair (from 7 September 2014; announced)[8]
Minor Canons[NB 1]
Minor Canon and Precentor The Revd Dr Jamie Hawkey (since 11 September 2010 installation)[9]
Minor Canon and Sacrist The Revd Chris Stoltz (since 4 May 2014 installation)[10]
Receiver General[NB 2]
Receiver General Sir Stephen Lamport KCVO DL (since 2008)[11]
  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.

Roles within the Chapter[edit]

Today, the roles divided between the canons residentiary generally include: the Sub-Dean, who is second to the Dean; the Canon Treasurer; the Canon Steward, who is responsible for the welcoming of visitors; Canon Theologian; the Canon Almoner; the Archdeacon of Westminster; and the Rector of St Margaret's. Between and among the chapter of canons, roles can be and are reshuffled as desired. The Minor Canons are the Precentor and the Sacrist. Historically, other roles have included the Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons ("Speaker's Chaplain" or "Chaplain to the Commons"), the Headmaster of Westminster School and the Rector of St John's, Smith Square (also called St John the Evangelist, Westminster.)

List of canons[edit]

First Foundation (Cathedral, 1540–1556)[edit]

The first a canon of each stall was appointed by Henry VIII in the foundation charter dated 17 December 1540.[12] Eight canons were deprived of their prebends by Mary I on 30 March 1554 and one resigned shortly after; only three remained in post. (See also: Marian exiles.)

The first secular chapter was abolished on 26 September 1556.

Second Foundation (Royal Peculiar, 1560–1660)[edit]

Twelve canons were appointed (or re-appointed) by Elizabeth I at the refoundation of the secular chapter, 21 May 1560.[13]

Second Foundation (Royal Peculiar, since 1660)[edit]

The prebendaries admitted since the Restoration in 1660 have 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.[14] Since all but four (5th, 6th, 8th & 11th) prebends were vacant before 1660, it is not possible to assert that any particular succession of canons relates to any previous prebend except for those four.

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 & 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, Smith Square (which had already been held by a canon of no particular prebend for quite some time). 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 Russell Barry (rector of St John's).

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

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tremlett was appointed Sub-Dean and Archdeacon between 6 July[4] and 3 August 2014.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Knighton, C. S. & Mortimer, Richard. Westminster Abbey reformed: 1540–1640
  2. ^ Westminster Abbey – John Hall (Accessed 21 July 2014)
  3. ^ a b c d Westminster Abbey – Sagovsky appointed Sub-Dean (Accessed 21 July 2014)
  4. ^ Services at St Margaret's Church – 6 July 2014 (Accessed 18 August 2014)
  5. ^ Sermons given – 3 August 2014 (Accessed 18 August 2014)
  6. ^ a b Westminster Abbey – Address at White's installation (Accessed 21 July 2014)
  7. ^ Westminster Abbey – David Stanton installed as a canon (Accessed 21 July 2014)
  8. ^ a b Westminster Abbey – Archdeacon appointed Canon (Accessed 21 July 2014)
  9. ^ Westminster Abbey – New Minor Canon installed (Accessed 21 July 2014)
  10. ^ Westminster Abbey – Sermon at Stoltz's installation (Accessed 21 July 2014)
  11. ^ Westminster Abbey – Lamport appointed Receiver General (Accessed 21 July 2014)
  12. ^ Letters and Paper, Foreign and Domestic, King Henry VIII XVI no. 379 (30)
  13. ^ Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland 1558–60
  14. ^ Biographical Illustrations of Westminster Abbey. Whittaker. 1843 p283
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  16. ^ The Peerage – Rev. Canon George Prothero (Accessed 24 July 2014)
  17. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26580. p. 7451. 18 December 1894.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27413. p. 1535. 4 March 1902.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27932. p. 4885. 17 July 1906.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28742. p. 5488. 1 August 1913.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33702. p. 2059. 27 March 1931.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34320. p. 5716. 4 September 1936.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34537. p. 4964. 2 August 1938.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34558. p. 6195. 4 October 1938.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34929. p. 5152. 23 August 1940.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35394. p. 7306. 26 December 1941.
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  43. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29660. p. 6851. 11 July 1916.
  44. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30852. p. 9696. 20 August 1918.
  45. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33126. p. 534. 22 January 1926.
  46. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33139. p. 1643. 5 March 1926.
  47. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33923. p. 1958. 21 March 1933.
  48. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33943. p. 3544. 26 May 1933.
  49. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35283. p. 5515. 23 September 1941.
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  51. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22909. p. 5265. 8 November 1864.
  52. ^ The Edinburgh Gazette: no. 7903. p. 1389. 17 November 1868.
  53. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25040. p. 5713. 22 November 1881.
  54. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26485. p. 1005. 16 February 1894.
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  58. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28562. p. 9444. 15 December 1911.
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  60. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28564. p. 9679. 22 December 1911.
  61. ^ The London Gazette: no. 31131. p. 904. 17 January 1919.
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  66. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34382. p. 1910. 23 March 1937.
  67. ^ "Marriott, Rev. Stephen Jack". Who Was Who 1920–2014. Who's Who (April 2014 online ed.). A & C Black an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  68. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 42985. p. 3835. 3 May 1963.
  69. ^ The London Gazette: no. 46082. p. 11205. 20 September 1973.
  70. ^ The London Gazette: no. 48765. p. 13039. 15 October 1981.
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  75. ^ "White, Rev. Canon Prof. Vernon Philip". Who's Who 2014. Who's Who (December 2013 online ed.). A & C Black an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
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Sources[edit]