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 patron).
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 ordinary.
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