Lord Clerk Register
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Lord Clerk Register

Lord Clerk Register
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (Scotland).svg
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom in Scotland
Incumbent
Lord Mackay of Clashfern

since 27 April 2007
AppointerMonarch of the United Kingdom
Salarynone

The office of Lord Clerk Register is the oldest surviving Great Officer of State in Scotland, with origins in the 13th century. It historically had important functions in relation to the maintenance and care of the public records of Scotland. Today these duties are administered by the Keeper of the National Records of Scotland and the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland.

History of Office

Kingdom of Scotland

The first usage of the office appears in 1288, as Clerk of the Rolls of the Kings Chapel.[1] It later was termed in 1291 as 'Keeper of the Rolls of the Kingdom of Scotland'[2] After the Wars of Independence, a similar office appeared with the title of 'Clerk of the Rolls', which was altered about 1373 to 'Clerk of the Rolls and Register', the 'register' being the record of charters (ie: grants of land or titles of nobility) made under the Great Seal.[3]

While the Clerk of Rolls and Register was originally responsible for the records of Chancery, Parliament and Exchequer,[4] but as the central civil court developed out of the king's council in the fifteenth century, he became responsible for its records too, and from 1483 he was 'Clerk of the Rolls, Register and Council'5. This court later became the Court of Session.

By the fifteenth century, the Clerk Register ranked as an officer of state with a seat in Parliament and the council.[5] By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries more honorific styles such as 'Lord Register' or 'Lord Clerk Register' came to be adopted when describing the Clerk of Rolls.[6] The Clerk Register remained responsible for the records of Parliament and its committees and commissions, the Exchequer, and the Court of Session (representing the judicial side of the old council). From the later sixteenth century statutory additions were made to his functions as new legal registers were put under his control, the most important being the Register of Sasines in 1617 with the passage of the Registration Act 1617.

By the time of the Union with the Kingdom of England in 1707, the office was known as the 'Clerk of the Registers and Rolls of the council, Session and Exchequer, and of all Commissions, Parliaments and Conventions of Estates'.[7] Since 1488 appointments to the office have been made by the Sovereign by commission under the Great Seal.

Kingdom of Great Britain

The Treaty of Union in 1707 provided for the preservation of public records; and the office was also entrusted the election and management of the sixteen Scottish peers to the House of Lords in the new British parliament, with two Clerks of Session commissioned by him to assist.[8] However without the sitting of a Scottish Parliament of Scottish Privy Council, the Lord Clerk Register's duties fell greatly, remaining only entrusted with the court and other legal records.[9]

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, later the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

In 1806, a Royal Warrant established the office of Deputy Clerk Register,[10] effectively reducing the duties of the Lord Clerk Registers to an honorary title. In 1817, the Public Offices (Scotland) Act 1817 (c 64) incorporated the offices of Lord Clerk Register with HM Keeper of the Signet. In 1818, a Royal Commission entrusted the officers of state, including the Lord Clerk Register for the time being, with the custody of the Scottish honours.[11]

In 1854, the Deputy Clerk Register's duties were also extended to the care of the records of births, deaths and marriages under the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1854, which established the General Registry Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

The Lord Clerk Register (Scotland) Act 1879 provided that the office of Lord Clerk Register would remain as a ceremonial Great Officer of State,[12] with all duties passing to the Deputy Clerk Register.[13] However, the Lord Clerk Register did retain an important function, responsibility for organising the election of peers of Scotland to the House of Lords,[14] until the passage of the Peerage Act 1963.[15]

In 1928, the office of Deputy Clerk Register was abolished by the Reorganisation of Offices (Scotland) Act 1928,[16] becoming the Keeper of the Registers and Records of Scotland. However, it came to be recognised that the keeping of records and the keeping of registers was too cumbersome a task to be entrusted to a single official.[17]

In 1948, the Public Registers and Records (Scotland) Act 1948 provided that the Registers of Scotland and Records of Scotland were to be split into two separate government organisations with two separate officials: (1) the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland and (2) the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. These individuals now run (1) the Registers of Scotland and (2) the National Records of Scotland.

Present

In 1996, the Commissioners of the Regalia were given additional responsibility for the Stone of Destiny, or the Stone of Scone, under another Royal Warrant, when the Stone was moved to Edinburgh. The Scottish Executive announced on 27 April 2007 that the Queen had appointed Lord Mackay of Clashfern to the office of Lord Clerk Register, replacing the Earl of Wemyss and March.[18] The Lord Clerk Register remains a Commissioner for the Regalia and the Keeper of the Signet by virtue of the 1879 Act. As such the office is largely ceremonial. The Lord Clerk Register takes in the order of precedence in Scotland after the First Minister (as Keeper of the Great Seal) and the Lord Justice-General, and before the Lord Advocate and Lord Justice-Clerk[19]

Office holders

incomplete list[20]

References

  1. ^ A A M Duncan Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom (1975) p 209.
  2. ^ A L Murray 'The Lord Clerk Register' 53 Scot Hist Rev 2 No 156, p 125, note 4 (October 1974), citing National Archives of Scotland RH 5/63.
  3. ^ A L Murray 'The Lord Clerk Register' 53 Scot Hist Rev 2 No 156
  4. ^ Scot, Sir John, of Scotstarvet, Director of Chancery, The Staggering State of the Scots' Statesment, from 1550 to 1650, Edinburgh, 1754: xxxii - xxxiii
  5. ^ Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, Reissue, Public Registers and Records, Ch 1, Officials, Ch.1, para 4.
  6. ^ Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, Reissue, Public Registers and Records, Ch 1, Officials, Ch.1, para 2.
  7. ^ Act of Union 1707 APS xi, 209.
  8. ^ Scot, Sir John, 1754: xxxiii
  9. ^ National Archives of Scotland PS/13 p 190.
  10. ^ Royal Warrant 1906: National Archives of Scotland C3/24, No 184.
  11. ^ National Archives of Scotland C3/24, No 184.
  12. ^ "Lord Clerk Register (Scotland) Act 1879: Section 2", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 11 August 1879, 1879 c. 44 (s. 2), retrieved 2020
  13. ^ "Lord Clerk Register (Scotland) Act 1879: Section 6", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 11 August 1879, 1879 c. 44 (s. 6), retrieved 2020
  14. ^ "Lord Clerk Register (Scotland) Act 1879: Section 4", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 11 August 1879, 1879 c. 44 (s. 4), retrieved 2020
  15. ^ Peerage Act 1963 (c 48), s 4.
  16. ^ "Reorganisation of Offices (Scotland) Act 1928: Section 4", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 3 August 1928, 1928 c. 34 (s. 4), retrieved 2020
  17. ^ Report by the Committee of the Scottish Records Advisory Council, July 1943 (National Archives of Scotland HH1/1832)
  18. ^ "Lord Clerk Register appointed". scotland.gov.uk. 27 April 2007.
  19. ^ Royal Warrant dated 11 March 1905.
  20. ^ Scot, Sir John, 1754: 179-181, for lists to 1660
  21. ^ a b A. J. Mann, 'Murray, Sir James, Lord Philiphaugh (1655-1708)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 22 April 2012
  22. ^ John R. Young, 'Johnston, James (1655-1737)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2008 accessed 22 April 2012
  23. ^ "Biography of David Boyle 1st Earl of Glasgow". www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 2020.
  24. ^ Blackie, Jane. "Elliot, Sir Gilbert, second baronet, Lord Minto". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8659. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  25. ^ "No. 36420". The London Gazette. 10 March 1944. p. 1174.
  26. ^ "No. 40769". The London Gazette. 1 May 1956. p. 2566.
  27. ^ "No. 46355". The London Gazette. 27 September 1974. p. 8018.
  28. ^ "Lord Clerk Register appointed". Scottish Executive. 27 April 2007.

See also


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