Dean of Westminster

Last updated

The west facade of the Abbey Westminster Abbey - 51370500915.jpg
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

The Deanery at Westminster Abbey Herbert Railton The Deanery A Brief Account of Westminster Abbey 1894.jpg
The Deanery at Westminster Abbey
Neck badge of the Order of the Bath: the Dean of Westminster is Dean of the Order of the Bath ex officio Knight Commander of the Bath neck badge, awarded to Cecil Fane de Salis (1859-1948) in 1935.jpg
Neck badge of the Order of the Bath: the Dean of Westminster is Dean of the Order of the Bath ex officio
NamePortraitTerm of office
William Benson
(formerly last abbot of the Benedictine abbey)
No image.svg 15401549 [†]
Richard Cox Bp Richard Cox.jpg 15491553
Hugh Weston No image.svg 15531556
Vacancy (restored as Benedictine abbey)
John Feckenham, abbot
William Bill William Bill. Line engraving by R. Grave after G. P. Harding Wellcome V0000549 (crop).jpg 15601561 [†]
Gabriel Goodman Gabriel Goodman by GP Harding.jpg 15611601 [†]
Lancelot Andrewes Lancelot Andrewes Pembroke.jpg 16011605
Richard Neile
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester from 1608)
Richard Neile portrait.jpg 16051610
George Montaigne George Mountaigne DD.jpg 16101617
Robert Tounson No image.svg 16171620
John Williams
(in commendam as Bishop of Lincoln 1621–41,
as Archbishop of York from 1641)
Abp John Williams by Gilbert Jackson.jpg 16201644
Richard Steward
(not installed)
Richard Steward by Adriaen Hanneman.jpg 16441651 [†]
Vacancy (English Interregnum)16511660
John Earle John Earle from NPG.jpg 16601662
John Dolben
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester from 1666 [R 1] )
ArchbishopDolben.jpg 16621683
Thomas Sprat
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester from 1684 [R 1] )
Thomas Sprat by Michael Dahl.jpg 16831713 [†]
Francis Atterbury
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester [R 1] )
Francis Atterbury by Godfrey Kneller.jpg 17131723
Samuel Bradford
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester [R 1] )
Samuel Bradford.jpg 17231731 [†]
Joseph Wilcocks
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester [R 1] )
Joseph Wilcocks by GP Harding.jpg 17311756 [†]
Zachary Pearce
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester [R 1] )
Bp Zachary Pearce by Edward Penny.jpg 17561768
John Thomas
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester from 1774 [R 1] )
John Thomas, Bishop of Rochester, by Joshua Reynolds.jpg 17681793 [†]
Samuel Horsley
(in commendam as Bishop of Rochester [R 1] )
Samuel Horsley by Mrs Barou.jpg 17931802
William Vincent William Vincent by GP Harding after William Owen.jpg 18021815 [†]
John Ireland John Ireland.jpg 18161842 [†]
Thomas Turton Thomas Turton by HW Pickersgill.jpg 18421845
Samuel Wilberforce Samuel Wilberforce2.jpg March–October 1845
William Buckland William Buckland detail.png 18451856 [†]
Richard Chenevix Trench Drawing of Richard Chenevix Trench.jpg 18561864
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley Arthur Penrhyn Stanley by John Watkins.jpg 18641881 [†]
George Granville Bradley George Granville Bradley by SA Walker.jpg 18811902
Armitage Robinson No image.svg 1902 [1] 1911
Herbert Edward Ryle Dr HE Ryle NPG.jpg 19111925 [†]
William Foxley Norris William Foxley Norris by Ernest Moore.jpg 19251937 [†]
Paul de Labilliere No image.svg 19381946 [†]
Alan Don No image.svg 19461959
Eric Abbott No image.svg 19591974
Edward Carpenter No image.svg 19741985
Michael Mayne No image.svg 19861996
Wesley Carr No image.svg 19972006
John Hall Very Reverend Dr John Hall (18228068808) (cropped).jpg 2006 [2] 2019
David Hoyle No image.svg 2019Present


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 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.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Sprat</span> 17th/18th-century English bishop

Thomas Sprat, FRS was an English churchman and writer, Bishop of Rochester from 1684.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Herbert Edward Ryle</span> British bishop

Herbert Edward Ryle was an English Old Testament scholar and Anglican bishop, successively serving as the Bishop of Exeter, the Bishop of Winchester and the Dean of Westminster.

In canon law, commendam was a form of transferring an ecclesiastical benefice in trust to the custody of a patron. The phrase in commendam was originally applied to the provisional occupation of an ecclesiastical benefice, which was temporarily without an actual occupant, in contrast to the conferral of a title, in titulum, which was applied to the regular and unconditional occupation of a benefice.

Dean of St Patricks Cathedral, Dublin

The Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral is the senior cleric of the Protestant St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, elected by the chapter of the cathedral. The office was created in 1219 or 1220, by one of several charters granted to the cathedral by Archbishop Henry de Loundres between 1218 and 1220.

William Fuller (1608–1675) was an English churchman.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Piers</span> Archbishop of York

John Piers (Peirse) was Archbishop of York between 1589 and 1594. Previous to that he had been Bishop of Rochester and Bishop of Salisbury.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diocese of Chester</span> Diocese of the Church of England

The Diocese of Chester is a Church of England diocese in the Province of York covering the pre-1974 county of Cheshire and therefore including the Wirral and parts of Stockport, Trafford and Tameside.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alfred Barry</span> Australian bishop

Alfred Barry was the third Bishop of Sydney serving 1884–1889. Over the course of his career, Barry served as headmaster of independent schools, Principal of King's College London university and founded Anglican schools such as Shore School. He officiated at the funeral of Charles Darwin in 1882.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Vincent (priest)</span> English scholar and Dean of Westminster (1739–1815)

William Vincent was Dean of Westminster from 1802 to 1815.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Ravis</span> English bishop and Bible translator, c. 1560–1609

Thomas Ravis was a Church of England bishop and academic. He was among those engaged in translating the King James Bible.

Paul Fulcrand Delacour De Labillière was the second Bishop of Knaresborough from 1934 to 1937; and, subsequently, Dean of Westminster.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Armitage Robinson</span> English priest and scholar

Joseph Armitage Robinson was a priest in the Church of England and scholar. He was successively Dean of Westminster (1902–1911) and of Wells (1911–1933).

John Salisbury, O.S.B. was a Welsh clergyman who held high office in the pre- and post-Reformation church in England.

Ernest Morell Blackie was a British Anglican bishop in the 20th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Samuel Bradford</span>

Samuel Bradford was an English churchman and whig, bishop successively of Carlisle and Rochester.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joseph Wilcocks</span>

Joseph Wilcocks was an English churchman, bishop of Gloucester, and bishop of Rochester and dean of Westminster.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Ireland (Anglican priest)</span> English Anglican priest, Dean of Westminster

John Ireland was an English Anglican priest, who served as Dean of Westminster from 1816 until his death. In this role, he carried the crown during the coronation services at Westminster Abbey of two monarchs. Theologically and politically conservative, as shown in his writings, he was generous with the considerable riches that he acquired during his career, making large donations to support education and relieve poverty in his home town. In 1831, as Ireland was "a distinguished Benefactor of the University", Oxford had sought and obtained his permission to put on display a marble bust of him by the sculptor Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey. The bust is now in the Examination Schools of the university. During his lifetime, he established scholarships at the University of Oxford, and in his will, he left money to establish the post of Dean Ireland's Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture.

David Michael Hoyle is a British Anglican priest and academic who was appointed the 39th Dean of Westminster in 2019, having previously served as Dean of Bristol from 2010 to 2019.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dean and Chapter of Westminster</span>

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 known as the Dean and Canons of Westminster.

The Dean of Ferns is based at The Cathedral Church of St Edan, Ferns in the united Diocese of Cashel and Ossory within the Church of Ireland.


  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.