Presence Chamber
Sergeants at Arms 1660-1837

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

R.O. Bucholz

Year published

2006

Supporting documents

Pages

50-56

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'Presence Chamber: Sergeants at Arms 1660-1837', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (revised): Court Officers, 1660-1837 (2006), pp. 50-56. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=43779 Date accessed: 23 August 2014.


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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

1660 8 June Bulstrode, H.
1660 9 June Topham, J.
1660 11 June Harsnet, R.
1660 12 June Blaney, T.
1660 12 June Skynner, W.
1660 12 June Thorne, R.
1660 14 June Charnock, G.
1660 16 June Bettenson, J.
1660 19 June Bishop, R.
1660 20 June Turst, S.
1660 20 June Barton, J.
1660 22 June Langston, F.
1660 23 June Ward, J.
1660 25 June Bull, M.
1660 25 June Seale, G.
1660 29 June Beck, J.
1660 30 June Middleton, J.
1660 2 July Barcroft, J.
1660 20 July Haddon, A.
1660 22 Nov. Williamson, E.
1661 24 Sept. Gyde, R.
1662 8 Feb. Fitzsimmons, O.
1662 31 Dec. Harrington, B.
1663 21 Feb. Payne, T.
1664 14 Mar. Houlker, W.
1666 15 Oct. Kent, R.
1667 23 Dec. Smith, G.
1669 7 Aug. Charnock, R.
1670 5 Mar. Read, R.
1670 13 Oct. Collet, J.
1671 25 June Graves, H.
1673 14 Jan. Charnock, T.
1674 11 Sept. Bishop, W.
1675 2 Mar. Chamberlayne, E.
1676 14 Aug. Mease, W.
1676 21 Dec. Templer, J.
1677 Deerham, H.
1677 20 Jan. Hatch, E.
1679 17 Apr. Harvey, J.
1680 6 May Deerham, H.
1681 7 Mar. Presgrave, W.
1682 30 Oct. Gardiner, T.
1683 10 Feb. Madox, R.
1683 24 Feb. Lownes, W. (joint)
1683 5 Apr. Palmer, J.
1683 16 Aug. Shoreditch, R.
1683 23 Aug. Vassal, F.
1684 4 Feb. Charnock, J.
1691 28 Nov. Turst, T.
1692 10 Aug. Lawson, J.
1692 29 Oct. Shirley, T.
1692 8 Dec. Gregg, B.
1698 5 July Williamson, E.
1699 24 Nov. Gardiner, D.
1701 19 May Hutton, M.
1707 13 May de Critz, T.
1710 2 Oct. Goodere, C.
1710 7 Dec. Hall, J.
1713 24 Sept. Jewkes, T.
1713 30 Sept. Nicholas, J.
1715 21 May Turst, T.S.
1715 24 June Hall, B.
1715 24 June Delves, M.
1720 24 Feb. Horner, E.
1724 1 Feb. Newnham, L.
1725 12 May Heyman, J.A.
1726 27 May Coke, T.
1728 13 Apr. Wilkins, T.
1729 30 Aug. Sherd, W.
1737 8 Jan. Hugonin, J.
1737 27 Apr. Adam, H.
1742 11 Sept. Smith, J.
1747 14 Nov. Mason, J.
1752 30 Apr. Hazard, S.
1753 4 Apr. Stainsby, J.A.
1756 1 June Kinderly, N.
1761 29 Apr. Barker, A.
1763 13 Feb. Kennett, G.B.
1763 13 Oct. Cobb, F.
1765 30 Jan. Simpson, C.
1770 11 Apr. Bibbins, W.
1772 25 Apr. Probart, J.
1775 11 May de Lane, C.
1781 19 Sept. Couch, B.
1782 15 Apr. Ely, J.
1783 3 May Allen, J.
1785 6 May Stevenson, T.
1793 19 Feb. Mineur, J.
1794 30 Oct. Mash, T.
1795 15 Dec. Bush, E.
1796 4 Mar. Worgan, T.D.
1796 22 Apr. Gordon, E.
1797 6 Apr. Mash, T.B.
1799 26 Apr. Browne, C.
1802 6 Sept. Cornfield, R.
1804 30 May Sanders, S.
1817 29 Aug. Duke, F.
1819 18 Dec. Attenhoffer, B.
1820 6 May Peacock, J.A.
1820 11 July Strubel, G.
1820 1 Nov. Norton, G.
1822 16 Apr. Moule, J.
1824 20 July Sisson, C.
1824 18 Dec. Parton, T.
1827 5 May Browell, E.M.
1829 5 June Gordon, E.
1832 21 Jan. Worrall, H.

Sergeant at Arms in Ordinary w/o Fee 1666–1676; 1681–1682

n.d. Meux, -
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

1660 Leigh, H.
1673 10 July Charnock, Sir G. (joint)
1673 10 July Charnock, R. (joint)
1696 19 Oct. Persehouse, P.
1703 12 Mar. Goatley, S.
1713 16 Apr. Stone, C.
1716 13 Jan. Jephson, F.
1745 18 Sept. Jephson, R.
1789 5 Dec. Watson, W.
1818 15 July Seymour, G.F.

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

1660 25 Apr. Norfolk, J.
1675 8 Oct. Bishop, W.
1693 6 Feb. Powell, S.
1709 25 Jan. Wybergh, T.
1717 5 Sept. Spence, T.
1737 1 Nov. Odiarne, W.
1762 12 Oct. Bonfoy, N.
1775 28 Oct. Colman, E.
1805 4 Apr. Colman, F.J.
1812 7 Jan. Clementson, J.
1812 7 Mar. Seymour, H.
1835 10 July Gosset, Sir W.

Sergeant at Arms to the Treasury 1660–1832

[1660] Dandy, E., sen.
1660 13 July Warner, T.
1663 27 June Stephens, F.
1673 12 June Ramsey, J.
1684 7 Nov. Ball, H. (jt.)
1684 1 Nov. Ryley, P.
1689 28 Mar. Marshall, R.
1689 30 Apr. Ryley, P.
1701 8 May Ryley, R.
1706 18 Jan. Ryley, P.
1733 26 July Allin, Sir T.
1765 30 Sept. Brougham, H.
1810 10 Aug. Murray, D.R.

Sergeant at Arms to the City of London 1660–1782

1660 Barker, M.
1672 21 Aug. Mann, W.
1706 14 Mar. Harle, E.
1715 21 July Blunt, S.
1717 7 Jan. Russell, J.
1721 7 Mar. Collier, N.
1722 2 Mar. Barton, J.
1726 19 May Mann, I.
1727 14 June Carbonell, T.
1742 9 Apr. Perry, P.
1759 19 Jan. Beresford, R.

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.

Footnotes

1 PSBC, pp. 35–6; LC 3/24, f. 10.
2 CTB I, 560.
3 LC 3/29, f. 21.
4 CTB X, 1103. Between 1689 and 1693 this allowance was paid successively to two court sergeants, Sir Roger Harsnet and Thomas Shirley (Ibid. IX, 210, 610, 1205; Ibid. X, 34, 253).
5 LJ LXXVI, Appendix, p. 18.
6 CJ VIII, 1; C 66/2995, letters patent 23 May 1661 granting reversion to James Norfolk; LC 3/24 f.
7 CJ IX, 351; CSPD 1675–6, p. 338.
8 CSPD 1679–80, pp. 76, 101; Lord Great Chamberlain's Documents, series II, i no. 221.
9 For this office, see Treasury Officials, comp. J.C. Sainty (1972), p. 96.
10 LS 13/117, pp. 71, 73.