A Dean is the incumbent of a Cathedral or Collegiate Church. Some Cathedrals, however, were appointed a Provost rather than a Dean as their incumbent, but in January 2009 the Ministry of Justice abolished this office and decreed that all Cathedrals now have Deans.

How to Address a Dean

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

Beginning of letter Dear Dean (or Dear Mr Dean)
End of letter Yours sincerely
Envelope The Very Rev the Dean of Ely
Verbal address Dean (or Mr Dean)
Invitation The Dean of Ely
Joint invitation* The Dean of Ely and Mrs Smith
Description in conversation The Dean
List of Directors or Patrons The Dean of Ely
Place card The Dean of Ely

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

*Note: Traditionally, invitations to a married couple, when sent to their home address, are addressed to the wife alone, with both names being inscribed on the invitation card. It has become increasingly acceptable, however, to address the envelope with both names.

How to Address a Female Dean

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 John Smith and the Dean of Ely".

How to Address a Retired Dean

After retirement, a Dean is addressed, as are other clergy, i.e. "The Reverend" instead of "The Very Reverend", unless he 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.



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