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)
|1660||5 June||Hertford, 1st Marquess of|
|1660||26 Oct.||Granville, Sir J.|
|1685||21 Apr.||Peterborough, 2nd Earl of|
|1689||1 Mar.||Bentinck, H.W.|
|1700||24 June||Romney, 1st Earl of|
|1702||12 May||Marlborough, Countess of|
|1711||24 Jan.||Somerset, Duchess of|
|1714||1 Aug.||Office vacant|
|1719||7 Feb.||Sunderland, 3rd Earl of|
|1722||19 Apr.||Office vacant|
|1723||26 May||Godolphin, 2nd Earl of|
|1735||8 Jan.||Pembroke, 9th Earl of|
|1751||4 July||Albemarle, 2nd Earl of|
|1755||4 Mar.||Rochford, 4th Earl of|
|1760||15 Nov.||Bute, 3rd Earl of|
|1761||3 Apr.||Huntingdon, 10th Earl of|
|1770||19 Jan.||Bristol, 2nd Earl of|
|1775||30 Mar.||Weymouth, 3rd Viscount|
|1775||10 Nov.||Ashburnham, 2nd Earl of|
|1782||4 May||Weymouth, 3rd Viscount|
|1796||30 Nov.||Roxburghe, 3rd Duke of|
|1804||10 May||Winchilsea, 9th Earl of|
|1812||14 Mar.||Winchester, 13th Marquess of|
PSBC, p. 22; Beattie, pp. 53–8; Bucholz, pp. 317–18 n. 94.
||Beattie, p. 182.
CTB I, 363; ibid. VIII, 1108–9.
||Ibid. VIII, 222.
||Ibid. IX, 329; Beattie, p. 185.
||Bucholz, p. 129; Beattie, p. 211.