Chamber Administration
Keeper of the Privy Purse 1660-1837


Institute of Historical Research



R.O. Bucholz

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'Chamber Administration: Keeper of the Privy Purse 1660-1837', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (revised): Court Officers, 1660-1837 (2006), pp. 11-12. URL: Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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Keeper of the Privy Purse 1660–1837

The keeper of the privy purse, usually a favourite, was responsible for the Sovereign's most private funds, during this period between £20,000 and £60,000, for which no account had to be submitted to the Treasury. The establishment of the succession to this office presents considerable problems. During the reigns of Charles II, James II, Anne and George II the keeper was sworn into office pursuant to a royal warrant directed to the lord chamberlain; at other times until the Regency appointments appear to have been made informally by word of mouth and have left no trace in the records. During these periods the identity of keepers can be established only from the warrants authorizing payments from the Exchequer to the privy purse and incidental references. The position of Henning (1700–2; c.1716–27), who appears to have carried out the duties as a clerk rather than as a principal, is particularly uncertain. (fn. 1) From 1812 appointments were notified in the London Gazette.

During the reign of Charles II the keeper received board wages of £127 15s. (fn. 2) McMahon (1812–17) received a salary of £3,000 as private secretary and keeper of the privy purse. (fn. 3)

16612 Aug.Bennet, Sir H.
166216 Oct.Berkeley, Sir C.
166528 JulyMay, B.
168531 Mar.Graham, J.
1689Bentinck, H.W.
1700Henning, C.F.
170219 JuneMarlborough, Countess of
171124 Jan.Masham, A.
By 1716Henning, C.F.
172726 Sept.Schutz, A.
17579 JuneFinch, Hon. E.
1760Bute, 3rd Earl of
1763Sept.Breton, Sir W.
1773Brudenell, Hon. J.
181217 Mar.McMahon, J.
181714 JulyBloomfield, Sir B.
182221 Sept.Knighton, Sir W.
183024 JulyWheatley, H.


1 Beattie, pp. 36, 260.
2 LC 3/24, f. 6.
3 HP 1790–1820, iv, 511.