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).