The Deans traces the course of the dramatic change in the fortunes of the English cathedrals, over the last 200 years, but does so by engaging with the lives of 30 of the most interesting and significant Deans who were in office during that period. Trevor Beeson provides readers with an interesting and undemanding introduction to two centuries of Church history with these portraits of quite remarkable men including scholars, pastors, preachers, poets, builders, controversialists, eccentrics - all of whom contributed much to the life of the nation as well as to that of the Church. The Deans concludes with a discussion of the present, varied life of the cathedrals, and evaluates the most recent proposals for reform, initiated by the Archbishop's Commission.
"Trevor Beeson's splendid volume contains twenty-two short descriptions of the lives and contributions of memorable deans from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to these richly drawn portraits, one should not overlook the two introductory chapters which both provide fascinaitng insights into cathedral life, as well as tracing significant changes in cathedral structure from the tenth century onwards. One could not wish for a better overview than that provided by Beeson. (...) This book would be an ideal present for any member of the clergy (...), but make sure you read it yourself before handing it on!" Paul Foster, New College, University of Edinburgh, The Expository Times