The Chapter are responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day management of the Cathedral. Chapter comprises the Dean, the Residentiary Canons, the Receiver General and four additional persons appointed by the Archbishop.

The DeanThe Very Revd Dr Robert Willis

The Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, the 39th Dean of Canterbury, was installed in July 2001. He had previously been Dean of Hereford for nine years and has been Chairman of the Deans’ Conference of the Church of England since 1999 and a member of the General Synod since 1985. He is an honorary Doctor of Divinity of Yale University and Doctor of Civil Law of the University of Kent.

In 2008 he was made a Freeman of the City of Canterbury and is a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Kent. In 2012 he was awarded the Cross of St Augustine for services to the Anglican Communion and is a Knight of the Order of St John. He has written many hymns and contributed to the recent editions of Hymns Ancient & Modern and New English Praise.

Canon PastorThe Revd Clare Edwards

Canon ClareClare Edwards is the Canon Pastor. She moved to Canterbury in 2004 after 18 years of parish ministry in the Diocese of Southwark, where she was also rural dean of Godstone and diocesan dean of women’s ministry. She has responsibility for the pastoral care of those who work and worship at the cathedral and of the many who visit here each day as pilgrims and tourists. She walked the final 500 miles along the French route to Santiago de Compostela in 2008 and has led various other pilgrimages for members of the cathedral community.

Coming from a background in General and Paediatric nursing Clare maintains an interest in medical and nursing matters alongside the churches ministry of healing and wholeness and is honorary chaplain to the Becket medical society. Clare has particular interests in liturgy, spiritual accompaniment and retreat work. She is a member of General Synod. She enjoys swimming, windsurfing and walking when the sun shines!

Canon LibrarianThe Revd Christopher Irvine

Christopher Irvine is the Canon Librarian and the Director of Education. He came to the Cathedral from being Principal of the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield. As Director of Education Canon Irvine has responsibility for the Anglican Conferences for Seminarians and for newly ordained bishops from around the worldwide Anglican Communion, held in the Cathedral’s International Study Centre.

Canon Irvine is a member of the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England, and the Cathedrals’ Fabric Commission for England. He has a particular interest in the relation between the visual arts and theology, and is a trustee of Art and Christian Enquiry (ACE). His recent books include The Art of God (SPCK, 2005), and The Use of Symbols in Worship (SPCK 2007). His forthcoming book The Cross and Creation is to be published in June 2013. Canon Irvine and Rosie have two grown-up daughters, and they both enjoy travel, and visiting galleries and art exhibitions.

Canon TreasurerThe Revd Nicholas Papadopulos

papadopulosNick Papadopulos came to Canterbury in March 2013 after six years as a parish priest in central London. He has previously served in the Dioceses of Salisbury and Portsmouth. Before his ordination in 1999 he worked as a barrister, specializing in criminal law. As Canon Treasurer he represents the Chapter on those committees which have responsibility for the Cathedral’s finance and fabric. In addition he directs the Kent Initial Ministerial Education programme for the Diocese of Canterbury, working alongside others to form its newly ordained deacons and priests.He has a particular interest in spirituality, and is the editor of God’s Transforming Work (SPCK 2011). He is married to Heather, and they have two children. He enjoys music, cooking, walking, reading widely, and – whenever he remembers – going to the gym.

Archdeacon of CanterburyThe Ven Sheila Watson

Archdeacon of CanterburyThe Ven Sheila Watson is Archdeacon of Canterbury and a Residentiary Canon of Canterbury, combining responsibilties in the Cathedral and the diocese. On behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, she enthrones all new diocesan bishops in the Province of Canterbury. She is the first woman to fulfil this role. The Archdeacon’s office is an historic one dating back to 798. Past Archdeacons include Thomas Becket in 1154. In the church today, Archdeacon Sheila works closely with the bishops to support the ministry of clergy and parishes.

Before coming to Canterbury in the spring of 2007, Sheila was Archdeacon of Buckingham. Born in 1953, Sheila graduated in Classics at St Andrew’s University, where she went on to take a research degree after a preparatory year of theology at Oxford. After 27 years of ministry, she came to Canterbury via the North East, London and Salisbury, as well as Buckinghamshire. She has worked in three parishes and was also closely involved in the selection and training of clergy and laity in the Kensington Episcopal Area of the Diocese of London, at the Advisory Board of Ministry in Westminster, and later as Director of Ministry in the Salisbury diocese. Sheila is married to Derek, who was Dean of Salisbury until his retirement in 2002, and is now Preacher of Lincoln’s Inn, one of the Inns of Court in London.

I feel enormously privileged to be invited to join the team at Canterbury in both diocese and Cathedral. I have always loved the Cathedral with all its historic associations and I am greatly looking forward to getting to know the people and churches of Kent.
Being a priest is one of the most fascinating but sometimes one of the most demanding jobs in today’s society – being a Christian can be pretty tough too but it is really exciting. I have been very lucky to see so many different contexts in ministry.

Archdeacon of AshfordThe Ven Philip Down

The Venerable Philip DownPhilip was born in Australia and came to the UK in 1986. He is a qualified Medical Scientist and subsequently was educated both in Australia and England in Theology and Philosophy. Originally from the Uniting Church in Australia Philip was ordained Deacon and Priest in Lincoln Cathedral in 1989. In addition to ecumenical parish posts in Australia and in Lincolnshire he served as Team Vicar of Grimsby Parish Church 1989-1995 and ‘Rector of St Stephen’s Canterbury 1995 – 2002’ and as Area Dean of Canterbury.

Philip was originally appointed as Archdeacon of Maidstone in 2002 and after diocesan reorganisation became the first Archdeacon of Ashford in 2011 with particular responsibility for ‘local church development’ in the Diocese. Philip is a member of the General Synod.


Among his church interests Philip includes:

  • Canterbury Diocese and Canterbury Cathedral
  • Ecumenical Theology
  • Social and Medical Ethics.
  • Faith & Science Issues.
  • Parish Management and Contemporary Mission

Philip is married to Christine and they have a family of four adult children and six grandchildren. The family keep a wonderful dog – a ‘puddin’ Jack Russell terrier called Jessie. Philip greatly enjoys conversation and the company of others, opera, ballet, theatre and cinema, poetry, art and travel, fine wine, cooking and eating but, with apologies to all Australians, not sport.

Lay Member of ChapterMrs Janice Reid

JaniceThe ordination of her father in Canterbury Cathedral when Janice was a child, marked the beginning of a long association with its life and worship.

Having graduated and qualified as a teacher, she completed a postgraduate research degree on aspects of the theology and influence of the nineteenth century ecclesiological movement. Having recently presented a paper on the role of Women in Matthew’s Gospel at Chichester Cathedral, she also has a particular academic interest in the theology of John’s Gospel, Feminist Liberation and Black Liberation theologies and contextual theologies. For twenty years she taught at The King’s School, Canterbury where she was Head of Religious Studies and Philosophy, and for three years before her retirement in 2010, President of the Common Room.

Janice met her husband, David (now a Cathedral steward) at a lunch party at the Deanery in Canterbury in 1977 and they have two grown up sons and a baby granddaughter.

Lay Member of ChapterMrs Caroline Spencer

cspencerCaroline has been active in church life and governance for many years. She is a member of the General Synod, Chair of the Canterbury Diocesan Licensed Ministries Framework, and a member of the Canterbury Archbishop’s Council. She is an Honorary Fellow of Canterbury Christ Church University.

Caroline worships at Wye Parish Church where she is involved in the ministry of welcome and makes the coffee.

She lives in Godmersham with her husband Jonathan. Their three children are now grown and flown. She enjoys cooking for friends, walking (especially in mountains) and the visual and performing arts (just as well since two of her children are musicians and the third is a dancer and choreographer).

Lay Member of ChapterMr William Pettit

William PetitAppointed to Chapter in January 2007, William was the Civic and International Manager at Canterbury City Council. William has assisted at Services in the Cathedral for many years and represents the Cathedral on the Deanery Synod.

After more than 25 years as a member of the Cathedral’s congregation, I am honoured and delighted to have been given this new way of serving the Cathedral community.

Receiver GeneralBrigadier John Meardon

Receiver GeneralThe Receiver General is the Chief Executive Officer of the Cathedral and the senior lay member of the Cathedral staff. Retiring from the Royal Marines after 34 years service, John Meardon joined the Cathedral in 1998 and has been involved in matters great and small affecting the life of the Cathedral and the Precincts ever since. He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Kent in January 2008. He lives in Canterbury with his wife, Ann, who is head of the Cathedral Flower Guild.