Patronage is the right to appoint or present a member of the clergy to a benefice. Patrons include private individuals, the Crown, bishops, colleges, religious bodies, charities, etc. A register of patrons is maintained at the Diocesan Registry.

A benefice may have more than one patron. Where there are two or more patrons, they may take it in turns to present a new incumbent after a benefice becomes vacant, or they make act jointly on each occasion, depending on the terms of the Pastoral Scheme which created the benefice.

The principal law relating to patronage is contained in the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986 and the Patronage (Benefices) Rules 1987.