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The Groom Porter was an office at the royal court of the monarch of Britain, who had "the Inspection of the King's Lodgings, and takes care that they are provided with Tables, Chairs, Firing, &c. As also to provide Cards, Dice, &c. when there is playing at Court: To decide Disputes which arise in Gaming". He was also responsible for "oversight of common Billiards Tables, common Bowling Grounds, Dicing Houses, Gaming Houses and Common tennis Courts and power of Licensing the same within the Citys of London and Westminster or Borough of Southwark."[1]

The title may originally have referred to the keeper of the king's furnishings in his bedchamber. It was a position in the royal household, and therefore had certain privileges associated with it.[2] In 1702 the remuneration was raised to £680 per year, which it remained until it was abolished with other sinecure offices at court in 1782.[1] Eventually, the term became used for the owner, or operator of a gaming hall.[3]

List of Groom Porters

Before 1660


See also


  1. ^ a b c 'Hunting, sporting and gaming: Groom Porters and Masters of the Tennis Courts', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (revised): Court Officers, 1660-1837 (2006), pp. 224–225. porter. Date accessed: 7 November 2008.
  2. ^ Definition of Groom porter
  3. ^ Aske the "Groom Porter"
  4. ^ Will of Nicholas Fortescue, Groom Porter of the King's Chamber, Westminster, Middlesex (P.C.C. 1549, Populwell quire).
  5. ^ G.K. Fortescue, 'Fortescue, Sir Nicholas, the elder (1575?–1633), chamberlain of the exchequer,' Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), Vol. 20 (Wikisource).
  6. ^ J.G. Nichols (ed.), The Diary of Henry Machyn, Camden Society Old Series XLII (London 1848), pp. 108–114. Machyn calls him 'master Lecknolle'.
  7. ^ 'Reign of Mary, XXII: Letter of Robert Swift to the Marquess of Shrewsbury, 22 June 1556', in E. Lodge, Illustrations of British History, Biography and Manners, 2nd Edition, 3 vols (John Chidley, London 1838), I, pp. 265–68 (Internet Archive), citing source: Talbot Papers, Vol. P, fol. 279.

3 Annotations

Terry F  •  Link

The Groom-Porter was a title granted by the king of England to the official in charge of organizing gambling in the Tudor court. Later, he also regulated English gaming halls. Eventually, the term became used for the owner, or operator of a gaming hall.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

L&M: An office of the Lord Steward's department of the King's Household, who supervised and received the profits of the gaming allowed there during the twelve days of Christmas, in which the King himself often took part. (The office -- at this time held by Sir Richard Hobart -- was abolished in 1783.) Play rook place both in the Privy Chamber and in the Groom-Porter's lodgings. Pepys visited the Groom-Porter's on 1 January 1668; Evelyn on 6 January 1662 and 8 January 1558. J. Addison, Hist. gambling in Engl., pp. 41+; Evelyn, iii. 308, n. 4. This officer also supervised the betting when the court went to the horse-races: see Shadwell, True Widow, V. 2.

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



  • Jan