Chamberlain of Scotland

Holders of the office of Lord Chamberlain of Scotland are known from about 1124. It was ranked by King Malcolm as the third great Officer of State, called Camerarius Domini Regis, and had a salary of £200 per annum allotted to him. He anciently collected the revenues of the Crown, at least before Scotland had a Treasurer, of which office there is no vestige of until the restoration of King James I when he disbursed the money necessary for the maintenance of the King's Household.

The Great Chamberlain had jurisdiction for judging of all crimes committed within burgh, and of the crime of forestalling; and was in effect Justice-General over the burghs, and held Chamberlain-ayrs every year for that purpose; the form whereof is set down in Iter Camerarii, the Chamberlain-ayr. He was a supreme judge and his Decrees could not be questioned by any inferior judicatory. His sentences were to be put into execution by the baillies of burghs. He also settled the prices of provisions within burghs, and the fees of the workmen in the Mint.

The Chamberlain lost his financial functions after 1425 to the Treasurer. The position was vacant from 1558 to 1565 and again from 1569. It was occupied in 1580 for the cousin of James I, Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox, whose appearance as a Great Officer of State in 1581 is attributable to his personal standing with the king rather than his office. But following the Raid of Ruthven, August 24, 1582, the Great Chamberlain lost his supervision of the royal burghs.

Thereafter the office was held by successive Dukes of Lennox (heritably from 1603) until resigned to the Crown ad perpetuam remanentiam by the Duke of Richmond and Lennox in 1703, since which time no Great Chamberlain has been appointed. In 1711 a form of the office was revived in a Commission of Chamberlainry and Trade, which lapsed on the death of Queen Anne.

Lord Chamberlains


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