Dean

A dean is the incumbent of a cathedral or collegiate church. Some cathedrals were appointed a provost rather than a dean as their incumbent. In the case where a dean is a female, substitute ‘Madam Dean’ for ‘Dean’ and ‘Mr Dean’. An invitation sent to a married dean who is a woman would be inscribed ‘Mr Henry Brewer and the Dean of Lincoln’.

After retirement, a dean is addressed as for other clergy, ie ‘The Reverend’ instead of ‘The Very Reverend’, unless he/she remains an archdeacon, canon or prebendary, or is appointed to emeritus rank, when he is addressed accordingly. The word ‘emeritus’ is only used in official documents.

How to Address a Dean

The recommended (social) style of address is as follows:

Beginning of letter Dear Dean (or Dear Mr Dean)
Envelope The Very Reverend the Dean of Ely
Verbal address Dean (or Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms Dean)
Description in conversation The Dean (of Ely)

Note: The style is also used in certain colleges (see Academics).

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