Canons residentiary of Wells: Introduction

Page 104

Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857: Volume 5, Bath and Wells Diocese. Originally published by Institute of Historical Research, London, 1979.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



The original intention was that all canons should reside, and a statute of 1241 (fn. 1) provided that six months' residence in Wells, either continuously or intermittently, should count as a year's residence, thus qualifying the canon for a share in the distribution of the residue of commons after the claims of the dignitaries had been satisfied. To keep residence it was necessary to possess a house in Wells, and in course of time it became established practice to elect and formally to admit to residentiary status such applicants from among the canons as were approved by the body of residentiaries as acceptable colleagues. Such records as have survived for the fifteenth century show that the number of residents varied from eleven to twenty in any one year, with an annual average of fourteen. In earlier centuries the numbers appear to have been higher.


  • 1. Wells Cathedral Statutes p. 57.