Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (Revised), Court Officers, 1660-1837. Originally published by University of London, London, 2006.
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Department of the Master of the Horse, or Stables
Master of the Horse 1660–1837
The Master of the Horse is esteem'd the third great Officer at Court, giving Precedence only to the Lord Steward, and Lord Chamberlain of the Household. To him is committed the Charge of ordering and disposing of all Matters relating to the King's Stables, Races, Breed of Horses, as he had anciently of all the Posts in England. He hath the Power of commanding the Equerries, and all other Officers and Tradesmen employ'd in the King's Stables; to all which he gives by his warrant to the Avener, the Oath of Allegiance, &c. for the true and faithful Discharge of their Duty. He has the Charge of the Revenues appointed for the Service and Maintenance of the King's Horses, for the Expence of the Stables, for Coaches, Litters, Sumpter Horses, &c. He has also the Privilege, which no other Servant of the Crown hath, of making use of any Horses, Pages, or Footmen, belonging to the King's Stables; so that his Coaches, Horses, and Attendants, are the King's, and have the King's Arms and Liveries. At any solemn Cavalcade he has the Honour to ride next behind the King, and leads the Horse of State. (fn. 1)
The master of the horse was appointed by the Crown which issued a warrant to the lord steward directing the swearing of the individual concerned. Appointments were customarily embodied in letters patent under the great seal which granted the office during pleasure except in the case of the Duke of Buckingham who received a grant for life in 1668. During the vacancies of the office in 1679–82 and 1702 commissioners for the stables were appointed. In the case of the Duke of Richmond, appointed in 1682, it was provided that he should not execute the office in person until he reached the age of fourteen, the duties in the meantime being undertaken by three commissioners. The office was executed by two commissioners 1712–14 and 1715–17 and by one commissioner 1717–27.
The wages of the master of the horse, originally amounting to £1,460, were reduced to £500 in 1679 but raised to £1,200 in 1685. (fn. 2) In 1702 the remuneration consisted of wages of £66 13s 4d (representing the old patent salary of 100 marks) and board wages of £1,200 making a total of £1,266 13s 4d. In addition, he was entitled to lodgings, plate worth £400 and, at the death of the Sovereign, his pick of the royal horses. (fn. 3) In 1812 the salary was fixed at £3,350. (fn. 4) The commissioners who served between 1715 and 1727 received salaries of £800 each, plus lodgings. (fn. 5)