Patronage is the right to appoint or present an Incumbent to a benefice.
This right is sometimes known as an ‘advowson’. Patrons can include private individuals, the Crown, Bishops, colleges, religious bodies, charities, etc. A register of Patrons is maintained at the Diocesan Registry and is also available on the Diocese website.
A benefice may have more than one patron. Where there are two or more patrons, they may take it in turns to present a new Incumbent after a benefice becomes vacant, or they may act jointly on each occasion. The terms on which they act will be set out in the Pastoral Scheme which created the benefice. The Patronage Register shows details of the patrons, the order in which presentations may be made, and who presented the current Incumbent.
The principal law relating to patronage is contained in the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986 and the Patronage (Benefices) Rules 1987.