Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons (United Kingdom)

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United Kingdom
Serjeant at Arms of the
House of Commons
House of Commons of the United Kingdom.svg
Lawrence Ward

since 2012
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Reports to Clerk of the Parliaments
Appointer The Crown (de jure)
Clerk of the Parliaments (de facto)
Formation 1415
First holder Nicholas Maundit
Deputy Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod
Website Serjeant at Arms

The Serjeant at Arms of the British House of Commons is an official responsible for the security of the House of Commons. The office dates to 1415.

The House of Lords also had a Serjeant-at-Arms (the title was often distinguished by the use of hyphens), dating also from the 15th Century. His duties were merged in 1971 with those of Black Rod.[1]

In October 2011, the then Serjeant at Arms, Jill Pay, announced that she would retire in January 2012.[2] Michael Naworynsky undertook relevant responsibilities on an "acting" basis,[3] before Lawrence Ward acquired the role in April 2012.[4]


The duties of the Serjeant at Arms are partly ceremonial. The Serjeant at Arms carries the mace during the opening of Parliament and is also responsible for security during debates in the House of Commons, escorting Members out of the Chamber if ordered to do so by the Speaker.


The Serjeant at Arms wears traditional dress and carries a sword,[5] and is traditionally the only person allowed inside the House armed.[citation needed]

List of Serjeants at Arms[edit]

Sir Henry Erskine, Serjeant-at-Arms, UK House of Commons. Caricatured by Vanity Fair, 1894

See also[edit]


  1. ^ House of Lords; Serjeant-at-Arms at
  2. ^ Groves, Jason (13 October 2011). "First female Serjeant at Arms quits Commons just days after powerful clerk becomes her boss". Daily Mail (London). 
  3. ^ House of Lords; Serjeant-at-Arms at
  4. ^ "Property stolen from Parliament revealed". BBC. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012. It came as the House of Commons appointed Lawrence Ward as their new security chief. Mr Ward's appointment to Serjeant at Arms... 
  5. ^ Serjeant at Arms
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Serjeants at Arms to the Speaker" (PDF). Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  7. ^ History of Parliament
  8. ^ History of Parliament
  9. ^ History of Parliament
  10. ^ History of Parliament
  11. ^ Thepeerage
  12. ^ "Captain Gosset has resigned". The Spectator. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Thepeerage