Chief Clerks 1782-1870

Page 16

Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 8, Foreign Office Officials 1782-1870. Originally published by University of London, London, 1979.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


Chief Clerks 1782-1870

The office of Chief Clerk, which had been a feature of the Northern Department, formed part of the establishment of the Foreign Office throughout the period. Originally the Chief Clerk, unlike the other Clerks on the establishment, received no salary from the Secretary of State. His remuneration was derived from a fixed proportion of the office fees, £25 from the Irish concordatum fund, an annual allowance of £300 from Post Office funds and a variety of other perquisites and allowances. (fn. 1) In 1795 a fixed salary of £1,000 was substituted. (fn. 2) In 1801 provision was made for an increase to £1,250 after five years' service. (fn. 3) In 1822 the scale was fixed at £1,000 rising by annual increments of £50 to £1,250. (fn. 4) Lenox Conyngham was awarded an additional annual allowance of £200 for long service in 1859. (fn. 5)

From 1804 the First Senior Clerk, S. Rolleston, was given the title of Chief, or Second Chief, Clerk, and his salary of £650 was increased to £1,250. The duty he had performed as First Senior Clerk, of superintending and distributing the general business of the office, remained unaltered, and he undertook none of the financial and accounting duties normally performed by the Chief Clerk. (fn. 6) On Rolleston's appointment to the Chief Clerkship in 1817, the title and salary of Second Chief Clerk lapsed.

1782 27 March Sneyd, J.
1792 18 April Bidwell, T.
1817 28 Sept. Rolleston, S.
1824 2 Feb. Bidwell, T.
1841 27 July Lenox Conyngham, G.
1866 1 Dec. Alston, F. B.
1804 10 Aug. Rolleston, S.


  • 1. 1st Rept. on Fees, 6, 27-8.
  • 2. Order in council 27 Feb. 1795 (16th Rept. on Finance, 309-11).
  • 3. Order in council 18 Feb. 1801 (FO 366/671 pp. 165-6).
  • 4. Order in council 28 March 1822 (PC 2/204 p. 86).
  • 5. FO 366/675 pp. 160-2.
  • 6. Order in council 19 Feb. 1806 (FO 366/671 pp. 298-300).