Summary

See Wikipedia for Clerks of the Signet:

The Clerks of the Signet were English officials who played an intermediate role in the passage of letters patent through the seals. For most of the history of the position, four clerks were in office simultaneously.

3 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Signet and Privy Seal Offices

From as early as 1444 the use of the signet at an early stage on the passage of grants under the great seal was regulated by the Privy Council and also involved the Privy Seal Office. However, this system of a chain of official responsibility in the making of royal grants was not established by Parliament until the Clerks of the Signet and Privy Seal Act of 1535 laid down that all grants by the King (or in his name) should be brought to the Secretary or one of the clerks of the signet and that a warrant from a Clerk of the Signet to the Keeper of the Privy Seal, to be followed by one from a Clerk of the Privy Seal to the Keeper of the Great Seal, should be the authority in ordinary cases for affixing the great seal to a grant. A scale of fees for the clerks of the Signet and Privy Seal Offices was fixed by the act and provision was made for the payment of these fees in cases where the grant was passed by immediate warrant and did not go through the two offices.

The business of the Signet Office was performed by four clerks acting in person or by deputy. Their primary duty, upon receipt of a warrant under the royal sign manual countersigned by a Secretary of State (or the Treasury commissioners), was to draw out on parchment the king's bill which was sent to the Secretary of State for the royal sign manual. At some period it became necessary for the Attorney General or Solicitor General to prepare the bills in certain cases,such as creations of nobility, charters, commissions and patents for invention. When a king's bill was returned to the Signet Office duly signed, a transcript was made of it. The signet was affixed to this transcript, which was then sent to the Privy Seal Office and was known as the signet bill, being the authority for the writ of privy seal to the Lord Chancellor.

The Signet Office was abolished by the Great Seal Act of 1851 which substituted simpler forms for the passing of grants under the great seal for those previously in use. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/Search...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The Signet Office at the Restoration was in Whitehall Palace in the range of buildings (now part of the site of the Old War Office on the e. side of Whitehall) on the n. side of the 'great' (entry) court of the palace with rooms facing also on to the court beyond. (L&M Companion)

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Signet Office in the Encyclopedia Britannica online (partial entry)
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/54379...

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