Rural dean

RURAL DEAN. As each Province is divided into Dioceses, and each Diocese into Archdeaconries, so each Archdeaconry is divided into Rural Deaneries, consisting of a certain number of Parishes. Over this Rural Deanery some beneficed clergyman, usually appointed by the Bishop, presides. In the Diocese of Exeter the clergy elect their own Rural Deans. His duties are to call together the clergy in his Deanery at certain times for the discussion of ecclesiastical matters. These meetings are called Ruri-decanal Chapters. It is also the duty of the Rural Dean to see that the churches in his Deanery are in fit order for public worship, and supplied with those things by law required. He is to report any immorality or crime among the clergy of his Deanery.

The office of Rural Dean is an ancient office of the Church, and is mentioned as early as the time of Edward the Confessor.