Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is a ministerial office[1] in the Government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties, the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster.[2] The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister.[3][4]

The Chancellor is answerable to Parliament for the governance of the Duchy.[5] However, the involvement of the Chancellor in the running of the day-to-day affairs of the Duchy is slight, and the office is held by a senior politician whose main role is usually quite different. The position is currently held by David Lidington.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Duchy of Lancaster-coa
Arms of the Duchy of Lancaster
David Lidington
David Lidington

since 8 January 2018
StyleThe Right Honourable
AppointerThe Sovereign
on advice of the Prime Minister
Inaugural holderSir Henry de Haydock


Originally, the Chancellor was the chief officer in the daily management of the Duchy of Lancaster and the County Palatine of Lancaster (a county palatine merged into the Crown in 1399), but that estate is now run by a deputy, leaving the Chancellor as a member of the Cabinet with little obligation in regard to the Chancellorship. The position has often been given to a junior Cabinet minister with responsibilities in a particular area of policy for which there is no department with an appropriate portfolio.

In 1491, the office of Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster was created. The position is now held by a judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice, who sits in the north west of England, and no longer appointed to that position as legal officer of the Duchy.

Modern times

In recent times, the Chancellor's duties (administrative, financial, and legal) have been said to occupy an average of one day a week. Under the Promissory Oaths Act 1868, the Chancellor is required to take the oath of allegiance and the Official Oath.[6] The holder of the sinecure is a minister without portfolio; Oswald Mosley, for example, focused on unemployment after being appointed to the position in 1929 during the second MacDonald ministry.[7]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is entitled to a salary under the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975, but section 3 of the Act provides that the salary "shall be reduced by the amount of the salary payable to him otherwise than out of moneys so provided in respect of his office".[8] The Office of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is part of the Cabinet Office.[9]

From 1997 until 2009, the holder of the title also served as the Minister for the Cabinet Office. This applied in the case of Alan Milburn, who was given the title by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2004 and at the same time rejoined the Cabinet. However, in the reshuffle of 5 June 2009, the Chancellorship went to the Leader of the House of Lords, the Baroness Royall. In David Cameron's first cabinet, announced on 12 May 2010, the Chancellorship remained with the Leader of the House of Lords.

The position is currently held by David Lidington following a Cabinet reshuffle on 8 January 2018. The previous holder of the post was Patrick McLoughlin who was given the post following Theresa May's appointment as Prime Minister. Before this the holder of the post was Oliver Letwin, who was appointed in July 2014 when he was also Minister for Government Policy (2010–2015); following the 2015 general election, he was also given overall responsibility for the Cabinet Office and made a full member of the Cabinet.

See also


  1. ^ House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 c. 24, Schedule 2
  2. ^ Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - Glossary page - UK Parliament Archived 6 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. (21 April 2010). Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  3. ^ FAQs, Archived 2009-09-01 on the Internet Archive.
  4. ^ The Government, Prime Minister and Cabinet: Directgov - Government, citizens and rights Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 30 September 2011.
  5. ^ Vernon Bogdanor. The Monarchy and the Constitution. p. 188.. (Citing House of Commons Debates 17 November 1987 col 11, Standing Committee G.)
  6. ^ Promissory Oaths Act 1868 section 5 and Schedule
  7. ^ Gunther, John (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 363–364.
  8. ^ Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 sections 1 & 3 and Schedule 1
  9. ^ Appropriation Act 2010 Schedule 2 Part 2
1909 Cleveland by-election

The Cleveland by-election of 1909 was held on 9 July 1909. The by-election was held due to the incumbent Liberal MP, Herbert Samuel, being appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. It was retained by Samuel.

1987 Dissolution Honours

The 1987 Dissolution Honours List was gazetted on 30 July 1987 following the advice of the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.The recipients are shown below as they were styled before their new honour.

Baron Belper

Baron Belper, of Belper in the County of Derbyshire, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1856 for the Liberal politician Edward Strutt, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1853 to 1854. He was son of William Strutt and the grandson of the inventor Jedediah Strutt. Lord Belper's son, the second Baron, represented Derbyshire East and Berwick in the House of Commons as a Liberal. As of 2017 the title is held by the latter's great-grandson, the fifth Baron, who succeeded his father in 1999.

The mountaineer Edward Lisle Strutt was the son of the Honourable Arthur Strutt, younger son of the first Baron.

The family seat was Kingston Hall, near Nottingham, Nottinghamshire.

Baron Cawley

Baron Cawley, of Prestwich in the County Palatine of Lancaster, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1918 for the Liberal politician Sir Frederick Cawley, 1st Baronet. He had previously represented Prestwich in the House of Commons and served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1916 to 1918. Before his elevation to the peerage, Cawley had been created a baronet, of Prestwich in the County Palatine of Lancaster, in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom, in 1906. His grandson, the third Baron, notably served as Deputy Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords from 1958 to 1967. As of 2011 the titles are held by the latter's eldest son, the fourth Baron, who succeeded in 2001.

The Honourable Harold Thomas Cawley, second son of the first Baron, the Honourable Stephen Robert Cawley, second son of the second Baron, and the Honourable Oswald Cawley, fourth son of the first Baron, were all Liberal politicians.

The former seat of the Cawley family was Berrington Hall near Leominster in Herefordshire.

Conservative Research Department

The Conservative Research Department (CRD) is part of the central organisation of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. It operates alongside other departments of Conservative Campaign Headquarters in Westminster.

The CRD has been described as a training ground for leading Conservative politicians. Former CRD advisers to have served in the Cabinet include former Prime Minister David Cameron, former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Letwin and former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. After 1945, Enoch Powell, Iain Macleod, Reginald Maudling and Chris Patten passed through it.

Deputy lieutenant

In the United Kingdom, a deputy lieutenant is a Crown appointment and one of several deputies to the lord lieutenant of a lieutenancy area: an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county.

In formal style, the postnominal letters DL may be added: e.g. John Brown, CBE, DL. Should the subject have numerous more important honorifics these postnominals may be omitted, although this is rare.

Deputy lieutenants are nominated by a lord lieutenant, to assist with any duties as may be required: see the Lieutenancies Act 1997; deputy lieutenants receive their commission of appointment via the appropriate government minister by command of the Queen. In England and Wales, since November 2001, the minister responsible for most appointments is the Lord Chancellor, with exceptions such as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In Scotland, since July 1999 it has been the Scottish Ministers.Decades ago, the number of deputy lieutenants for each county could be as few as three. Today, however, there may be well over a dozen that are appointed as the number of DLs today correlates with the population of each respective county. DLs tend to be people who either have served the local community, or have a history of public service in other fields.DLs represent the lord lieutenant in his or her absence, including at local ceremonies and official events, from opening exhibitions to inductions of vicars (as requested by the Church of England). They must live within their ceremonial county, or within seven miles (11 km) of its boundary. Their appointments do not terminate with any change of lord lieutenant, but they are legally required to retire at age of 75.

One of the serving deputy lieutenants is appointed to be vice-lieutenant, who in most circumstances will stand in for the lord lieutenant when he or she cannot be present. The appointment as vice-lieutenant does, however, expire on the retirement of the lord lieutenant who made the choice. Generally, the vice-lieutenant would then revert to DL.Unlike the office of lord lieutenant, which is an appointment in the gift of the Sovereign, the position of deputy lieutenant is an appointment of the Sovereign's appointee, and therefore not strictly speaking a direct appointment of the Sovereign.

J. C. C. Davidson

John Colin Campbell Davidson, 1st Viscount Davidson, (23 February 1889 – 11 December 1970), known before his elevation to the peerage as J. C. C. Davidson, was a British civil servant and Conservative Party politician, best known for his close alliance with Stanley Baldwin. Initially a civil servant, Davidson was private secretary to Bonar Law between 1915 and 1920. After entering parliament in 1920, he served under Baldwin as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1923 and 1924 and as Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty between 1924 and 1926. From 1926 to 1930 he was Chairman of the Conservative Party. He was once again Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1931 and 1937, firstly under Ramsay MacDonald and from 1935 onwards under Baldwin. On Baldwin's retirement in 1937, Davidson left the House of Commons and was ennobled as Viscount Davidson. Despite being only 48, he never took any further active part in politics. His wife Frances, Viscountess Davidson, succeeded him as MP for Hemel Hempstead. Lord Davidson died in London in 1970.

John Davies (businessman)

John Emerson Harding Harding-Davies, (8 January 1916 – 4 July 1979) was a successful British businessman who served as Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry during the 1960s. He later went into politics and served in the Cabinet of Edward Heath as the first Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, a position which he held from October 1970 to 4 November 1972. Davies was President of the Board of Trade and from July to October 1970 was Minister of Technology. He became a Privy Councillor and, in 1972, was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster with special responsibilities for the co-ordination of British policy towards the European Communities. In 1979 Davies was to be made a life peer as Baron Harding-Davies, but died before the creation of the peerage passed the Great Seal. Peerage history was made when, by Royal Warrant bearing the date 27 February 1980, Queen Elizabeth II granted his widow Vera Georgina the title of Lady Harding-Davies; his children The Hon. Frank Davies and The Hon. Rosamond Ann Metherell were given the rank of children of a life peer.

John Fortescue of Salden

Sir John Fortescue (ca. 1531 or 1533 – 23 December 1607) of Salden Manor, near Mursley, Buckinghamshire, was the seventh Chancellor of the Exchequer of England, serving from 1589 until 1603.

He was the son of Adrian Fortescue and his wife Anne Reade, daughter of Sir William Reade. Fortescue had six children with his first wife, and a seventh with his second wife after the death of his first wife. Many of his children followed his path in politics, holding positions in Parliament. His father Adrian Fortescue was martyred and has been beatified. Sir John was a great-grandson of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, Lord Mayor of London (1457), and thus a second-cousin of Queen Elizabeth I.He led a largely undistinguished career in Parliament prior to his accession to the chancellorship, serving in several districts (including for Wallingford), and he continued to serve in Parliament after losing that title. Fortescue also held the position of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1601 to his death. Fortescue served under Queen Elizabeth I and was knighted in 1592. When King James I came to the throne in 1603, Fortescue advocated restrictions on his power, in part in order to limit the appointment of Scottish people. These reforms were not implemented, and as a result, James dismissed him from his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He retained, however, his position in Parliament and as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, as well as the keeper of the wardrobe.Fortescue was buried in Mursley Church in Buckinghamshire, England, where a monument has been erected in his honour.

John Mordaunt (speaker)

Sir John Mordaunt (died c. 1505) was an English politician of the Tudor period and Speaker of the House of Commons. Offices held included Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

He was the son of William Mordaunt of Turvey, Bedfordshire and entered the Middle Temple to train as a lawyer. He was also summoned by Richard III to serve against the Scots in 1484, and fought for Henry VII at Stoke in 1487.

In 1485 and 1487 he served as an MP for unidentified constituencies, (probably Bedfordshire), on the latter occasion being chosen to serve as speaker of the house. He was elected MP for Grantham in 1491 and knight of the shire for Bedfordshire in 1495. In the 1490s he became more active as a government administrator and lawyer and was knighted for his services in 1503. He was appointed High Steward of Cambridge University in 1504 and later the same year nominated to follow Sir Reginald Bray as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

However, he died soon afterwards and was buried in Turvey church. He had married Edith, coheir of Sir Nicholas Latymer, with whom he had at least two sons and a daughter. His eldest son John would become first Lord Mordaunt.

Privy Purse

The Privy Purse is the British Sovereign's private income, mostly from the Duchy of Lancaster. This amounted to £20.1 million in net income for the year to 31 March 2018. The Duchy is a landed estate of approximately 46,000 acres (200 square kilometres) held in trust for the Sovereign since 1399. It also has 190 miles (306 kilometres) of foreshore. The Duchy was valued at approximately £533 million in 2018. The land is organised into the Lancashire Survey, the Yorkshire Survey, the Crewe Survey, the Nedwood Estate and the South Survey. The Sovereign is not entitled to the Duchy's capital, but the net revenues of the Duchy are the property of the Sovereign in right of the Duchy of Lancaster. While the income is private, the Queen uses the larger part of it to meet official expenses incurred by other members of the British Royal Family. Only the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh receive payments from Parliament that are not reimbursed by the Queen.

Richard Fowler (chancellor)

Sir Richard Fowler (c.1425-1477) was an English administrator.

He was the son of William Fowler of Preston manor in Buckinghamshire. He inherited the manor after his father's death.

He held several posts including king's solicitor from 1461 to 1470 (the first to hold this post) and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1462 to 1477, before being appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1469 to 1471 and Under-Treasurer of England in 1471. He was knighted by Edward IV in 1467.

Richard Fowler was the nephew of Sybil Quartermain and whilst the Quartermains lived at Rycote, Oxfordshire, Richard Fowler lived at the Quartermain family's ancestral home at North Weston, Somerset. The Quartermains had no surviving children and their estate at Rycote passed to Fowler.

He died on 3 November 1477 and was buried at St Rumwold's church in Buckingham. He had married Joan. the daughter of Henry Danvers, a London mercer. He had a son and heir Richard and a daughter, Sybil. His brother Thomas (Esquire of the body of King Edward IV) was mentioned in his will. Richard's descendants became the Fowler baronets of Harnage Grange.

He bequeathed money to rebuild St Rumwold's shrine in Buckingham.

Robert Phelips (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster)

Robert Phelips (1 February 1619 – 21 June 1707) was a Royalist officer during the English Civil War. After the Restoration he was a Member of Parliament, and from 25 May 1687 until 21 March 1689 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.


A sinecure (from Latin sine = "without" and cura = "care") is an office – carrying a salary or otherwise generating income – that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. The term originated in the medieval church, where it signified a post without any responsibility for the "cure [care] of souls", the regular liturgical and pastoral functions of a cleric, but came to be applied to any post, secular or ecclesiastical, that involved little or no actual work. Sinecures have historically provided a potent tool for governments or monarchs to distribute patronage, while recipients are able to store up titles and easy salaries.

A sinecure is not necessarily a figurehead, which generally requires active participation in government, albeit with a lack of power.

A sinecure can also be given to an individual whose primary job is in another office, but requires a sinecure title to perform that job. For example, the Government House Leader in Canada is often given a sinecure ministry position so that he or she may become a member of the Cabinet. Similar examples are the Lord Privy Seal and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the British cabinet. Other sinecures operate as legal fictions, such as the British office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, used as a legal excuse for resigning from Parliament.

Thomas Edward Taylor

For the New Zealand mayor and politician see Tommy Taylor (New Zealand politician)

The Rt. Hon. Thomas Edward Taylor (17 March 1811 – 3 February 1883), was a British Conservative Party politician. He served as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1868 and between 1874 and 1880 under Benjamin Disraeli.

Thomas Metcalfe (courtier)

Thomas Metcalfe was the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 7 July 1483 - 13 September 1486. He was a Privy Councillor in 1460. He was a trusted member of King Richard III's council, and, by reason of his position, judge of the Duchy court that sat at Westminster.Thomas Metcalfe built Nappa Hall in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire in the 1470s.

He married Elizabeth Hartlington of Hartlington, in Craven, Yorkshire, heiress of an ancient family of Clifford tenants who had been bailiffs of Kettlewelldale.On 30 September 1484, Richard III granted him wardship and control of the marriage of Henry Gage, the son and heir of John Gage, a gentleman who had held land direct from the Crown.

Thomas Thwaites

Sir Thomas Thwaites or Thwaytes (c.1435–1503) was an English civil servant, who was involved in the Perkin Warbeck conspiracy.

He served as Edward IV's Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1471 to 1483 and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 2 April 1478 and 7 July 1483. Upon the ascension of Richard III he was knighted and moved to Treasurer of Calais, where he served from 1483 to 1490.He was arrested for treason in 1493 for involvement in the Perkin Warbeck conspiracy. Originally sentenced to death, his sentence was altered to imprisonment in the Tower of London and a fine.He owned the manor of Barnes in London.

Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster

The Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster is an office of the Duchy of Lancaster. The vice-chancellor is appointed by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster after consultation with the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. Since 1987, the vice-chancellor has been a High Court judge of the Chancery Division with a term of approximately three years.

The Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster exercises general supervision over the conduct of Chancery division business in the North of England and is an ex-officio member of the court of Lancaster University.

Before the implementation of the Courts Act 1971, the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine was controlled by section 14 of the Administration of Justice Act 1881. From 1973 to 1987, Andrew James Blackett-Ord, a circuit judge held the post. Since then, the office has been held by a Justice of the High Court sitting in the Chancery Division.

William Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley of Stratton

William Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley of Stratton PC, PC (I) (d. 24 March 1741), was a British politician and judge, of the Bruton branch of the Berkeley family. He was Master of the Rolls in Ireland between 1696 and 1731 and also held political office as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1710 to 1714 and as First Lord of Trade from 1714 to 1715.

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