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The Lord High Constable of England is the seventh of the Great Officers of State, ranking beneath the Lord Great Chamberlain and above the Earl Marshal. His office is now called out of abeyance only for coronations. The Lord High Constable was originally the commander of the royal armies and the Master of the Horse. He was also, in conjunction with the Earl Marshal, president of the Court of Chivalry or Court of Honour. In feudal times, martial law was administered in the court of the Lord High Constable.

The constableship was granted as a grand serjeanty with the Earldom of Hereford by the Empress Matilda to Miles of Gloucester, and was carried by his heiress to the Bohuns, Earls of Hereford and Essex. They had a surviving male heir, and still have heirs male, but due to the power of the monarchy the constableship was irregularly given to the Staffords, Dukes of Buckingham; and on the attainder of Edward Stafford, the third Duke, in the reign of King Henry VIII, it became merged into the Crown. Since that point it has not existed as a separate office, except as a temporary appointment for the Coronation of a monarch; in other circumstances the Earl Marshal exercises the traditional duties of the office.[1]

The Lacys and Verduns were hereditary constables of Ireland from the 12th to the 14th century; and the Hays, Earls of Erroll, have been hereditary Lord High Constables of Scotland from early in the 14th century.[2]

Lords High Constable of England, 1139–1521

A cousin was alive who was not granted the titles due to him and his heirs: Gilbert de Bohun, 8th Earl of Hereford, 7th Earl of Essex and 3rd Earl of Northamptondied 1381

Lords High Constable of England, 1522–present

At this point, the office merged with the Crown and was revived only for coronations. It was held at coronations by the following individuals:

Name Year Notes Sources
The Marquess of Dorset 1547
The Earl of Arundel 1553, 1559
The Earl of Worcester 1603
The Duke of Buckingham 1626
The Earl of Northumberland 1661
The Duke of Grafton 1685
The Duke of Ormonde 1689
The Duke of Bedford 1702
The Duke of Montagu 1714
The Duke of Richmond and Duke of Lennox 1727
The Duke of Bedford 1761
Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington 1821 coronation of King George IV
1831 coronation of King William IV and Queen Adelaide
1838 coronation of Queen Victoria
The Duke of Fife 1902 coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra
1911 coronation of King George V and Queen Mary
The Marquess of Crewe 1937 coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
Field Marshal The Viscount Alanbrooke 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II


  1. ^ Slater, Stephen (2002). The Complete Book of Heraldry. Anness Publishing. p. 172. ISBN 0-7548-1062-3. 
  2. ^ Alistair, Bruce (2002). Keepers of the Kingdom. Cassell. pp. 60–61. ISBN 0-304-36201-8. 

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.