The Chapter is the Cathedral’s Governing Body and provides strategic leadership and direction.


The Chapter reports to the Cathedral Council which meets twice per year. The Bishop is the Visitor of the Cathedral. Chapter consists of the Dean, five Residentiary Canons and two Lay Members.

The Dean, who is appointed by the Crown, is the head of the Cathedral Foundation and the chairman of the Chapter, and on its behalf directs the life and mission of the Cathedral as well as being its public face in the wider community of the city, diocese and region. As senior diocesan priest he is a member of the Bishop's staff and is ex officio a member of the governing body of Durham University. The Dean is The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett.

The five canons residentiary are appointed by the Bishop. Two, Canon David Kennedy and Canon Rosalind Brown, hold full-time responsibilities at the Cathedral and, because they are funded by the Church Commissioners, are sometimes known as ‘Commissioners Canons’. The other three have their major role elsewhere and are expected to make a contribution to the Cathedral of 0.25 of a fulltime post. These Canons have sizeable portfolios in the Diocese of Durham or Durham University. Two of these roles are historic and identified in the statutes, the third has been occupied by clergy serving the diocese in various capacities. These canonries are as follows: Archdeacon of Durham, Canon Ian Jagger; Van Mildert Professor of Divinity, Professor Simon Oliver; and Diocesan Director of Ministerial Development and Parish Support, Canon Sophie Jelley.  

Durham has two lay members of Chapter appointed by the Bishop. Like the Canons Residentiary, they carry full governance responsibility and take part in Cathedral worship. They are required to be communicant Anglicans. Currently the Lay Members of Chapter are Mr Ivor Stolliday and Mrs Cathy Barnes. 

Chapter is served by a Chapter Clerk, Mr Philip Davies, who attends all its meetings. The Chapter Clerk is the senior administrator in the Cathedral and is responsible to Chapter for the administrative support and functionality and matters of legal and financial compliance across the Cathedral’s operation.

Day to day responsibility for the Cathedral’s life is devolved to a number of committees, some of which are required by the Cathedral statutes or by national legislation (The Cathedrals Measure 1999). It is also advised by certain statutory independent bodies (e.g. the Fabric Advisory Committee that has a planning role in relation to the Cathedral, and the Finance Committee that oversees financial and investment strategy).

ELECTED ROLES

Unlike most cathedrals, at Durham people are appointed simply as a Canon Residentiary or Lay Member of Chapter and not to specific portfolios. Rather, the statutes require Chapter to elect some of its members to specific roles each year. This gives it flexibility in stewardship and deployment of resources. The specific roles identified in the statutes are as follows:

Vice-Dean – currently Canon Kennedy – deputises for the Dean in his absence.
Librarian – currently Canon Brown – oversees the library collections.
Precentor – currently Canon Kennedy – oversees the worship.
Treasurer – currently Ivor Stolliday – oversees the financial operation.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR OPERATIONS

Chapter delegates its authority to lead the cathedral in mission, ministry and worship to the two Commissioners Canons. The ‘Precentorial’ or Quire division of liturgy and music is the responsibility of Canon Kennedy, who also has a particular role as Custos of the Chorister School.

The ‘Nave’ division, which is the responsibility of Canon Brown, includes the pastoral care and nurture of the Cathedral community and visitors, adult and children’s Christian education, the Cathedral’s provision for visitors, care of the Cathedral’s historic collections including the Library and Treasures, the visual arts in the Cathedral, and relationships with the wider community in the World Heritage Site, the City and County.