In the C of E, the head of a group of parishes in a given area (traditionally ‘rural deanery’, now generally ‘deanery’). The office is ancient, but its duties were gradually taken over by the archdeacons. It was revived in 1836. The (rural) dean is president of the (ruridecanal) chapter, i.e. the incumbents and clergy licensed under seal in the deanery, and co-chairperson of the deanery synods set up by the Synodical Government Measure 1969.