William Foxley Norris

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In this multi-word name, the family name is Foxley Norris, not Norris.
William Foxley Norris
Religion Anglican
Born 1859
Died 1937 (aged 77–78)
Senior posting
Based in England
Title Dean of Westminster
Period in office 1917–1937
Predecessor Herbert Edward Ryle
Successor Paul de Labilliere

William Foxley Norris, KCVO (1859–1937) was Dean of York between 1917 and 1925 and of Westminster from then until his death in 1937.

Born into a clerical family,[1] he was educated at Charterhouse and Trinity College, Oxford[2] before taking Holy Orders at Leeds Clergy School. After curacies in Eton and Chatham he embarked on a career that was to take him from pastoral (Incumbencies in Oxfordshire and Yorkshire[3]) to administrative (Diocesan Educational Inspector[4]) posts before a steady rise up the ecclesiastical ladder. He was successively Rural Dean of Silkstone, Rector of Barnsley, and Archdeacon of Halifax. In July 1902 he was appointed an honorary Canon of Wakefield Cathedral.[5] He became Dean of York in 1917,[6] serving as such until 1925 when he was appointed Dean of Westminster.[7] An exceptionally talented artist[8] he wrote widely on Church treasures.[9] A much respected cleric[10] he died on 28 September 1937 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.[11]

His grandson was Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Foxley-Norris the Battle of Britain Pilot who went on to have a distinguished RAF career.


  1. ^ His father was Canon Foxley Norris “Who was Who” 1897–1990 London, A & C Black, 1991 ISBN 0-7136-3457-X
  2. ^ The Times, Saturday, 23 December 1882; p. 10; Issue 30698; col B Degree awarded
  3. ^ The Times, Thursday, 15 November 1894; p. 8; Issue 34422; col C Lambeth Palace announces the following preferments
  4. ^ “The inspection of Elementary Church Schools”Norris,WF: London, SPCK, 1904
  5. ^ "Ecclesiastical intelligence". The Times (36821). London. 16 July 1902. p. 8. 
  6. ^ Lambeth Palace Library "York Minster. Installation of the Venerable William Foxley Norris, M.A., as dean of the cathedral and metropolitical church of St. Peter of York, Saturday, 31 March 1917" Catalogued at G199 51.36
  7. ^ The Times, Tuesday, 20 October 1925; p. 14; Issue 44097; col C The Deanery Of Westminster. Appointment Of The Dean Of York.
  8. ^ The Times, Thursday, 26 March 1931; p. 12; Issue 45781; col B Art Exhibitions Painters In Watercolours
  9. ^ “Decoration and enrichment in cathedrals”Norris,W.F: London, SPCK, 1927
  10. ^ The Times, Wednesday, 29 September 1937; p. 12; Issue 47802; col F Death Of The Dean Of Westminster Burial In The Abbey
  11. ^ Lambeth Place Library “Westminster Abbey. Funeral service. The Very Reverend William Foxley Norris, K.C.V.O., D.D., Dean of Westminster and Dean of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. 1 October 1937” G199 42.15
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Arthur Purey-Cust
Dean of York
Succeeded by
Lionel Ford
Preceded by
Herbert Edward Ryle
Dean of Westminster
Succeeded by
Paul de Labilliere