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The post of Lord High Treasurer or Lord Treasurer was an English government position and has been a
British government ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal coat of arms of t ...
position since the Acts of Union of 1707. A holder of the post would be the third-highest-ranked
Great Officer of State Government in Middle Ages, medieval monarchies generally comprised the king's companions, later becoming the Royal Household, from which the officers of state arose, initially having household and government duties. Later some of these offi ...
in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
, below the Lord High Steward and the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. The Lord High Treasurer functions as the head of His Majesty's Treasury. The office has, since the resignation of Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury in 1714, been vacant. Although the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state in the British Isles that existed between 1801 and 1922, when it included all of Ireland. It was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the Kingdom of Great B ...
was created in 1801, it was not until the Consolidated Fund Act 1816 that the separate offices of Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain and
Lord High Treasurer of Ireland The Lord High Treasurer of Ireland was the head of the Exchequer of Ireland, chief financial officer of the Kingdom of Ireland. The designation ''High'' was added in 1695. After the Acts of Union 1800 created the United Kingdom of Great Britain a ...
were united into one office as the 'Lord High Treasurer of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland' on 5 January 1817. Section 2 of the Consolidated Fund Act 1816 also provides that "whenever there shall not be Lord High Treasurer of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland it shall ... be lawful for His Majesty, by
letters patent Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) (plurale tantum, always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch, President (government title), president or other head of state, genera ...
under the Great Seal of Great Britain, to appoint Commissioners for executing the Offices of Treasurer of the Exchequer of Great Britain and Lord High Treasurer of Ireland". These are the
Lords Commissioners of the Treasury In the United Kingdom there are at least six Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury, serving as a Government agency, commission for the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer, Treasurer of the Exchequer. The board consists of the First Lord o ...
. In modern times, by convention, the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury include the
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the ...
, usually serving as the
First Lord of the Treasury The first lord of the Treasury is the head of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer in the United Kingdom, and is by convention also the prime minister. This office is not equivalent to t ...
and the
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
, serving as the Second Lord of the Treasury. Other members of the government, usually whips in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
, are appointed to serve as the Junior Lords Commissioners of the Treasury.


Origins

The English Treasury seems to have come into existence around 1126, during the reign of Henry I, as the financial responsibilities were separated from the rest of the job that evolved into
Lord Great Chamberlain The Lord Great Chamberlain of England is the sixth of the Great Officers of State (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State, ranking beneath the Lord Privy Seal, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal and above the Lord High Constable of England, Lord Hi ...
. The Treasury was originally a section of the Royal Household with custody of the King's money. In 1216, a Treasurer was appointed to take control of the Treasury in
Winchester Winchester is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city in Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government Districts of England, district, at the western end of the South Downs Nation ...
. The Treasurer was also an officer of the
Exchequer In the civil service of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, co ...
, and supervised the royal accounts. It was in the 16th century, the office's title of ''King's Treasurer'' developed into ''Lord High Treasurer''. By Tudor times, the Lord High Treasurer had achieved a place among the Great Officers of State, behind the
Lord Chancellor The lord chancellor, formally the lord high chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking traditional minister among the Great Officers of State (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State in Scotland and England in the United Kingdom, no ...
and above the Master of the Horse. Under the Treason Act 1351 it is
treason Treason is the crime of attacking a state authority to which one owes allegiance. This typically includes acts such as participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplo ...
to kill him. The office of Lord High Treasurer is distinct from that of Treasurer of the Exchequer. The Lord High Treasurer was appointed by the delivery of a white staff to the appointee, and the Treasurer of the Exchequer was appointed at His Majesty's pleasure by letters patent under the
Great Seal of the Realm The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom (known prior to the Treaty of Union 1707, Treaty of Union of 1707 as the Great Seal of England; and from then until the Acts of Union 1800, Union of 1801 as the Great Seal of Grea ...
. However, when the Treasury was held by an individual, he was appointed to both offices. It is the office of Treasurer of the Exchequer that is put into commission, not the office of Lord High Treasurer. When the office of Treasurer of the Exchequer is put into commission, the office of Lord High Treasurer is left vacant. During the sixteenth century, the Lord High Treasurer was often considered the most important official of the government, and became a ''de facto'' Prime Minister. Exemplifying the power of the Lord High Treasurer is
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley (13 September 15204 August 1598) was an English statesman, the chief adviser of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State (England), Secretary of State (1550–1553 and 1558–1572) a ...
, who served in the post from 1572 to 1598. During his tenure, he dominated the administration under
Elizabeth I Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was List of English monarchs, Queen of England and List of Irish monarchs, Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Elizabeth was the last of the five House of Tudor monarchs and is ...
.Loades, D., ''The Cecils: Privilege and Power behind the throne'', The National Archives, 2007.


List


Commission system

A system exists for appointing Lords Commissioners to the Treasury Board, which has hardly varied. The
First Lord of the Treasury The first lord of the Treasury is the head of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury exercising the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer in the United Kingdom, and is by convention also the prime minister. This office is not equivalent to t ...
is the
Prime Minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
, and the Second Lord of the Treasury is the
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Ch ...
, who has inherited most of the functional financial responsibilities of the Lord High Treasurer. Next rank the Junior Lords of the Treasury who, though theoretically members of the Treasury Board, in practice serve as government whips under the
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury is the official title of the most senior Whip (politics), whip of the governing party in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Today, any official links between HM Treasury, the Treasury and this off ...
(
Chief Whip The Chief Whip is a political leader whose task is to enforce the Whip (politics), whipping system, which aims to ensure that legislators who are members of a political party attend and vote on legislation as the party leadership prescribes. ...
).


See also

* List of Lord High Treasurers * List of Lords Commissioners of the Treasury


References


Citations


Sources

* {{Admiralty and Marine Affairs Office Monarchy and money