Dependent Sub-departments: Ceremonies 1660-1837

Pages 112-114

Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (Revised), Court Officers, 1660-1837. Originally published by University of London, London, 2006.

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Ceremonies 1660–1837

The office of the ceremonies was responsible for the reception of foreign dignitaries. According to The Present State of the British Court,

This Office was instituted by K. James I. for the more solemn and honourable reception of Ambassadors and Strangers of Quality, whom he introduces into the Presence. The Badge of Office is a Gold Chain and Medal, having on one side an Emblem of Peace, with K. James's Motto, and on the reverse the Emblem of War, with Dieu & Mondroit [sic]. He is always suppos'd to be a Person of good Address, and Master of Languages. He is constantly attending at Court, and has under him an Assistant, Master, or Deputy, who holds his Place during the King's Pleasure. There is also a third Officer call'd Marshall of the Ceremonies, whose Business is to [re]cieve and distribute the Master's Orders, or the Deputy's, for the Service; but without their Order can do nothing. (fn. 1)

The offices of master, assistant master and marshal of the ceremonies were in the gift of the Crown, appointments being embodied in letters patent under the great seal. At the Restoration in 1660 Sir Balthazar Gerbier had a grant of the office of master while Sir Charles Cotterell had a grant of that of assistant master together with a reversionary interest in the mastership itself. Gerbier was unable to secure the office and was formally suspended in December 1660. Cotterell was admitted in June 1660 and received a grant by letters patent in the following February. (fn. 2)

Cotterell continued to receive the remuneration attached to the office of assistant master until 1668 when this was revived as a distinct office. Promotion from assistant to master was usual and in three instances assistants received reversionary grants of the principal office. (fn. 3) The office of assistant master was held concurrently with that of marshal of the ceremonies 1710–40, 1745–58 and invariably from 1761.

The master received the aforementioned chain and medal, worth £60, and a salary of £200 to which an allowance of £100 was added in 1686. The assistant was paid 6s 8d a day. The marshal received £100. (fn. 4)

Master 1660–1837

1660 June Cotterell, Sir C.
1686 30 Dec. Cotterell, C.L.
1710 13 July Cotterell, C.
1758 11 Nov. Cotterell Dormer, C.
1770 Oct. Cotterell Dormer, C.
1796 16 Dec. Cotterell, S.
1818 27 May Chester, Sir R.

Assistant Master 1668–1837

1668 23 Mar. Cotterell, C.
1672 29 June Cotterell, C.L.
1686 30 Dec. Dormer, J.
1699 27 Jan. Cotterell, C.
1707 6 May Cotterell, C.
1710 14 Aug. Inglis, J.
1740 13 May Cotterell, C.
1758 11 Nov. Cotterell, S.
1796 16 Dec. Chester, R.
1818 27 May Chester, R.
1822 21 Sept. Crosbie, W.J.
1823 21 Mar. Mash, H.T.B.
1825 5 Dec. Hyde, T.S.

Marshal 1660–1837

1660 20 July Andros, A.
1669 15 Mar. Samborne, T.
1673 2 May Le Bas, R.
1704 2 Feb. Inglis, J.
1740 13 May Cotterell, R.
1745 19 Apr. Cotterell, C.
1759 19 Jan. Wright, T.
1761 22 Apr. Cotterell, S.
1796 16 Dec. Chester, R.
1818 27 May Chester, R.
1822 21 Sept. Crosbie, W.J.
1823 21 Mar. Mash, H.T.B.
1825 5 Dec. Hyde, T.S.

Assistant Marshal 1699–?

1699 15 Sept. Le Bas, C.S.


  • 1. PSBC, pp. 34–5; see also Beattie, p. 48.
  • 2. C 66/2891, gt. to Gerbier 10 May 1641; CSPD 1641–3, p. 66; Docquets of Letters Patent passed under the Great Seal of Charles I 1642–6, ed. W.H. Black (1837), p. 403; CSPD 1660–1, p. 415; C 66/2999, gt. to Cotterell 13 Feb. 1661.
  • 3. Gts. to Charles Cotterell 19 May 1675 (C 66/3168), John Dormer 7 June 1690 (C 66/3337), Charles Cotterell 27 Jan. 1699 and 12 Sept. 1702 (C 66/3337, 3435).
  • 4. LC 3/24, f. 15; CTB VII, 827; Beattie, p. 210. The master was also the frequent recipient of gifts from departing ambassadors