Dean and chapter

The formal title of the governing body of a cathedral, consisting of the dean and a varying number of canons or prebendaries. They had the formal responsibility of electing the diocesan bishop. As a corporate body, the dean and chapter usually possessed considerable patronage which they exercised collectively, often following complex (and frequently amended) rules to determine which member of the body should have first opportunity to select a candidate for the benefice. The members of the chapter might also possess patronage in right of their particular office. The dean and chapter would be entitled to shares of the common fund of the cathedral. They might also exercise peculiar jurisdiction.