Lists of Deans, Priors, Archbishops

What to see: (Click to enlarge images and read captions.)

  • As you enter through the south west porch door, you will see immediately on your left a list of Deans and Priors (Image 1).  The list shows names of 12 Deans prior to the Norman Conquest, followed by Priors listed to the Dissolution, and Deans listed from 1542 (starting with Dean Wotton) to the present day.  Visitors ask why this odd mix?  The answer lies in a technicality of monastic administration.  The cathedral was founded in 597 AD by St Augustine and was run by a Dean until the Norman invasion (1066) when it was re-formed as a monastic institution, known as Christ Church Priory, and headed by a Prior.  The Archbishop then assumed the role of an Abbot.  With the dissolution of the monastery in 1539, the cathedral, with no monastic role, was again run by a Prior.
  • The list of archbishops (Image 2) appears on the west wall of the north west tower, near the tomb of Archbishop Benson.  Here we see a list of the uninterrupted line of 104 names from Augustine (597 AD) to Rowan Williams (enthroned 2003).  The 105th name is now expected for 2013.

Note:  there appears to be an unfortunate error in the start date given for Prior Conrad –  this should show 1107 not 1114 (see article by John Shirland in Through the South West Door Christmas edition 2012).

Other lists on the cathedral walls include the list of organists, the list of bells, and the list of Canterbury crosses sent to Anglican churches abroad.