John Potter (priest)

John Potter (c. 1713 – 1770) was an 18th-century Church of England clergyman who was Dean of Canterbury from 1766 to 1770.

He was the eldest son of John Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury (1673/4–1747). Following a private education, he studied at Christ Church, Oxford (1727), taking an MA in 1734. His first ecclesiastical appointment was as vicar of St Mary, Blackburn (1738, resigned 1742), followed by rector of Elm, with Emneth Chapel (Norfolk, 1738–1755).[1] In 1741 his father installed him as Archdeacon of Oxford. He obtained the degree of BD the same year. In 1742 he was collated by his father to the vicarage of Lydd (Kent), together with the Rectory of Chiddingstone. He was installed as a prebendary of Canterbury Cathedral in 1745 (Stall XII).[2] He obtained the degree of DD in 1746, and the following year exchanged Chiddingstone for the rectory of Wrotham (Kent). In 1766 he succeeded Dr William Freind as Dean of Canterbury. He died in 1770 at Wrotham where he is buried.[3]

Potter was disinherited by his father as a result of a marriage of which the archbishop disapproved but he nevertheless enjoyed considerable preferment within the church as a result of his father's patronage.[4] Hasted noted 'He had married very imprudently in his early part of life, and consequently highly to the disapprobation of his father, who though he presented him as is mentioned before to several valuable preferments in the church, yet disinherited him, by leaving the whole of his fortune to his youngest son, Thomas Potter, esq.'[5]


  1. Location: Cathedral Office: Canterbury Cathedral, Dean in "CCEd, the Clergy of the Church of England database" (Accessed online, 2 February 2014)
  2. Fasti ecclesiae anglicanae, III, iii,. 14; III, iii. 40 ()
  3. H.J. Todd, Some account of the deans of Canterbury, Canterbury, 1793, pp. 225-228.
  4. Rebecca Louise Warner, ‘Potter, John (1673/4–1747)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 25 Oct 2009
  5. Edward Hasted, 'Canterbury cathedral: The deans (from 1672 to 1800)'. In: The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Volume 12 (1801), pp. 27-55. Date accessed: 25 October 2009.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
William Freind
Dean of Canterbury
Succeeded by
Brownlow North
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