The bedchamber
Groom of the Stole 1660-1837


Institute of Historical Research



R.O. Bucholz

Year published


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'The bedchamber: Groom of the Stole 1660-1837', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (revised): Court Officers, 1660-1837 (2006), pp. 13-14. URL: Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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Groom of the Stole 1660–1837

The groom of the stole was the effective head of the royal bedchamber, with the right to attend the Sovereign at all times and to regulate access to the bedchamber and closet even when absent. The office, which was invariably coupled with that of first gentleman or first lady of the bedchamber from 1660, was in the gift of the Crown, appointments being made by royal warrant. The groom of the stole also received a key, often depicted in contemporary portraits, which was said to open every door in every royal palace (fn. 1) The office was left vacant between 1714 and 1719 and between 1722 and 1723 and was discontinued on the accession of Victoria in 1837.

That part of the remuneration of the groom of the stole which was paid by the cofferer amounted to £1,000 consisting of wages of £33 6s 8d and board wages of £966 13s 4d. (fn. 2) In addition the groom of the stole was paid an annuity at the Exchequer or customs. That paid to Granville (Bath) (1660–85) amounted to £5,000 a year composed of a basic £2,000, a further £2,000 in lieu of plate from the jewel office and £1,000 in lieu of livery at the great wardrobe; (fn. 3) that paid to his successor, Peterborough (1685–8), fell to £1,200. (fn. 4) From 1689 the additional annuity amounted to £2,000 except in the cases of Sunderland (1719–22) and Godolphin (1723–35) who both received £4,000. (fn. 5) The groom of the stole also had the right to lodgings in every royal palace, to the Sovereign's old clothes, and to used bedchamber furnishings (including the royal deathbed) which amounted to £3,000 in 1714. (fn. 6)

16605 JuneHertford, 1st Marquess of
166026 Oct.Granville, Sir J.
168521 Apr.Peterborough, 2nd Earl of
16891 Mar.Bentinck, H.W.
170024 JuneRomney, 1st Earl of
170212 MayMarlborough, Countess of
171124 Jan.Somerset, Duchess of
17141 Aug.Office vacant
17197 Feb.Sunderland, 3rd Earl of
172219 Apr.Office vacant
172326 MayGodolphin, 2nd Earl of
17358 Jan.Pembroke, 9th Earl of
17514 JulyAlbemarle, 2nd Earl of
17554 Mar.Rochford, 4th Earl of
176015 Nov.Bute, 3rd Earl of
17613 Apr.Huntingdon, 10th Earl of
177019 Jan.Bristol, 2nd Earl of
177530 Mar.Weymouth, 3rd Viscount
177510 Nov.Ashburnham, 2nd Earl of
17824 MayWeymouth, 3rd Viscount
179630 Nov.Roxburghe, 3rd Duke of
180410 MayWinchilsea, 9th Earl of
181214 Mar.Winchester, 13th Marquess of


1 PSBC, p. 22; Beattie, pp. 53–8; Bucholz, pp. 317–18 n. 94.
2 Beattie, p. 182.
3 CTB I, 363; ibid. VIII, 1108–9.
4 Ibid. VIII, 222.
5 Ibid. IX, 329; Beattie, p. 185.
6 Bucholz, p. 129; Beattie, p. 211.