means the right of appointing the incumbent of a church or
ecclesiastical benefice. In mediæval times the “advocacy” or patronage
of bishoprics and abbeys was frequently in the hands of powerful
nobles, who often claimed the right to appoint in the event of a
vacancy; hence the word (from Latin, advocatio, the office of a
A presentative advowson
is when the patron presents to the bishop a person to whom he is
willing to give the place of preferment.
A collative advowson
is when the bishop himself is patron, and collates his client
without any intermediate person.
A donative advowson
is where the Crown gives a living to a clergyman without
presentation, institution, or induction. This is done when a church or
chapel has been founded by the Crown, and is not subject to the
Advowson in gross
is an advowson separated from the manor, and belonging wholly to
the owner. While attached to the manor it is an advowson appendant. “Gross” (French) means absolute, entire; thus gross weight is the
entire weight without deductions. A villain in gross was a
villain the entire property of his master, and not attached to the
land. A common in gross is one which is entirely your own, and
which belongs to the manor.
Sale of Advowsons.
When lords of manors built churches upon their own demesnes, and
endowed them, they became private property, which the lord might give
away or even sell, under certain limitations. These livings are called
Advowsons appendant, being appended to the manor. After a time they
became regular “commercial property,” and we still see the sale of some
of them in the public journals.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894