24 DECEMBER 1921, Page 7


IN England the word " Dena " is used in many senses. To adopt an ascending order of importance, we have Deans at the ancient universities to whom is entrusted college discipline ; Deans Rural who administer a delegated authority in parts of a diocese to represent the Bishop in places remote from his personal superintendence ; Deans of Peculiars who have jurisdiction only and the cure of souls by other titles, and Deans of cathedral and collegiate churches. Very few of the latter churches now remain, at least with their ancient rights. There arc other offices which bear the title, such as Dean of Westminster, Windsor, the Chapel Royal, Dean of the Province of Canterbury, and Dean of Arches. Modern usage has adopted the title in educational organization, but we can dismiss all these Deans, as our concern is only with the Deans and Chapters of cathedral churches. We propose to examine somewhat their origin and functions and then to pass in review their present position, and to inquire what their services arc and what possible changes may be considered to adapt them more usefully to the needs of the Church in future. In the organization of the Church in the earliest days the Bishop went first and the clergy followed after. The plan of withholding the episcopate as in America in the eighteenth century was unknown. When the Bishop was appointed, a territory, whether provincial or diocesan, was assigned to him, and for every purpose he represented the Church. All this is easily understood by those who are familiar with the Church in the Dominions beyond the Seas, where something similar is happening before our eyes. All grants of land and tithe were made to the Bishop and the Church. When Gregory sent Augustine to be the Apostle of the English he fixed his stool or scat at Canterbury and from this centre administered the country over which he exercised jurisdiction. He began by subdividing his province into dioceses, always reserving to his office the rights of metropolitan. The formation of parishes and the establishment of parish priests did not come for long years afterwards, and then by a delega- tion of the central authority. It has always been part of Church policy to see that a Bishop was assisted by a council. The duty of the council was to advise in deciding different controversies of religion and to assist in temporal administration. They had to consent to every grant of land or tithe that a Bishop made, and with this consent it was binding on his successors. The law of the Church did not deem it reasonable to repose confidence in the Bishop alone. So Deans and Chapters were formed with functions not only over the cathedral or Mother Church, but extending to the whole of diocesan administration.* All the property of the Church in the diocese was at first in the hands of the Bishops, and only gradually was there a division which assigned so much to the Bishop and so much to the Deans or Canons. But even then a central control was reserved over the remaining Church property.

The unit of administration was the diocese, and what followed in successive ages as the Church was more fully organized—e.g., the division into parishes with a resident priest, the assignment of glebe and tithes for his support, and the encouragement to build parish churches—were regulated by the Bishop, but by the Bishop by and with the consent and advice of his Chapter as diocesan council. The cathedral was the veritable Mother Church. Different duties were assigned to the members of the Chapter. The precentor was responsible for the cathedral services, the treasurer for its finance, and the chancellor for its educa- tional work and theological learning. When what we may call the internal discipiine of the cathedral was under consideration, the Dean called together the Chapter and presided as its head and chief administrator. His powers, however, though great, were limited by the statutes, and each Canon was responsible for his own department. When the Dean and Chapter met as a council to the Bishop they were called on his authority and-dealt with the larger questions of the Church throughout the diocese. Perhaps the closest analogy to the system is found in the Cabinet of to-day, which constitutionally advises the King. It has its head in the Prime Minister and its secretaries for different departments of State. The Chapters—I speak at present of cathedrals of the Old Foundation—had a voice in the selection of their Deans similar to that which the Dean and Chapter had in the choice of the Bishop. The Crown appointed, but not until, under licence from the Crown, the opinion of the Dean and Chapter had been obtained, and their nominee sent in to the Crown, which might accept or reject the name. This selection had to be confirmed by the Bishop.

When a vacancy of the bishopric occurred the Crown issued a licence to the Dean and Chapter to elect a Bishop. This power of selection was no matter of form. The Chapters, as long as they exercised the power without the present restrictions, generally chose one of their own number, and fought strenuously in his favour if any objection to him came from the Crown. Church history records many such conflicts, but with the Reformation came the more absolute power of the Crown. The form of election by the Dean and Chapter is still observed, but it has been shorn of every shred of real authority. It was always possible for the Crown to overrule the Chapter by an appointment proprio motu by means of Letters Patent. The confirmation of the nomination by the provincial Bishops has also been reduced to a mere form. Anciently it was a reality, and no man came to the Episcopate without the free consent of his brethren of the province. Something must be said now about the cathedrals of the New Foundation, which term does not imply a new cathedral but only a new con- stitution for the old ones.

Certain cathedrals of pre-Reformation days were also con- ventual churches—i.e., governed by a prior and convent. The Bishop was technically the Abbot, therefore only a Prior ruled. The relation between the Bishop and his cathedral was less effective than in those where Deans and Chapters ruled. For many legal purposes the same joint action was necessary, but the relation of Bishop and council was less real. This was only an illustration of the perpetual contest between the regulars and the seculars. When at the dissolution of the abbeys these Priors were abolished, they were replaced by Deans and Chapters. The same rule was observed in the case of the five new bishoprics founded in the reign of Henry VIII., with abbeys or priory churches assigned to them as cathedrals. The rights of the new Chapters to have a voice in the selection of their Deans was not granted, and the appoint-

• Until the nineteenth century the cathedral churches of St. DaVld's and Llandaff had no Dean, and the Bishop in each case was head of the Chapter.

ment of Deans by Letters Patent introduced. The system of direct appointment of Deans by the Crown was extended in 1840 to the deanery of every cathedral and collegiate church upon the old foundation. • Enough has now been said about the origin and ancient functions of Deans and Chapters. We turn to the subject of their present position and services to the Church. The Deans are now all appointed directly by the Crown, and the Canons by the Bishops with some considerable excep- tions. Three Canons at St. Paul's, London, are appointed by the Crown, canonries at Oxford and Ely are reserved for divinity professors at Oxford and Cambridge, and canonries at Norwich and Gloucester attached to university colleges. A further exception is found in the reservation of canonries at Bristol, Worcester, Gloucester, and Norwich, to which the Lord Chancellor appoints.* At Canterbury the Crown appoints to three canonries. At Durham the university and the cathedral have long been closely identified.

When we look at the cathedrals of England to-day we are convinced how important and varied are their services to. the Church. Amongst the Deans nearly a dozen stand out as foremost scholars and thinkers : Dr. Wace (Canter- bury), Dr. Inge (St. Paul's), Dr. Ryle (Westminster), Dr. Armitage Robinson (Wells), Dr. Hutton (Winchester), Dr. White (Christ Church), Dr. Kirkpatrick (Ely), Dr. Burn (Salisbury), Dr. Rashdall (Carlisle), and Dr. Gee (Gloucester). I am including Westminster and Windsor, though not cathedral Chapters. Of the Cations a larger number are equally prominent in intellectual and literary life. Canons Mason (Canterbury), Charles and Barnes (Westminster), Kennett and Brooke (Ely), Ottley, Cooke, Headlam, and Lock (Christ Church), Burney (Rochester), Wilson and Lacey (Worcester), Wilkins and Cruickshanks (Durham), Nairne and Dalton (Windsor).f Deans like Dr. Welldon (Durham) and Dr. Moore Ede (Worcester) are recognized speakers and teachers. Nor must we forget the local services of Deans and members of Chapters and their prominent position as leaders in their own towns. With rare exceptions, often due to the prolonged tenure of their offices after their natural powers have become decayed, these men are serving the Church faithfully and well. Reverence in cathedral worship long ago dismissed all complaints about slovenly services.

With all these things to be said in favour of cathedrals, what cause is there for seeking any change ? What more can be done to justify the cathedrals and to make them of greater service to the Church ?

The first need is the restoration of corporate life. In many cathedrals the Dean has gathered into his own hands the greater part of the administration, and the ancient offices with their assigned duties are no more than names. Let the precentor have control of the services, the chancellor busy himself with theology, and the treasurer be the one person who administers the finances of the cathedral and has care of the property and church-offerings. Of course, the Deans and Chapters will lay down regulations in which all concur after discussion in the Chapter, but the several dignitaries are the proper executive officers for their several duties. In some cathedrals this is already in a measure established. The need is to make it universal and of the essence of the corporate life of every cathedral. This will imply that men shall be appointed to their offices because of their special fitness for the duties.

The tie which binds a Bishop to his cathedral is now in most cases of the tenderest nature, as it has been for long generations. He is the visitor who can cause an inquiry into the statutes and issue new ones after con- sultation with the Chapter, but woe betide him if in his procedure he offends against any of the traditions, usages, or rights of the Chapter ! The Lincoln Cathedral statutes by Bradshaw and Wordsworth show us a cathedral in action in pre-Reformation days. The Bishop is received with great pomp and ceremony on the day of his installation, though he was often represented in this ceremony by

• The Chancellor's patronage in the Church had Its origin in the days when so many clerks in Holy Orders were engaged in Chancery Law and power was given to him to make provision for these.

t In saying all this we by no means Imply that country vicarages have ceased to be the abodes of study. They are still the ideal homes for the student in the earlier days when he is laying the foundation of his knowledge. Bishops Stubbs and Creighton, to take only two instances, laid their foundation of learning when country vicars, and Dr. Swete and Dr. Hort became theologians In village retirement,

deputy. In the case of Lincoln he was admitted during the ceremony to his chief seat in the Chapter. Afterwards the relationship became largely one of armed neutrality on both sides. This severance of intimate ties common in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was fostered by the policy of successive Popes who preferred to deal with Bishops uncontrolled by advice. The severance of the cathedral from diocesan life became more marked on the Continent than in England. We are not, then, to blame wholly the relationship in England of the Church to the State for the loss of the primitive conception of a Bishop and his cathedral. In the Middle Ages much combined to bring about the severance, and everything down to our own days has worked towards the independent position of the cathedral in diocesan life. We do not doubt the wisdom of destroying this long continued independence, but this can be done only by a change on both sides of the present relationship. The Bishops should have more rights in the cathedral than the appointment of Canons, an official throne and one or two days on which they are allowed to preach. He should have the unquestioned use of it for the performance of all the duties of his office as he chooses to use it.

In suggesting these rights on the one side we must not forget the ancient position of Deans and Chapters as the Bishop's council in administration. Everything now has so much changed that they could not assume what their predecessors in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries held, and yet in forming councils of advice they should be included officially and in right of their offices. The councils to-day will have to be representative of much besides and must contain a lay element elected by the diocesan conference. The recognition of the ancient position of Deans and Chapters would appeal to the strong English love of precedent and walking in the old paths. It may be answered that dioceses are too large and Bishops too busy for any new duties to be laid upon them, or for their administration to be controlled by advice. The whole tendency to-day is towards smaller dioceses, lesser Bishops' houses, and more constitutional administration. As all these things develop the question of cathedrals will