Dean of Canterbury

Inscribed panels in Canterbury Cathedral, listing the Deans of Canterbury

The Dean of Canterbury is the head of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Christ Church, Canterbury, England. The current office of dean originated after the English Reformation, although Deans had also existed before this time; its immediate precursor office was the prior of the cathedral-monastery.[1] The current Dean is Robert Willis, who was appointed in 2001 and is the 39th Dean since the Reformation, though the position of Dean and Prior as the religious head of the community is almost identical so the line is unbroken back to the time of the foundation of the community by Saint Augustine in AD 597.

List of deans


Version on show in the Cathedral (west end)

  • Ceolnoth 820
  • Aegelwyn 830
  • Alfric
  • Kensyn
  • Maurice
  • Aelfwyn 930
  • Alsine 935
  • Aelfwyn II 951
  • Athelsine
  • Aegelnoth 984 (Æthelnoth, later Archbishop of Canterbury)
  • Egelric 1020
  • Goderic 1058

Victoria County History, 1926

  • Cuba, occurs 798[2]
  • Beornheard, occurs 805
  • Heahfrith, occurs 813
  • Ceolnoth, resigned 833
  • Æthelwine, occurs c. 860
  • Eadmund, occurs c.871
  • Æthelnoth, resigned 1020
  • Godric, occurs 1020, 1023
  • Æthelric, resigned 1058
  • Ælfric
  • Ælfsige
  • Ælfwine
  • Ælfwine
  • Kynsige
  • Maurice

Priors of Canterbury

About a century after becoming a monastic foundation late in the 10th century, the Cathedral started to be headed by a prior rather than a dean. It would next have a dean after the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Post-Reformation Deans

Early modern

Late modern


  1. A full list of the priors and Deans and Canterbury is given in A History of Canterbury Cathedral, ed. P. Collinson, N. Ramsay, M. Sparks. (OUP 1995, revised edition 2002), page 565.
  2. Houses of Benedictine monks: The cathedral priory of the Holy Trinity or Christ Church, Canterbury, A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2 (1926), pp. 113–121. accessed: 08 September 2009.

External links

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