Home >> Cyclopedia Of Knowledge >> Constitution to Demand And Supply >> Deadweight National Debt Dean_P1

Deadweight National Debt Dean

word, ecclesiastical, deaneries, head, office and diocese

Page: 1 2

DEADWEIGHT. [NATIONAL DEBT.] DEAN (French Dorn, and in Latin Decanus), a word which, at first sight, would appear to be allied to DEACON, but which has probably a different origin. Etymologists seem not to be agreed con cerning the origin of the word; but the most usual origin assigned to it is the word decent, ten, as if a dean were a per son who presided over collective bodies of men or things, in number ten. The word Dean is generally used as an ecclesi astical term. The French word Doyen is applied both to ecclesiastical and lay personages. Richelet (Dict., art. Doles) says, that when applied to other than ecclesiastical bodies, it signifies the oldest of the body; thus the French used to speak of the Doien des Conseillers du Parlement. The Italian word Decano also signifies the head of a lay corporation, as well as an ecclesiastical dignitary. In Scotland it is used for the head of lay communities, but in England we believe it is generally confined to promotions or presidencies spiritual. It is, however, used in some colleges, as in University Col lege, London, to signify the chief or head of a faculty chosen for a limited period. Deans in the Colleges of Oxford and Cam bridge are persons appointed to super intend the religious service in the College chapels, to enforce the attendance of the students there, and to exercise some con trol over them in other respects.

In England there are three classes of ecclesiastical presidencies to which the title Dean belongs.

1. Deans rural. The dioceses are divided into archdeaconries, and the arch deaconries into deaneries, below which there is no other subdivision till we come to parishes, the minutest of the proper ecclesiastical divisions of the country. The whole country is thus divided, with the exception of certain districts of no Feat extent, which claim to be exempt jurisdictions.

Those who contend for the derivation of the word dean, whence deanery, from decem, suppose that originally there were ten churches or parishes forming each of these deaneries. This is a very obscure

point, and it is equally uncertain at what time this distribution of the dioceses was made. It appears, however, that there were deaneries before the Norman Con quest.

In each of these deaneries there was a clergyman who was dean ; he was usually a beneficed clergyman within the dean ery. His duties were to exercise a super intendency over the clergy, to preside at their assemblies, and to be the medium of their communication with their spi ritual superiors. He had his public seal. He appears also to have discharged those duties which are now performed by cler gymen called surrogates.

By degrees this office in the English church fell into disuse. The history or the reason of its decline is not very well known, for the advantage of having such an officer, especially where the arch deaconries were extensive, must have been always evident. The office, how ever, did by degrees disappear in one dio cese after another, till it became totally lost. There was a dean of Chalke, in the diocese of Salisbury, as late as the reign of Charles the Second ; and a dean of Doncaster, in the diocese of York, in the reigns of George the First and Second.

Attempts have been made to revive it. Berkeley, bishop of Cloyne, tried to es tablish the office again in Ireland ; and soon after the late Dr. Burgess was made bishop of Salisbury, he did actually re vive the office in that diocese, appointing Mr. Dansey, the rector of Donhead St. Andrew, rural Dean of Chalke : this was in 1825. The Report of the Ecclesiasti cal Commissioners, 1835, under the head Territory, recommends that each parish shall be assigned to a deanery, and each deanery to an archdeaconry. There is a work, in two volumes quarto, entitled Hone Decanicte Rurales,' which is an attempt to illustrate by a series of notes and extracts, the name and title, the ori gin, appointment, and functions, personal and capitular, of Rural Deans, by Wil liam Dansey, &c. 1835.

Page: 1 2