When Jersey was in the Diocese of Coutances, and still more when it was joined to Winchester. from its insular position it was rather out of touch with its Bishop. Hence from early times the Bishop entrusted to one of the clergy, known as the Dean, unusual administrative and judicial powers. Robert Merlin was Dean of Jersey in 1180. Under the Calvinist regime Deans disappeared for nearly half a century; but the office was restored in 1620. The Dean's duties differ from those of English Deans. As Commissary-General of the Bishop he is Judge in the Ecclesiastical Court. Like an English Archdeacon his duty is to visit each parish to inspect Church properly. He issues marriage-licenses. He is appointed by the Crown, and preference must be given to a Jerseyman.
The Dean is ex officio a member of the States of Jersey of Jersey, although since the constitutional reforms of 1948 the Dean may not take part in parliamentary votes. The Dean acts as the chaplain of the States Assembly and may speak in debates on any matter.
The Dean is appointed by the Crown by means of letters patent and sworn in to that office by the Royal Court. The Dean also serves as Rector of one of the parishes and is instituted and inducted in that office by the Bishop of Winchester. Since 1784 it has been customary (but not obligatory) for the Dean to also be the Rector of the Parish Church of St Helier, but this has not always been the case. For example, William Corbet Le Breton, father of Lillie Langtry, was rector of Saint Saviour at the time he became Dean, though transferred to St Helier in 1875.
Since 1661, the Dean of Jersey has a seal of pointed ellipse type. The arms of the deanery impale those of each individual (or alternatively a monogram).
The Dean of Jersey presides over the ecclesiastical court.
The Dean of Jersey has a seal. Since 1661 the design has been enclosed in a pointed ellipse. A new design is created for each Dean, incorporating his own arms, if he has them. Otherwise it contains his monogram, inside a shield surmounted by the crook of a crozier. The shield bears his year of appointment. The Dean also has a mace which is carried before him in procession.
Roman Catholic Dean of Jersey
Today the Roman Catholic Church in Jersey is also led by a dean