Dean of Westminster

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The west façade of the Abbey

The Dean of Westminster is the head of the chapter at Westminster Abbey. Due to the Abbey's status as a Royal Peculiar, the dean answers directly to the British monarch (not to the Bishop of London as ordinary, nor to the Archbishop of Canterbury as metropolitan). Initially, the office was a successor to that of Abbot of Westminster, and was for the first 10 years cathedral dean for the Diocese of Westminster. The current dean is David Hoyle.

List of deans[edit]

The Deanery at Westminster Abbey
Name Portrait Term of office
William Benson
(formerly last abbot of the Benedictine abbey)
No image.svg 1540 1549[†]
Richard Cox Bp Richard Cox.jpg 1549 1553
Hugh Weston No image.svg 1553 1556
Vacancy (restored as Benedictine abbey)
John Feckenham, abbot
1556 1559
William Bill William Bill. Line engraving by R. Grave after G. P. Harding Wellcome V0000549 (crop).jpg 1560 1561[†]
Gabriel Goodman Gabriel Goodman by GP Harding.jpg 1561 1601[†]
Lancelot Andrewes Lancelot Andrewes Pembroke.jpg 1601 1605
Richard Neile
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester from 1608)
Richard Neile portrait.jpg 1605 1610
George Montaigne George Mountaigne DD.jpg 1610 1617
Robert Tounson No image.svg 1617 1620
John Williams
(in commendam as Bishop of Lincoln 1621–41,
as Archbishop of York from 1641)
Abp John Williams by Gilbert Jackson.jpg 1620 1644
Richard Steward
(not installed)
Richard Steward by Adriaen Hanneman.jpg 1644 1651[†]
Vacancy (English Interregnum) 1651 1660
John Earle John Earle from NPG.jpg 1660 1662
John Dolben
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester from 1666[R 1])
ArchbishopDolben.jpg 1662 1683
Thomas Sprat
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester from 1684[R 1])
Thomas Sprat by Michael Dahl.jpg 1683 1713[†]
Francis Atterbury
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester[R 1])
Francis Atterbury by Godfrey Kneller.jpg 1713 1723
Samuel Bradford
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester[R 1])
Samuel Bradford.jpg 1723 1731[†]
Joseph Wilcocks
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester[R 1])
Joseph Wilcocks by GP Harding.jpg 1731 1756[†]
Zachary Pearce
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester[R 1])
Bp Zachary Pearce by Edward Penny.jpg 1756 1768
John Thomas
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester from 1774[R 1])
John Thomas, Bishop of Rochester, by Joshua Reynolds.jpg 1768 1793[†]
Samuel Horsley
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester[R 1])
Samuel Horsley by Mrs Barou.jpg 1793 1802
William Vincent William Vincent by GP Harding after William Owen.jpg 1802 1815[†]
John Ireland John Ireland.jpg 1816 1842[†]
Thomas Turton Thomas Turton by HW Pickersgill.jpg 1842 1845
Samuel Wilberforce Samuel Wilberforce2.jpg March–October 1845
William Buckland William Buckland detail.png 1845 1856[†]
Richard Chenevix Trench Drawing of Richard Chenevix Trench.jpg 1856 1864
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley Arthur Penrhyn Stanley by John Watkins.jpg 1864 1881[†]
George Granville Bradley George Granville Bradley by SA Walker.jpg 1881 1902
Armitage Robinson No image.svg 1902[1] 1911
Herbert Edward Ryle Dr HE Ryle NPG.jpg 1911 1925[†]
William Foxley Norris William Foxley Norris by Ernest Moore.jpg 1925 1937[†]
Paul de Labilliere No image.svg 1938 1946[†]
Alan Don No image.svg 1946 1959
Eric Abbott No image.svg 1959 1974
Edward Carpenter No image.svg 1974 1985
Michael Mayne No image.svg 1986 1996
Wesley Carr No image.svg 1997 2006
John Hall Very Reverend Dr John Hall (18228068808) (cropped).jpg 2006[2] 2019
David Hoyle No image.svg 2019 Present


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h In 1666, John Dolben was additionally appointed Bishop of Rochester, retaining the Deanery of Westminster in commendam. His successor as Dean, Thomas Sprat, was additionally appointed to Rochester in 1684. From then until 1802, it was customary for the Bishop of Rochester to hold the Deanery of Westminster in commendam. These eight deans held both offices concurrently.
  • Died in office


  1. ^ "No. 27486". The London Gazette. 21 October 1902. p. 6647.
  2. ^ "No. 58165". The London Gazette. 28 November 2006. p. 16399.

Horn, Joyce M. (ed.). "Deans of Westminster". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857. Vol. 7. pp. 69–71. Retrieved 12 September 2019.