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Prebend; Prebendary

In most English medieval cathedrals and collegiate churches, endowments were divided into separate portions in order to support members of the chapter. Each portion was known as a “prebend,” because it supplied (praebere) a living to its holder, who became known as a “prebendary.” The territorial names of many cathedral prebendal stalls indicate that the revenue for the particular stall came from cathedral lands in that area. In cathedrals of the “Old Foundation,” the names prebend and prebendary have been retained, though in most cases the office is only honorary, the income having been transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In cathedrals of the “New Foundation,” there are canons, not prebendaries, though that title was used until the nineteenth century.

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