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Lord High Steward

The position of Lord High Steward of England is the first of the Great Officers of State, ranking above the Lord Chancellor. The office has generally remained vacant since 1421, and is now an ad hoc office that is primarily ceremonial.

At coronations of the British monarch, the Lord High Steward bears the St. Edward's Crown. The Lord High Steward also presides during the trials of peers in the House of Lords. In general, but not invariably, the Lord Chancellor was appointed to act as Lord High Steward in the latter situation. The trial of peers by their peers in the House of Lords was abolished in 1948, although impeachment trials have not been abolished. There was a "Court of the Lord High Steward" which served this purpose when Parliament was not in session.

Although initially the position was largely an honorary one, over time it grew in importance until its holder became one of the most powerful men of the kingdom. From the late 12th century, the office was considered to be bound with the Earldom of Leicester. When the House of Lancaster ascended the throne in 1399, Henry IV made his second son, Thomas of Lancaster, Duke of Clarence, Lord High Steward. He held the post until his death in 1421.

The Lord High Steward of Ireland in contrast is a hereditary title, also known as the Hereditary Great Seneschal, vested in the Earl of Shrewsbury, Waterford and Talbot, who is the Premier Earl of Ireland, Chetwynd-Talbot.

Lord High Stewards of England, 1154–1421

Lord High Stewards of England, 1422–present

Incomplete before 1660.

Name Year Notes Sources
? 1429 coronation of Henry VI
The Earl of Devon 1445 coronation of Margaret of Anjou [1]
The Duke of Suffolk 1461 coronation of Edward IV [2]
? 1465 coronation of Elizabeth Woodville
The Duke of Buckingham 1478 trial of The Duke of Clarence
The Duke of Norfolk 1483 coronation of Richard III [3]
? 1485 coronation of Henry VII
The Duke of Bedford 1487 coronation of Elizabeth of York
The Earl of Oxford 1499 trial of The Earl of Warwick
The Duke of Norfolk 1503 trial of The Lord Dudley [3]
The Duke of Buckingham 1509 coronation of Henry VIII
The Duke of Norfolk 1521 trial of The Duke of Buckingham [3]
The Duke of Suffolk 1533 coronation of Anne Boleyn [4]
The Duke of Norfolk 1534 trial of The Lord Dacre [3]
The Duke of Norfolk 1536 trial of Anne Boleyn [3]
The Marquess of Exeter 1537 trial of The Lord Darcy
The Lord Audley of Walden 1538 trial of Lord Montagu and the Marquess of Exeter
The Lord Audley of Walden 1541 trial of The Lord Dacre
The Lord Russell 1547 coronation of Edward VI
The Marquess of Winchester 1551 trial of the Duke of Somerset [5]
The Duke of Norfolk 1553 trial of the Duke of Northumberland [3]
The Earl of Derby 1553 coronation of Mary I
The Earl of Arundel 1557 trial of Lord Stourton
The Earl of Arundel 1559 coronation of Elizabeth I [6]
The Marquess of Northampton 1559 trial of Lord Wentworth
The Earl of Shrewsbury 1571 trial of The Duke of Norfolk,
The Marquess of Winchester 1587 funeral of Mary, Queen of Scots [5]
The Earl of Derby 1589 trial of The Earl of Arundel and Surrey
The Lord Buckhurst 1601 trial of The Earl of Essex
The Earl of Nottingham 1603 coronation of James I
The Duke of Buckingham 1626 coronation of Charles I
The Lord Coventry 1631 trial of the Lord Audley (Earl of Castlehaven in Ireland) [7]
The Earl of Arundel and Surrey, 1641 trial of The Earl of Strafford
The Duke of Ormonde 1661 coronation of Charles II
The Earl of Clarendon
(Lord Chancellor)
1666 trial of The Lord Morley
The Lord Finch
(Lord Chancellor)
1676 trial of The Lord Cornwallis
trial of The Earl of Pembroke
1679 trial of The Earl of Danby
1679 the trial of The Earl of Powis, The Viscount Stafford, The Lord Arundell of Wardour, The Lord Petre, and The Lord Belasyse
1680 trial of The Viscount Stafford,
The Duke of Ormonde 1685 coronation of James II
The Lord Jeffreys
(Lord Chancellor)
1686 trial of The Lord Delamere
The Earl of Devonshire 1689 coronation of William III and Mary II
The Marquess of Carmarthen
(Lord President of the Council)
1693 trial of The Lord Mohun
The Lord Somers
(Lord Chancellor)
1699 trial of The Earl of Warwick, and of The Lord Mohun
The Duke of Devonshire 1702 coronation of Anne
The Duke of Grafton 1714 coronation of George I
The Lord Cowper
(Lord Chancellor)
1716 trial of The Earl of Derwentwater, The Lord Widdrington, The Earl of Nithsdale, The Earl of Carnwath, The Viscount Kenmure, and The Lord Nairne,
1716 trial of The Earl of Winton
1717 trial of The Earl of Oxford and Mortimer
The Lord King
(Lord Chancellor)
1725 trial of The Earl of Macclesfield
The Duke of Dorset 1727 coronation of George II
The Earl of Hardwicke
(Lord Chancellor)
1746 trial of The Earl of Cromartie, and The Lord Balmerino
1747 trial of The Lord Lovat
The Lord Henley
(Lord Keeper)
1760 trial of The Earl Ferrers
The Earl Talbot 1761 coronation of George III
The Earl of Northington
(Lord Chancellor)
1765 trial of The Duchess of Kingston,
The Lord Thurlow
(Lord Chancellor)
1788–93 trial of Warren Hastings
The Lord Loughborough
(Lord Chancellor)
1793–95 trial of Warren Hastings
The Lord Erskine
(Lord Chancellor)
1806 trial of The Viscount Melville
The Marquess of Anglesey 1821 coronation of George IV
The Duke of Hamilton 1831 coronation of William IV
1838 coronation of Victoria
The Lord Denman
(Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench)
1841 trial of The Earl of Cardigan
The Earl of Halsbury
(Lord Chancellor)
1901 trial of The Earl Russell
The Duke of Marlborough 1902 coronation of Edward VII [8]
The Duke of Northumberland 1911 coronation of George V [9]
The Earl of Durham 1911-12 Lord High Steward to King George V during his visit to India from 1911 to 1912 [10]
The Viscount Hailsham
(Lord Chancellor)
1935 trial of The Lord de Clifford:
the last trial of a peer in the Lords.
The Marquess of Salisbury 1937 coronation of George VI [11]
The Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II [12]


  1. ^ The Peerage 
  2. ^ "Suffolk 1448", Cracroft's Peerage, UK .
  3. ^ a b c d e f
  4. ^ "Suffolk 1514", Cracroft's Peerage, UK 
  5. ^ a b Patrick Cracroft-Brennan, Winchester, Marquess of (E, 1551). Accessed 19 July 2014.
  6. ^ "The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth". History Today. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Patrick Cracroft-Brennan, Coventry, Baron (E, 1628 – 1719). Accessed 29 January 2012.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27489. p. 6865. 29 October 1902. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28535. p. 7084. 27 September 1911. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28536. p. 7121. 29 September 1911. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34453. p. 7051. 10 November 1937. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 40020. p. 6238. 20 November 1953. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
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