The LORD-LIEUTENANT (/lɛfˈtɛnənt/ ) is the British monarch's
personal representative in each county of the United Kingdom.
Historically, the Lord-Lieutenant was responsible for organising the
county's militia but it is today a largely ceremonial position,
usually awarded to a retired notable person in the county.
* 1 Origins
* 1.2 Ireland
* 2 19th century
* 3 20th century
* 4 Present day
* 4.1 Duties
* 4.2 Deputies
* 4.3 Remuneration
* 4.4 Uniform
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
* 6 Forms of address for the Lord-Lieutenant
* 7 Colonial equivalents
* 8 Approximate equivalents in other countries
* 9 See also
* 10 Notes
* 11 References
* 12 External links
ENGLAND AND WALES
Lieutenants were first appointed to a number of English counties by
King Henry VIII in the 1540s, when the military functions of the
sheriff were handed over to him. He raised and was responsible for the
efficiency of the local militia units of the county, and afterwards of
the yeomanry , and volunteers. He was commander of these forces, whose
officers he appointed. These commissions were originally of temporary
duration, and only when the situation required the local militia to be
specially supervised and well prepared; often where invasion by
France might be expected.
Lieutenancies soon became more organised, probably in the reign of
his successor King Edward VI , their establishment being approved by
the English parliament in 1550. However, it was not until the threat
of invasion by the forces of Spain in 1585 that lieutenants were
appointed to all counties and counties corporate and became in effect
permanent. Although some counties were left without lieutenants during
the 1590s, following the defeat of the
Spanish Armada , the office
continued to exist, and was retained by King James I even after the
end of the Anglo-Spanish War .
The office was abolished under the Commonwealth , but was
re-established following the Restoration under the City of London
Militia Act 1662 , which declared that:
he King's most Excellent Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, shall and
may from Time to Time, as Occasion shall require, issue forth several
Commissions of Lieutenancy to such Persons as his Majesty, his Heirs
and Successors, shall think fit to be his Majesty's Lieutenants for
the several and respective Counties, Cities and Places of
Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed.
Although not explicitly stated, from that date lieutenants were
appointed to "counties at large", with their jurisdiction including
the counties corporate within the parent county. For example,
lieutenants of Devon in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
appointed deputy lieutenants to the City of Exeter, and were sometimes
described as the "Lieutenant of Devon and Exeter" The one exception
Haverfordwest , to which a lieutenant continued to be appointed
until 1974. The origin of this anomaly may have lain in the former
palatine status of Pembrokeshire.
City of London
City of London was uniquely given a commission of lieutenancy,
and was exempt from the authority of the lieutenant of Middlesex. The
Constable of the Tower of London and the Warden of the Cinque Ports
were ex-officio lieutenants for the Tower Hamlets and Cinque Ports
respectively, which were treated as counties in legislation regarding
lieutenancy and militia affairs.
The official title of the office at this time was His or Her
Majesty's "Lieutenant for the county of x", but as almost all
office-holders were peers of the realm , they were referred to as
An Act to make the
Militia of this Kingdom more useful (Geo 2, c.9)
was passed by the
Parliament of Ireland
Parliament of Ireland in 1715. This provided for the
issuing of commissions to appoint persons as "his Majesty's lieutenant
or lieutenants, governor or governors, and commissioners of array for
the several and respective counties, cities, and places of Ireland".
The lieutenants were empowered to embody militia regiments.
In 1921, with the establishment of Northern Ireland, lord-lieutenants
continued to be appointed through the
Northern Ireland to
the six counties and two county boroughs. In 1973 the counties and
county boroughs were abolished as local government units in Northern
Ireland, and lord-lieutenants are now appointed directly by the Queen
to "counties and county boroughs... as defined for local government
purposes immediately before 1 October 1973".
Although Colin, Earl of Balcarres was appointed
Lord Lieutenant of
Fife in 1688, and lieutenants were appointed to a few counties from
about 1715, it was not until 1794 that permanent lieutenancies were
established by Royal Warrant . By the
Militia Act 1797 , the
lieutenants appointed "for the Counties, Stewartries, Cities, and
Places" were given powers to raise and command county militia units.
The Lord Provosts of
Edinburgh , Glasgow,
Aberdeen , and
by virtue of office, also the Lord-Lieutenant of their respective
While in their lieutenancies, Lord-Lieutenants are among the few
Scotland officially permitted to fly the banner of the
Royal Arms of
Scotland , or "
The Lion Rampant " as it is more commonly
Militia Act 1802 provided for the appointment of lieutenants to
"Lieutenants for the Counties, Ridings, and Places" in
Wales, and gave them command of the county militia. In the case of
towns or cities which were counties of themselves , the "chief
magistrate" (meaning the mayor, chief bailiff or other head of the
corporation) had the authority to appoint deputy lieutenants in the
absence of an appointment of a lieutenant by the crown.
The Regulation of the Forces Act 1871 removed the lieutenant as
head of the county militia, as the jurisdiction, duties and command
exercised by the lieutenant were revested in the crown, but the power
of recommending for first appointments was reserved to the lieutenant.
Militia Act 1882 revested the jurisdiction of the lieutenants
in the crown.
The lieutenancies were reestablished on a new basis by Section 29 of
the 1882 Act which stated that "Her Majesty shall from time to time
appoint lieutenants for the several counties in the United Kingdom".
Counties for lieutenancy purposes were also redefined as "a county at
large, with the exception that each riding of the county of York shall
be a separate county". The text of the letters patent appointing
lieutenants under the act stated they were to be:
...Our Lieutenant of and in the County of X and of all cities
boroughs liberties places incorporated and privileged and other places
whatsoever within the said county and the limits and precincts of the
This was a formal recognition of the situation that had existed since
1662 that the lieutenancies for the majority of counties corporate in
England were held jointly with their associated county—for example a
lieutenant was now appointed for "the County of Gloucester, and the
City and County of Gloucester, and the City and County of City of
Haverfordwest was permitted to retain a lieutenant while the Tower
Cinque Ports were to be continue to be regarded as
counties for lieutenancy purposes.
From 1889 lieutenancy counties in
Wales were to
correspond to groupings of administrative counties and county boroughs
established by the
Local Government Act 1888 . The creation of a new
County of London
County of London also led to the ending of the Tower Hamlets
lieutenancy. The Act also extinguished the lieutenancy of the Cinque
Section 69 of the
Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 realigned the
lieutenancy counties with the new administrative counties created by
the Act. The one exception was
County Tipperary , which although
administered by two county councils , was to remain united for
lieutenancy. In contrast to the legislation in
England and Wales, each
county borough was to have its own lieutenant, and those counties
corporate not made county boroughs were abolished. The effect of this
was to create a lieutenant for the county boroughs of Belfast and
Londonderry , and to abolish those for the city of
Kilkenny , borough
Drogheda and town of
The office of lieutenant was honorary, and held during the royal
pleasure, but virtually for life. Appointment to the office is by
letters-patent under the great seal . Usually, though not necessarily,
the person appointed lieutenant was also appointed custos rotulorum or
keeper of the rolls. Appointments to the county bench of magistrates
were usually made on the recommendation of the lieutenant.
Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 established County
Territorial Force Associations, of which the lieutenant was to be
head, styled president of the county association . It restated the
combination of counties and counties corporate as lieutenancy
In 1921, with the establishment of
Northern Ireland , lieutenants
continued to be appointed through the
Northern Ireland to
the six counties and two county boroughs. The creation of the Irish
Free State in the following year saw the remaining county
lieutenancies in Ireland abolished. In 1973 the counties and county
boroughs were abolished as local government units in Northern Ireland
, and lord-lieutenants are now appointed directly by the sovereign to
"counties and county boroughs... as defined for local government
purposes immediately before 1 October 1973". In 1975 the term
lord-lieutenant officially replaced that of lieutenant.
Local Government reform in
England in 1965 led to the appointment of
Greater London and
Huntingdon and Peterborough , and
the abolition of those of the counties of London ,
A more fundamental reform of local government throughout
Greater London ) created a new structure of
metropolitan, non-metropolitan and Welsh counties in 1974. Section 218
Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 1972 that established the new system
stated: "Her Majesty shall appoint a lord-lieutenant for each county
Wales and for Greater London..." The Act appears to be
the first statutory use of the term "lord-lieutenant" for lieutenants
Existing lords lieutenant were assigned to one of the corresponding
new counties wherever possible. Where this could not be done, the
existing office-holder became a lieutenant of a county, junior to the
lord-lieutenant. For example, the
Lord Lieutenant of Montgomeryshire
Lord Lieutenant of Powys , with those of Breconshire and
Radnorshire each being designated as simply "Lieutenant of Powys".
This measure was temporary, and no lieutenants have been appointed in
this way since 1974, although the power still exists.
In 1975 counties ceased to be used for local government purposes in
Scotland . The
Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 replaced the
counties with regions, and each region was to have one or more
lord-lieutenants appointed. The areas to which they were appointed
approximated to the counties and were based and were defined in terms
of the new local government districts.
The Lieutenancy areas of the
United Kingdom as of 2012
The uniform of an English Lord-Lieutenant includes a rose-and-crown
badge on the cap and shoulder-boards
In 1996 Scottish regions and districts were abolished on further
local government reorganisation, and since that date lord-lieutenants
have been appointed to "lieutenancy areas" , roughly equivalent to the
old Scottish counties.
Partial reform of local government in
England since 1995 has led to
the creation of so-called ceremonial counties to which
lord-lieutenants are now appointed. The
Lieutenancies Act 1997 is the
most recent piece of primary legislation dealing with Lieutenancies in
England and includes the definitive list of the current areas used.
Ceremonial counties may comprise combinations of county council areas
and unitary authorities.
Since the local government re-organisation of 1996 in
lord-lieutenants are now appointed to "preserved counties" , i.e. the
counties used for administrative purposes from 1974 to 1996.
City of London
City of London was unaffected by changes introduced since 1882.
It has a Commission of Lieutenancy rather than a single
lord-lieutenant. The head of the commission is the Lord Mayor of the
City of London
City of London .
Lords-Lieutenant are the monarch's representatives in their
lieutenancy. It is their foremost duty to uphold the dignity of the
Crown, and in so doing they seek to promote a spirit of co-operation
and good atmosphere by the time they give to voluntary and benevolent
organisations and by the interest they take in the business and social
life of their counties.
The modern responsibilities of Lords-Lieutenant include:
* Arranging visits of members of the royal family and escorting
* Presenting medals and awards on behalf of the sovereign, and
advising on honours nominations;
* Participating in civic, voluntary and social activities within the
* Acting as liaison with local units of the
Royal Navy , Royal
Marines , Army ,
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force and their associated cadet forces;
* Leading the local magistracy as chairman of the Advisory Committee
on Justices of the Peace ; and
* Chairing the local Advisory Committee for the Appointment of the
General Commissioners of
Income Tax , a tribunal which hears appeals
against decisions made by the
HM Revenue and Customs
HM Revenue and Customs on a variety of
different tax related matters.
As the sovereign's representative in his or her county, the
Lord-Lieutenant remains non-political and does not hold office in any
political party. They are appointed for life, although the customary
age of retirement is 75 and the sovereign may remove them.
The Lord-Lieutenant is supported by a Vice Lord-Lieutenant and Deputy
Lieutenants that he or she appoints. The Vice Lord-Lieutenant takes
over when the Lord-Lieutenant is abroad, ill, or otherwise
incapacitated. The Lord-Lieutenant appoints between 30 and 40 deputy
lieutenants depending on the county's population.
They are unpaid, but receive minimal allowances for secretarial help,
mileage allowance and a driver. Male Lords-Lieutenant receive an
allowance for the ceremonial uniform, worn when receiving members of
the royal family and on other formal occasions. There is no uniform
for a female Lord-Lieutenant, but there is a badge which can be worn
on ceremonial occasions.
Lord Lieutenant, full dress uniform (early 20th century)
Since at least the eighteenth century a military-style uniform has
been worn by male Lieutenants (appropriate to the military origins of
the post). Since 1831 this has been analogous to the uniform worn by a
General Staff Officer, but with silver lace in place of the gold worn
by Regular officers. Over time, the design of the uniform changed in
line with changes made to army uniform. At present, it is a dark blue
uniform in the style of a General Officer's Army No. 1 dress (but with
buttons, shoulder-boards, sash etc. in silver rather than gold). A cap
is worn, and a sword with a steel scabbard. The badge on the cap etc.
varies depending on where the Lieutenant's County is situated: a rose
is worn in England, shamrocks in Northern Ireland, a thistle in
Scotland and Prince-of-
Wales feathers in Wales. The uniform for a male
vice lord-lieutenant and for deputy lieutenants is of a similar style,
but with features to distinguish it from that of a lord-lieutenant.
LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was the head of the British
administration in Ireland until the foundation of the Irish Free State
FORMS OF ADDRESS FOR THE LORD-LIEUTENANT
* Written: '(Title and name), Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant'
* Salutation: 'Dear Lord-Lieutenant'
* In a Speech: 'My Lord-Lieutenant'
* In conversation: '(Title and name)' or 'Lord-Lieutenant'.
* Plural: 'Lord-Lieutenants', although the historic form of
'Lords-Lieutenant' frequently appears.
In the colonies of the English Empire, and subsequently the British
Empire, the duties of Lords Lieutenant were generally performed by the
commander-in-chief or the governor . Both offices may have been
occupied by the same person.
By way of an example, this is still the case in Britain's second, and
oldest remaining, colony,
Bermuda , where the Royal Navy\'s
headquarters, main base, and dockyard for the North America and West
Indies Station was established following independence of the United
States of America. The colony had raised militia and volunteer forces
since official settlement in 1612 (with a troop-of-horse added later),
and a small force of regular infantry from 1701 to 1783. A large
regular army garrison was built up after 1794, and the reserve forces
faded away following the conclusion of the American War of 1812 as the
local government lost interest in paying for their upkeep. From this
point until the 1960s, governors were almost exclusively senior
officers of the Royal Artillery or Royal Engineers who were also
military commanders-in-chief (and initially also vice admirals).
Attempts to rekindle the militia without a
Militia Act or funds from
the colonial government were made throughout the century under the
authorisation of the
Governor and Commander-in-Chief, but none proved
lasting. The colonial government was finally compelled to raise
militia and volunteer forces (the
Militia Artillery and the
Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps ) by act in the 1890s (the
Bermuda Volunteer Engineers , and
were added at later dates), and these fell under the
Commander-in-Chief, as well as under operational control of his
junior, the brigadier in charge of the
Bermuda Command (or Bermuda
Garrison ), which included the regular as well as the part-time
military (as opposed to naval) forces in the colony. Although the
Royal Naval and the regular army establishments have been withdrawn
from Bermuda, the
Bermuda remains the Commander-in-Chief
(though most recent office holders have not been career army officers)
of the Royal
Bermuda Regiment (a 1965 amalgam of the BMA and BVRC,
which had both been reorganised in line with the Territorial Army
First World War
First World War ).
APPROXIMATE EQUIVALENTS IN OTHER COUNTRIES
Italy , the role of Prefect (préfet in French,
prefetto in Italian) is different to that of Lord-Lieutenant, as the
regional and departmental prefects of
France are responsible for
delivering as well as control functions of public services. In Sweden
Norway "Fylkesmann", the county governor is
responsible for administrative control functions of services delivered
and decisions made by local and county municipalities, as well as
representing the king in the county. In the
Netherlands , King\'s
Commissioner (Commissaris van de Koning in Dutch) is appointed by the
monarch, but unlike a Lord-Lieutenant, belongs to a political party.
Ceremonial counties of England
Ceremonial counties of England
* Lieutenancy areas of
* Preserved counties of
Lists of Lord Lieutenancies
Lists of Lord Lieutenancies
List of the Lords Lieutenant of the United Kingdom
* ^ "Definition: Lieutenant". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 31
* ^ A B C Webb, Sidney ; Webb, Beatrice (1906). "1: The Parish and
the County". English Local Government from the Revolution to the
Municipal Corporations Act. London: Longman\'s Green and Co. pp.
* ^ Historical Manuscripts Commission (1916). "The city of Exeter:
Commissions, pardons etc". Report on the Records of the City of
Exeter. British History Online. Archived from the original on
2011-05-26. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
* ^ Henderson, Thomas Finlayson (1893). "Lindsay, Colin". In Lee,
Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography . 33. London: Smith, Elder &
Co. pp. 286–288.
Militia Act 1797 (37 Geo.3, C.103)
Militia Act 1802 (1802 c.90)
* ^ Regulation of the Forces Act 1871 (1871 c.86) section 6
Militia Act 1882 (1881 c.49) section 5
* ^ Anson, William (1907). The Law and Custom of the Constitution.
II: The Crown. Part I.
Oxford : University of
Oxford . p. 264.
* ^ Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907(7 Edw.7 C.9)
Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 (1973 c.36) section
* ^ The
Northern Ireland (Lieutenancy) Order 1975 S.I. 1975/156
* ^ Administration of Justice Act 1964 (1964 c.2) section 18
* ^ The Lord-Lieutenants Order 1975 (1975/428)
* ^ Text of The Lord-Lieutenants (Scotland) Order 1996, Statutory
Instrument 1996 No. 731 (S.83). as originally enacted or made within
the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk Last accessed:3 May 2001
* ^ Text of the
Lieutenancies Act 1997 (1997 c.23) as in force
today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from
* ^ Text of the Preserved Counties (Amendment to Boundaries)
(Wales) Order 2003 as originally enacted or made within the United
Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk Last accessed:3 May 2011
* ^ Mansfield, A., Ceremonial Costume. London: A & C Black, 1980.
Uniform as worn prior to the Second World War, illustrated in Dress
Worn at Court, Lord Chamberlain's Office, 1921.
* ^ "Lord-Lieutenants". The Royal Household. Retrieved 29 August
Governor of Bermuda. Official website of the Government of
* ^ The Good Governor. Biographic article on Major General Sir
William Reid , KCB, FRS,
Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Bermuda
from 1839 to 1846. The Bermudian magazine
* This article incorporates text from a publication now in the
public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lieutenant".
Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.