Medieval History Term of the Week: Advowson

Etymology: Middle English avoueson, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin advocation-, advocatio, from Latin, act of calling, from advocare

1) The right to appoint a priest to a parish church. Advowsons could be held by laymen and were treated as real property which could be inherited, sold, exchanged, or even divided between co-heiresses (one appointing on one occasion, another on the next, and so on).
(Waugh, Scott. England in the Reign of Edward III, 237)

2) The right of presentation to a church or benefice.
(Sayles, George O. The King’s Parliament of England, 143)

3) Patronage of a church living; the legal right to present a candidate for installation in a vacant ecclesiastical office.
(Hogue, Arthur R. Origins of the Common Law, 255)

*term definitions retrieved from Netserf’s Medieval Glossary (

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