Surveyor-General of the Ordnance

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For Surveyor-General of the Ordnance in Ireland, see Irish Board of Ordnance.

The Surveyor-General of the Ordnance was a subordinate of the Master-General of the Ordnance and a member of the Board of Ordnance, a British government body, from its constitution in 1597. Appointments to the post were made by the crown under Letters Patent. His duties were to examine the ordnance received to see that it was of good quality. He also came to be responsible for the mapping of fortifications and eventually of all Great Britain, through the Ordnance Survey, and it is this role that is generally associated with surveyor-generalship.

The post was for a time held with that of Chief Engineer, but after 1750 became a political office, with the holder changing with the government of the day.[1]

The office survived the dissolution of the Board of Ordnance in 1855, but was for some time vacant, the last holder, Lauderdale Maule, having died of cholera in the Crimea. The War Office Act of 1870 revived the office, making the Surveyor-General responsible for all aspects of Army logistics. The office was filled until 1888, when it was abolished.

Surveyors of the Ordnance[edit]

The office was abolished in 1888.


  1. ^ Whitworth Porter, History of the Corps of Royal Engineers, volume I (London, 1889), page 168