Rural Deanery (England)

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From the twelfth and thirteenth centuries dioceses were divided into archdeaconries, and these were in turn divided into rural deaneries.

'Rural' was used to distinguish them from the dean and chapter of the cathedral of the diocese. The system of rural deaneries was in abeyance from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century when it was revived. A few rural deaneries were directly parts of dioceses.

The word deanery comes from the Latin decanus (chief of ten). Deaneries originally comprised about ten parishes. Nowadays they are geographically-based, and may contain any number.