from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The right in English ecclesiastical law of presentation to a vacant benefice.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The right of presenting to a vacant benefice or living in the church.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The right of presenting to a vacant benefice or living in the church. [Originally, the relation of a patron (advocatus) or protector of a benefice, and thus privileged to nominate or present to it.]

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Originally, the obligation to defend an ecclesiastical office or a religious house. See advocate of the church, under advocate.
  • n. In English law, the right of presentation to a vacant benefice.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the right in English law of presenting a nominee to a vacant ecclesiastical benefice


Middle English avouson, from Old French avoeson, from Medieval Latin advocātia, from Latin advocātiō, a summoning, from advocāre, to summon; see advocate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • a hill, rose an old ruin with one tower left, and this, with half the country round it, had once belonged to the clergyman's family; but all had been sold, -- all gone piece by piece, you see, my dear, except the presentation to the living (what they call the advowson was sold too), which had been secured to the last of the family.

    The Caxtons — Volume 03

  • Until the year 1898 there was also a third kind, known as advowson donative.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Aachen-Assize

  • This "advowson" (advocatio), or right to present to the benefice, is in origin an ownership of the soil upon which the church stands and an ownership of the land or goods set apart for the sustenance of the priest who serves it.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 12: Philip II-Reuss

  • This clerical mansion was large and commodious, for the living was an excellent one, and the advowson belonged to a very wealthy family in the neighbourhood, who had usually bred up a son or nephew to the church for the sake of inducting him, as opportunity offered, into this very comfortable provision.

    The Heart of Mid-Lothian

  • He had been very assiduous to pin himself upon George Prankley, who was a gentleman-commoner of Christchurch, knowing the said Prankley was heir to a considerable estate, and would have the advowson of a good living, the incumbent of which was very old and infirm.

    The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

  • And it so happens that our nearest parish church is at this moment without a priest until it pleases the bishop to name his choice, for the advowson is with him.

    The Confession of Brother Haluin

  • The advowson of the living was vested in the abbey, and the great church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul was equally the parish church of Holy Cross, the nave open to the people living here outside the town gates, in this growing suburb which almost considered itself a borough like the borough within the walls.

    The Raven In The Foregate

  • Monastery lent him a large sum to take him to the Holy Land, and received from him the lordship of Coventry (excepting the Manor House and Park of Cheylesmore) and the advowson of St. Michael's and its dependent chapels, thus becoming the landlords of nearly the whole of

    The Churches of Coventry A Short History of the City & Its Medieval Remains

  • In 1874 the advowson was sold to a private person.

    The Churches of Coventry A Short History of the City & Its Medieval Remains

  • At the Dissolution Deerhurst became a curacy, and remained so till 1682, the advowson then being transferred from lay hands to those of the Bishop of Worcester.

    Bell's Cathedrals: The Abbey Church of Tewkesbury with some Account of the Priory Church of Deerhurst Gloucestershire


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  • "'I was going through the mass of estate-papers with Adams... I had three advowsons and part of a fourth, with the right of presenting every third turn.'"
    --O'Brian, The Truelove, 19

    March 10, 2008