• WordNet 3.6
    • n vestry a room in a church where sacred vessels and vestments are kept or meetings are held
    • n vestry in the Protestant Episcopal Church: a committee elected by the congregation to work with the churchwardens in managing the temporal affairs of the church
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Vestry (Prot. Epis. Ch) A body, composed of wardens and vestrymen, chosen annually by a parish to manage its temporal concerns.
    • Vestry (Ch. of Eng) A parochial assembly; an assembly of persons who manage parochial affairs; -- so called because usually held in a vestry.
    • Vestry A room appendant to a church, in which sacerdotal vestments and sacred utensils are sometimes kept, and where meetings for worship or parish business are held; a sacristy; -- formerly called revestiary. "He said unto him that was over the vestry , Bring forth vestments for all the worshipers of Baal."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n vestry A room, or sometimes a separate building, attached to a church, where the vestments of the clergy, and sometimes the sacred vessels and other treasures of the church, are kept. Such an apartment is also called sacristy or vestry-room. It is now, in Anglican churches, generally under the same roof with the church, and is usually placed at one side of the chancel.
    • n vestry In non-liturgical churches, a room or building attached to a church, and used for the Sabbath-school, the weekly prayer-meetings, religious services, etc.; a chapel.
    • n vestry In English ecclesiastical law, and in American colonial law: A meeting of the inhabitants or ratepayers of a parish for the despatch of the official business of the parish.
    • n vestry A meeting or a board consisting of representatives of the ratepayers at large, all of whom are entitled to vote in their election. It is not essential to the validity of the meeting that it be held in the vestry, or even in connection with the church-building. The general charge of the church property is intrusted to the vestry, together with certain administrative duties respecting the parish, such as the care of the poor, and sometimes the paving and lighting of the streets, etc.
    • n vestry In the Prot. Epis. Ch. in the United States of America, a committee (chosen annually by the members of the congregation) who, in conjunction with the churchwardens, manage its temporal affairs. The time and manner of electing the vestrymen, and their rights and duties, are different in different dioceses, being determined by diocesan regulations. The vestry has a general charge of the temporalities of the church, and, in the case of a vacancy in the pastorate, is the official representative of the parish; but it exercises no ecclesiastical control over the rector, either in his administration of the spiritual affairs of the church or in the conduct of its services. It nominates the rector of the parish, subject to the approval of the bishop.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Vestry ves′tri a room adjoining a church in which the vestments are kept and parochial meetings held, any small room attached to a church: in English parishes, a meeting of the ratepayers to elect parish officers, to assess church-rates, and to manage the property of the parish, the incumbent acting as chairman
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  • Sydney Smith
    “How can a bishop marry? How can he flirt? The most he can say is I will see you in the vestry after service.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. vestrye, F. vestiaire, L. vestiarium, fr. vestiarius, belonging to clothes, fr. vestis, a garment. See Vest (n.), and cf. Vestiary
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. vestiariumvestiarius, belonging to clothes—vestis, a garment.


In literature:

He's worried about money for the new vestry.
"My Neighbors" by Caradoc Evans
Samuel Bishop in the vestry.
"Sally Bishop" by E. Temple Thurston
Mr. Churchwarden Threpp, we will call a vestry meeting and make a rate.
"The Argosy" by Various
It is at length decided that Aldgate pump is to be painted, but the vestry have not yet determined what the colour is to be.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, Complete" by Various
The vestry where we were elected was the scene of the distribution.
"Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 432" by Various
Colonel Farley is one o' the vestries, or whatever you call 'em, of St. Michael's yonder in town.
"The Quickening" by Francis Lynde
Hiram can bring you down after it has begun; and you may sit in the vestry till the clerk calls you.
"On the Church Steps" by Sarah C. Hallowell
The famous Vestris instructed her and predicted great things for her.
"Repertory Of The Comedie Humaine, Complete, A -- Z" by Anatole Cerfberr and Jules François Christophe
But I was afraid she was dying, she looked so pale; then, rushing to the vestry, I found the sexton.
"Medoline Selwyn's Work" by Mrs. J. J. Colter
At length a side door opened and the reader came in from his vestry.
"A Dozen Ways Of Love" by Lily Dougall

In poetry:

The Bishop, when it's o'er,
Goes through the vestry door,
Where MICAH, very red,
Is mopping of his head.
"The Reverend Micah Sowls" by William Schwenck Gilbert
And three men in the vestry watch
To save him if they can,
And should he come there to shoot they swear
A resurrection man.
"The Surgeon's Warning" by Robert Southey
And all night long let three stout men
The vestry watch within,
To each man give a gallon of beer
And a keg of Holland's gin;
"The Surgeon's Warning" by Robert Southey
So all night long by the vestry fire
They quaff'd their gin and ale,
And they did drink as you may think
And told full many a tale.
"The Surgeon's Warning" by Robert Southey
To ask who rang the parting knell?
If Vestris came the solemn dirge to hear?
Genius of Valoüy, didst thou hover near?
Shade of Lepicq! and spirit of Gondel!
"Elegy On The Abrogation Of The Birth-Night Ball, And The Consequent Final Subversion Of The Minuet" by Joanna Baillie
"But fast my feet were—fast with tangles—
Ay! words—but they were not sharp, I trow,
Though parish feuds and vestry wrangles—
O pitiful sight—I see thee now!—
"At One Again" by Jean Ingelow

In news:

At a recent Vestry meeting of St Alban 's Church, the following services were scheduled as follows.
"I'm Vestry and I Know It".
All members of the Manchester Historical Society are encouraged to attend this year's annual meeting on Wednesday, Dec 12 at 6 pm in the Vestry of the First Congregational Church in Manchester.