Lord High Chamberlain of Scotland

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Holders of the office of Lord Chamberlain of Scotland are known from about 1124. It was ranked by King Malcolm as the third great Officer of State, called Camerarius Domini Regis, and had a salary of £200 per annum allotted to him. He anciently collected the revenues of the Crown, at least before Scotland had a Treasurer, of which office there is no vestige until the restoration of King James I when he disbursed the money necessary for the maintenance of the King's Household.

The Great Chamberlain had jurisdiction for judging of all crimes committed within burgh, and of the crime of forestalling; and was in effect Justice-General over the burghs, and held Chamberlain-ayrs every year for that purpose; the form whereof is set down in Iter Camerarii, the Chamberlain-ayr. He was a supreme judge and his Decrees could not be questioned by any inferior judicatory. His sentences were to be put into execution by the baillies of burghs. He also settled the prices of provisions within burghs, and the fees of the workmen in the Mint.

The Chamberlain lost his financial functions after 1425 to the Treasurer. The position was vacant from 1558 to 1565 and again from 1569. It was occupied in 1580 for the cousin of James I, Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox, whose appearance as a Great Officer of State in 1581 is attributable to his personal standing with the king rather than his office. But following the Raid of Ruthven, 24 August 1582, the Great Chamberlain lost his supervision of the royal burghs.

Thereafter the office was held by successive Dukes of Lennox (heritably from 1603) until resigned to the Crown ad perpetuam remanentiam by the Duke of Richmond and Lennox in 1703, since which time no Great Chamberlain has been appointed. In 1711 a form of the office was revived in a Commission of Chamberlainry and Trade, which lapsed on the death of Queen Anne.

Lord Chamberlains[edit]

David I of Scotland (r. 1124–1153)
Malcolm IV of Scotland (r. 1153–1165)
  • 1153-1160: Herbert
  • 1160-1165: Nicolaus, later Lord Chancellor
William the Lion (r. 1165–1214)
Alexander II of Scotland (r. 1214–1249)
Alexander III of Scotland (r. 1249–1286)
Guardians of the Kingdom of Scotland (First Interregnum)(1286-1292)
John Balliol (r. 1292–1329)
Guardians of the Kingdom of Scotland (Second Interregnum) (1296-1306)
Robert the Bruce (r. 1306–1329)
David II of Scotland (r. 1329–1371)
Robert II of Scotland (r. 1371–1390)
Robert III of Scotland (r. 1390–1406)
James I of Scotland (r. 1406–1437)
  • 1424-1448: Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine, Knt.[1][2]
James II of Scotland (r. 1437–1460)
James III of Scotland (r. 1460–1488)
James IV of Scotland (r. 1488–1513)
James V of Scotland (r. 1513–1542)
Mary, Queen of Scots (r. 1542–1560)
James VI of Scotland (r. 1560–1625)


  1. ^ The Scottish Nation, Edinburgh, 1867, vol.v, p.250.
  2. ^ The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland edited by George Burnett, Lord Lyon King of Arms, vol.v, 1437-1454, Edinburgh, 1882, pps:108, 258, and 297 - the last mention as Chamberlain.
  3. ^ The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland edited by George Burnett, Lord Lyon King of Arms, vol.v, 1437-1454, Edinburgh, 1882, p.312, first mention in this capacity.
  4. ^ Anderson, William, The Scottish Nation, Edinburgh, 1867, vol.iii, p.725, which states he held this position from 1440 until death.
  5. ^ Haydn, Joseph, Book of Dignities, London, 1851, also states that he held this position 1440-1454.
  6. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Boyd, Robert Boyd, Lord" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 353.
  7. ^ Cracrofts Peerage Archived 2012-03-08 at the Wayback Machine