Anglicans/C of E Heirachy
I'm reading the Barchester series of novels by Trollope which are full of Bishops, Archdeacons, Deans, Perpetual Curates etc. I find their respective roles rather confusing. In the Church of England in the 1850s and 60s what was the role of those mentioned above ? It seems to me that the Archdeacon and the Dean held as much authority as the henpecked Bishop Proudie did !
In that period the bishop would often be absent in London (hoping perhaps for "preferment" to a more wealthy bishopric, though some of the large variations in stipend were curtailed in the 1830s and 1840s). A "visitation" by the bishop meant he was visiting his diocese. So archdeacons were effectively the senior presence permanently in the diocese. The dean's authority extended only to the cathdral, and deans had effective control there even though the bishop had his seat ("cathedra") in the cathedral. Perpetual curates were clergy in charge of parishes who were not technically the "incumbent" of the benefice as was a vicar or rector (though that distinction ended in 1838).