Priors of Canterbury Cathedral

Priors of Canterbury Cathedral

This page is a list of priors of Christchurch Priory in Canterbury, now known as Canterbury Cathedral.


Canterbury Cathedral began life as cathedral for its city, diocese and archdiocese, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and run by a Dean. However, when the cathedral was re-formed as a monastic insitution (known as Christ Church Priory) as well as a cathedral, a Prior was put in charge of the monastery (with the Archbishop effectively acting as abbot). When in 1539 the monastery was dissolved and reverted to being solely a cathedral, the prior's duties reverted to a dean, the first of whom was Nicholas Wotton.


*Henry 1080-1096
*Ernulf 1096-1107
*Conrad 1108-1126
*Gosford 1126-1128
*Elmer 1128-1137
*Jeremy / Jeremiah 1137-1143 [Quarrelled with Theobald, the archbishop, ending in Jeremiah's resignation on papal orders]
*Walter Durdens 1143-1149
*Walter Parvus 1149-1153
*Wybert 1153-1167
*Odo 1167-1175
*Benedict 1175-1177 [He witnessed the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170. His next role was as Abbot of Peterborough Abbey, and he took some contact relics of Becket with him to that abbey.]
*Harlewine 1177-1179
*Alan 1179-1186 [His next office was as abbot of Tewkesbury.]
*Honorius 1186-1189 [Went to Verona in person to plead the case of the monastery against archbishop Baldwin, but died abroad.]
*Roger Norris 1189-1190 [Baldwin's appointee, unsuitable for the role and resented by the monks]
*Osbern/Osbert de Bristow 1190-1191 [Appointed by Baldwin in exchange for backing down in the dispute, but forced to resign by the monks soon after Baldwin's departure for the crusade]
*Geoffry (sic) 1191-1205
*John de Chatham 1205-c.1218
*Walter III c.1218-1222
*John of Sittingbourne 1222-1244
*Roger de Lee 1234-1244
*Roger de St Elphege 1263-1264/1270(*William Chillenden 1264-1270)
*Adam de Chillenden 1270-1274 [Chosen by the monks; appointment rejected by the pope, who instead named Robert Kilwardby to the post]
*Thomas Ringmer(e) 1274-1284 [Opposed by a faction of monks who accused him of oppressive rule and mismanagement; eventually resigned to join the Cistercian abbey at Beaulieu; priory temporarily taken into king's hands, but returned on protests by the monks.]
*Henry de Eastry 1285-1331 [Quarrels with his monks; advised archbishops Reynolds (a comparatively young man) and Mepeham]
*Richard Oxinden/Oxenden 1331-1338 [Advised archbishop Mepeham, but archbishop Stratford was more independent and the prior's good relations with the archbishop were again lost.]
*Robert Hathbrand 1338-1370
*Richard Gillingham 1370-1376
*Stephen Mongeham 1376-1377
*John Fynch 1377-1391
*Thomas Chillenden 1391-1411
*John Woodnesborough 1411-1428
*William Molash 1428-1438
*John Elham 1446-1449
*Thomas Goldstone 1449-1468 [Quarreled with the city mayor]
*John Oxney 1468-1471
*William Petham 1471-1472
*William Sellynge 1472-1495
*Thomas Goldstone II 1495-1517
*Thomas Goldwell 1517-1539



*Table of priors and deans at the west end of the south aisle of Canterbury Cathedral nave.
* [ "Victoria County History"] at "British History Online"

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