Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (Revised), Court Officers, 1660-1837. Originally published by University of London, London, 2006.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Pages of the Bedchamber 1660-c. 1822
The pages of the bedchamber originally waited
without Doors, at the Back-stairs; but now [c. 1720] they wait within the Bed-Chamber, where they take care that every thing be ready, especially during the time of the King's Dressing; fetch Water for the Grooms of the Bed-chamber, which the King is to use, and other necessaries.
These places were in the gift of the groom of the stole. (fn. 1) The procedures for swearing and admitting them to office were the same as those for the gentlemen of the bedchamber. (fn. 2) They were usually six in number. During the reign of Anne the holders of the offices were designated `pages of the backstairs'. After 1760 this description was applied to a distinct body of pages. (fn. 3) The pages of the bedchamber last occur in published lists in 1822. (fn. 4)
The pages received wages of £2 13s 4d and board wages of £77 6s 8d amounting to £80 a year. In addition, they were entitled to livery of £47, fees of honour which yielded about £17 per annum under George I; and vails and gratuities from aspirants at the backstairs which have been estimated at about £120 per annum. After 1725, they received a further £365 apiece in lieu of diet. (fn. 5) Between 1660 and 1702 one of the pages was appointed closet keeper at £200 a year. This post was held by Thomas Chiffinch 1660–6, William Chiffinch 1666–88 and Rudolph de Keine 1689–1702. (fn. 6)
Between 1672 and 1735 extra pages of the bedchamber were occasionally appointed.