Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (Revised), Court Officers, 1660-1837. Originally published by University of London, London, 2006.
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Sergeants at Arms 1660–1837
The sergeants at arms to the court generally waited in the presence chamber, carrying the maces before the King when he processed to the chapel or the House of Lords. As this implies, they assisted in providing security in the public rooms, and might be required to arrest or detain malefactors. They were appointed by lord chamberlain's warrant. As a general rule their appointments were embodied in letters patent under the great seal. They included a corps of sergeants attached to the court, designated in the lists below simply `sergeants at arms' and individual sergeants serving particular officers. (fn. 1) They all enjoyed the same basic remuneration. This originally consisted of a salary of 12d a day and an allowance in lieu of diet of 15d a day. In 1663 these sums were raised to 3s and 2s 6d respectively amounting to an annual total of £100 7s 6d. (fn. 2) This was paid at the Exchequer except in the cases of the lord chancellor's sergeant who was paid at the hanaper and the city sergeant who was paid from the revenues of London and Middlesex. The sergeants at arms were provided with maces and collars and were also allowed riding wages, fees of honour and fees on the commitment of prisoners.
Originally numbering 16, the court sergeants were reduced to eight in 1685. (fn. 3) These offices were granted for life until 1677 and during pleasure thereafter with the exception of Edmund Williamson who was appointed for life in 1698.
The sergeant at arms attending the lord chancellor was appointed for life until 1713 and during good behaviour thereafter. He was regarded as an officer of the House of Lords and from 1693 received an allowance of 10s a day for every day for which the House sat. (fn. 4) In 1806 this was replaced by an annual allowance of £1,000. (fn. 5)
The office of sergeant at arms attending the speaker of the House of Commons was held for life until 1693 and during good behaviour thereafter. The position was, however, complicated by the interest which the House of Commons took in the identity of the individual whom they regarded as their own officer. At the Restoration in 1660 four individuals, Michael Crake, Edward Birkhead, Richard Bishop and William Bishop, were living and in possession of letters patent from Charles I granting the office to them successively. Ignoring their interests, the House of its own motion appointed James Norfolk to the post on 25 April 1660. By letters patent of 7 May 1661 the Crown suspended the previous grantees from the execution of the office and granted the reversion to Norfolk who was formally admitted on 23 May following. (fn. 6) Norfolk was suspended by the House on 2 June 1675 and William Bishop was finally admitted pursuant to an order of the lord chamberlain of 8 October. (fn. 7) While Bishop formally occupied the office until June 1693 the duties were carried out by two court sergeants, John Topham and Richard Shoreditch between 1678 and 1692. (fn. 8)
The sergeant at arms to the Treasury held office for life until 1684 and during pleasure thereafter. The office was abolished in 1832. (fn. 9)
The office of sergeant at arms to the city of London was held on a life tenure until 1672 and during pleasure thereafter. It was abolished in 1782. (fn. 10)
Sergeants at Arms at Court 1660–1837
Sergeant at Arms in Ordinary w/o Fee 1666–1676; 1681–1682
|1666||16 Oct.||Barcroft, J.|
|1670||1 Apr.||Kent, R.|
|1676||9 Aug.||Deerham, H. (in Extraordinary)|
|1681||18 May||Gardiner, T. (in Extraordinary)|
Sergeant at Arms to the Lord Chancellor 1660–1837
Sergeant at Arms to the Lord Chancellor in Extraordinary 1668–73
|1668||14 Apr.||Wood, E.|
|1671||21 Feb.||Charnock, Sir G.|
Sergeant at Arms to the Speaker 1660–1837
Sergeant at Arms to the Treasury 1660–1832
Sergeant at Arms to the City of London 1660–1782
Sergeant at Arms for the Marches of Wales 1661–1685
|1661||3 Aug.||Grosvener, J.|
|1667||27 Feb.||Shelberry, I.|
|1674||9 Sept.||Underhill, J.|
|1683||19 Nov.||Smyth, F.|