In 1753 he accepted the curacy of Durley, and in 1757 he was a candidate for the provostship of Oriel, but failed to secure election.
A college of secular canons followed in the 10th century, the provostship of which subsequently became an office of high dignity, and was held by Thomas Becket, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury.
After holding the office of dean at Oriel for some years, he succeeded to the provostship in 1814, and owing largely to his influence the college reached a remarkable degree of prosperity during the first quarter of the 19th century.
When the Roman Catholic bishops were deprived he was offered the see of Carlisle; but he declined this honour and also the provostship of Queen's, which was offered him in 1560.
In addition to royal burghs, there were burghs of nobles and of bishops, and the provostship was apt to become, by custom, almost hereditary in a local noble family, which protected the burgesses.