Inscribed panels in Canterbury Cathedral, listing the Deans 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 most recent Dean, the Very Rev. Robert Willis, was appointed in 2001 and was 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. Willis retired on 16 May 2022, a day before his 75th birthday,[2] and it was announced on 8 May 2022 that the Rev. Jane Hedges, former Dean of Norwich, would serve as Acting Dean until a successor is appointed.[3]

List of deans


Priors of Canterbury

Main article: Priors of Canterbury Cathedral

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


  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. ^ "The Dean of Canterbury to retire". Archived from the original on 17 February 2022. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  3. ^ Norwich Cathedral, "Canterbury appointment for Dean Jane", 8 May 2022. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
  4. ^ 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.