This week’s word of the week is in honour of a little event which took place last Saturday – Harry and Meghan’s wedding. Despite swearing that I wasn’t going to watch it, I accidentally switched over to the coverage and then couldn’t drag myself away. For three hours. Yes, there were tears. But there were also two exclamations when Rose Hudson-Wilkin did her reading at the ceremony:
Yay, there’s a Wilkin at the royal wedding! and
What the heck’s a prebendary?
Luckily, the internet knows everything. So, a prebendary is a senior member of the clergy, who used to be supported by money from an estate or parish, called a prebend. Nowadays only Wells Cathedral (been there – it’s lovely) and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin (haven’t been there) still call their canons (the religious kind, not the ones you shoot people with/out of – that’s cannons) ‘prebendaries’. For everyone else it’s an honorary title given to senior parish priests to recognise long service.
Oh, and if you’re a prebendary, you get a special seat in cathedrals, usually at the back of the choir stalls. It’s called, unimaginatively, the prebendal stall.