Chamberlain of London

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Richard Clark (1739-1831) wearing his black furred robe as Chamberlain of the City of London

The Chamberlain of the City of London is an ancient office, dating back to at least 1237.

The Chamberlain is the finance director of the City of London Corporation.[1] He is the financial adviser, accountant, receiver and paymaster and is responsible for the City of London’s local and private / trust funds. He is responsible for making arrangements for the investment of City of London and other funds and is one of the three official trustees. He is assisted in this role by the Clerk of the Chamber or Chamberlain's Court, a similarly ancient role.

Through the Chamberlain's Court[2] he administers the admission to the Freedom of the City and personally admits all Honorary Freemen. He is responsible to the Court of Aldermen for constituting new livery companies and for interpreting and amending their ordinances and charters.

The Chamberlain’s relationship with the Court of Common Council is the same that applies to other local authority Chief Finance Officers (CFOs) and therefore he has the same responsibilities placed upon him as any other CFO in the United Kingdom.

The current holder of the office is Dr. Peter Kane, the 80th chamberlain in unbroken succession from 1237 to the present.


The civic Chamberlain of London (effectively the Corporation's Treasurer) should not be confused with the "King's Chamberlain of London" (effectively a royal victualler).[3] Originally responsible for collection and distribution of revenues within the City of London and nominally appointed by the Crown, the office-holder's term traditionally began on Midsummer Day and cannot be removed "unless some great cause of complaint appear against him".[4]

The Chamberlain was responsible for the Chamber of London,[5] the place where various monies of the city were received and stored. The monies were referred to as the City's Cash although there were other funds such as the City Bridge Fund, administered by the Chief Commoner, and later the City Fund, a fund created to handle the rates.

In 1590, the right of the Chamberlain to levy local taxes on goods sold within the city was upheld in The Chamberlain of London’s Case as a valid regulatory measure.[6][7]

Today the office still has important ceremonial responsibilities,[8] including administering the creation of Freemen of London.

Full list of Chamberlains[edit]


  1. ^ Overview of the City of London Corporation's Structure City of London Official website.
  2. ^ 'An Introduction to the Chamberlain's Court of the City of London' with details of archive locations (Leaflet, City of London, n.d.) (, pdf).
  3. ^ See T.F. Tout, Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England: The Wardrobe, The Chamber, and the Small Seals, Vol. I (Manchester University Press 1920), p. 89 note 4, and pp. 159-60 (Google).
  4. ^ "Book 2, Ch. 2 - Summary of civil government". British History Online. Retrieved 2009-12-12.
  5. ^ See, e.g., M.C. Wren, 'The Chamber of the City of London, 1633-1642', The Accounting Review Vol. 24 no. 2 (April 1949), pp. 191-98.
  6. ^ "Online Library of Liberty - Cases of By-Laws and Ordinances The Chamberlain of London's Case. - Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, vol. I". Retrieved 2009-12-12.
  7. ^ Non-subscription edition: J.H. Thomas and J.F. Fraser (eds), The Reports of Sir Edward Coke, Knt. [1572-1613]. In Thirteen Parts, 6 Vols (Joseph Butterworth and Son, London 1826), III: Parts V-VI, pp. 126-28.
  8. ^ Sir I. Gane, KCVO, 'The Chamber of London: Some Reflections by a Chamberlain of London', Guildhall Historical Association Papers, 29 January 1962, 7 pp., (GHA 386, Association pdf online).


  • B.R. Masters, The Chamberlain of the City of London, 1237–1987 (Corporation of London 1988) (Google - title only). (Hathi Trust - search only).
  • 'Introduction: The Chamber in the sixteenth century', in B.R. Masters (ed.), Chamber Accounts of the Sixteenth Century, London Record Society 20, (London 1984), pp. xxxii-xxxviii (British History Online accessed 6 August 2015).
  • (List of Chamberlains from 1688 to 1765), in J. Noorthouck, 'Addenda: The succession of aldermen from 1689', A New History of London Including Westminster and Southwark (London 1773), pp. 894-97 (British History Online accessed 18 November 2017).
  • 'Appendix III: Aldermen who were also chamberlains of the City', in A.P. Beavan, The Aldermen of the City of London Temp. Henry III - 1912 (London 1908/1912), p. lxiv (British History Online, accessed 18 November 2017).