The division of the English Church into the Provinces of Canterbury and York dates from 735. By the beginning of the fifteenth century each Province had a Convocation, an ecclesiastical assembly the membership of which consisted of the archbishop and bishops, the abbots and priors, the deans and provosts of cathedrals and collegiate churches, the archdeacons, two proctors for the clergy of each diocese and one for the chapter of each collegiate church. The clergy formed the Lower House and the bishops the Upper House of each Convocation.

The Reformation made no change to the structure or procedures of the Convocations, except that their size was considerably reduced following the dissolution of the monasteries and the canon law made by the Convocations was subordinated to the Crown and to the statute law made by Parliament.

In 1919 the Church Assembly was formed under the Church Assembly (Powers) Act. It consisted of the Convocations together with a House of Laity and its Constitution and Procedures were under the control of the Convocations. The Church Assembly had power to pass measures which, if approved by parliament, received Royal assent and became part of the statute law of England. The Convocations continued to exist alongside the Church Assembly, retaining their traditional powers. Canon Law continued to be made by the Convocations, meeting and voting separately. In 1970 the Church Assembly was replaced by the General Synod, which consists of the Convocations of Canterbury and York together with a House of Laity. The Upper Houses of the Convocations combine to form the House of Bishops and the Lower Houses combine to form the House of Clergy. The Convocations continue to exist, and although most of their powers were transferred to the General Synod, they do retain some residual rights.


Each of the Convocations consists of two Houses, an Upper House and a Lower House. The Upper House consists of all the diocesan bishops in the Province, the Bishop of Dover (in the case of the Convocation of Canterbury), bishops elected by the suffragan bishops of the Province, and any other bishops residing in the province who are members of the Archbishops' Council. The Archbishop presides. The Lower House comprises clergy (other than bishops) who have been elected, appointed or chosen in accordance with Canon H2 and the rules made under it (including deans, archdeacons, proctors from the dioceses and university constituencies and clerical members of religious communities) together with ex-officio members. The Prolocutor chairs meetings and acts as spokesperson of the House.

Members of the Convocations

Canterbury York
Upper House
Diocesan Bishops.................. 30 14
Suffragan Bishops................. 6 3
36 17
Lower House
Deans 3 2
Dean of Jersey or Guernsey 1
Service Chaplains 3
Chaplain-General of Prisons 1
Elected Proctors 128 54
University Proctors 4 2
Religious Communities 1 1
Co-opted Clergy 0 1
141 60


Convocation of Canterbury

President Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury)

Prolocutor of the Lower House Ven Christine Hardman

Other Officers


Revd Alastair Cutting
Preb David Houlding

Standing Committee of the Lower House

Ven Christine Hardman (Prolocutor)
Revd Alastair Cutting (Pro-Prolocutor)
Preb David Houlding (Pro-Prolocutor)
Revd Simon Cawdell
Canon Robert Cotton
Revd Stuart Currie
Revd Mark Ireland
Revd Hugh Lee
Preb Stephen Lynas

Registrar Stephen Slack

Synodical Secretary, Actuary, and Editor of the Chronicle of Convocation

Revd Stephen Trott, Rectory, 41 Humfrey Lane, Boughton, Northampton, NN2 8RQ

Ostiarius Clive McCleester, Head Virger of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

Convocation of York

President Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu (Archbishop of York)

Prolocutor of the Lower House The Ven. Cherry Vann

Other Officers

Deputy Prolocutors:

Revd Dr Meg Gilley
Canon Simon Killwick

Assessors for the Upper House

The Bishop of Chester
The Bishop of Sodor and Man

Assessors for the Lower House

Ven. Cherry Vann (Prolocutor)
Revd Dr Meg Gilley (Deputy Prolocutor)
Canon Simon Killwick (Deputy Prolocutor)
Revd Canon Joyce Jones
Canon Suzanne Sheriff
Canon Sue Penfold
Canon Peter Spiers
Canon Tony Walker

Registrar Lionel Lennox

Registrar (Provincial Elections) Stephen Slack

Synodal Secretary and Treasurer and Editor of the Journal of Convocation

The Ven Alan Wolstencroft, The Bakehouse, 1 Latham Row, Horwich, Bolton, BL6 6QZ

Apparitor Peter Gibson


Chronicle of the Convocation of Canterbury

Proceedings of the Convocation of York

New 2015 Revised Edition of Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy