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from L&M Companion
Established in its modern form under Henry VIII at about the same time as the Navy Board, it was responsible until 1855 for the manufacture and supply of munitions to both army and navy. It consisted of a Master (the equivalent of the Navy Tresurer) and a board of officers similar to the Principal Officers of the Navy and similarly charged with the duty of mutual supervision--the Lieutenant Surveyor, Clerk Storekeeper, Clerk of deliveries and (after 1670) Treasurer. In 1664-70 and 1679-82 their work was performed by commissioners. The offices and principal storehouses were in the Tower where many of the officers had official lodgings. By this time much of the 'materiel' was manufactured elsewhere than the Tower, in gunpowder facyories and gun foundaries.

In common with other departments in the late 17th century--such as the Treasury and Pepys's Navy Office and Admiralty--the Ordnance was to a significent extent, though not completely, reformed under the pressure of increased business. It gew in size--from 9 clerks in 1660 to 38 in 1703, and from 175 technical officers in 1675 to around 450 under Anne--and at the same time improved efficiency. Pepys greatly admired its methods. The Commissioners of 1664-70 began a process whereby contractors were paid 'in course', salaries were substituted for fees and life-tenures were abolished. From 1667 the office assumed responsibility for all fortifications in the kingdom. The Instuctions of 1683 issued by Lord Dartmouth, the Master, codified new and old practices.

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