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The abbot was the presiding head of the abbey, with all members reporting to him. Abbots were elected by the members of the community until 1566 when the first commendatory abbot was named by the king. The abbot heard confession yearly and also visited each dependent priory of the abbey annually. Lectio 19 of the customary enjoins the abbot to be the Master and teacher of all, and to take the Rule as his own Master.