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LORD CHIEF JUSTICE—LORD GREAT CHAMBERLAIN

the queen consort throughout the year. Of these there are eight, always peeresses, and each is in waiting for a fortnight or three weeks at a time. But the women of the bedchamber, of whom there are also eight, appear only at court ceremonies and entertainments according to a roster annually issued under the authority of the lord chamberlain of the queen consort. They are usually the daughters of peers or the wives of the sons of peers, and formerly, like the mistress of the robes and the ladies of the bedchamber, habitually assisted the queen at her daily toilette. But this has long ceased to be done by any of them. The eight maids of honour have the same terms of waiting as the ladies of the bedchamber. They are commonly if not always the daughters or granddaughters of peers, and when they have no superior title and precedence by birth are called “honourable” and placed next after the daughters of barons.


LORD CHIEF JUSTICE, in England, the presiding judge of the king's bench division of the High Court of justice, and in the absence of the lord chancellor, president of the High Court. He traces his descent from the justiciar of the Norman kings. This officer appears first as the lieutenant or deputy of the king, exercising all the functions of the regal office in the absence of the sovereign. “In this capacity William Fitz-Osbern, the steward of Normandy, and Odo of Bayeux, acted during the Conqueror's visit to the continent in 1067; they were left, according to William of Poitiers, the former to govern the north of England, the latter to hold rule in Kent, vice sua; Florence of Worcester describes them as “custodes Angliae,” and Ordericus Vitalis gives to their office the name of “praefectura." It would seem most probable that William Fitz-Osbern at least was left in his character of steward, and that the Norman seneschalship was thus the origin of the English justiciarship” (Stubbs's Constitutional History, i. 346). The same authority observes that William of Warenne and Richard Clare (Bienfaite), who were left in charge of England in 1074, are named by a writer in the next generation “praecipui Angliae justitiarii”; but he considers the name to have not yet been definitely attached to any particular office, and that there is no evidence to show that officers appointed to this trust exercised any functions at all when the king was at home, or in his absence exercised supreme judicial authority to the exclusion of other high officers of the court. The office became permanent in the reign of William Rufus, and in the hands of Ranulf Flambard it became coextensive with the supreme powers of government. But it was not till the reign of Henry II. that the chief officer of the crown acquired the exclusive right to the title of capital is or totius Angliae juslitiarius. Stubbs considers that the English form of the office is to be accounted for by the king's desire to prevent the administration falling into the hands of an hereditary noble. The early justiciars were clerics, in whom the possession of power could not become hereditary. The justiciar continued to be the chief officer of state, next to the king, until the fall of Hubert de Burgh (in the reign of King John), described by Stubbs as the last of the great justiciars. Henceforward, according to Stubbs, the office may be said to have survived only in the judicial functions, which were merely part of the official character of the chief justiciar. He was at the head of the curia regis, which was separating itself into the three historical courts of common law about the time when the justiciarship was falling from the supreme place. The chancellor took the place of the justiciar in council, the treasurer in the exchequer, while the two offshoots from the curia regis, the common pleas and the exchequer, received chiefs of their own. The-king's bench represented the original stock of the curia regis, and its chief justice the great justiciar. The justiciar may, therefore, be said to have become from a political a purely judicial officer. A similar development awaited his successful rival the chancellor. Before the judicature Act the king's bench and the common pleas were each presided over by a lord chief justice, and the lord chief justice of the king's bench was nominal head of all the three courts, and held the title of lord chief justice of England. The titles of lord chief justice of the common pleas and lord chief baron were abolished by the judicature Act 1873, and all the common law divisions of the High Court united into the king's bench division, the president of which is the lord chief justice of England.

The lord chief justice is, next to the lord chancellor, the highest judicial dignitary in the kingdom. He is an ex-officio judge of the court of appeal. He holds office during good behaviour, and can only be removed by the crown (by whom he is appointed) after a joint address of both houses of parliament. He is now the only judicial functionary privileged to wear the collar of SS. There has been much discussion as to the origin and history of this collar;[1] it was a badge or insignia attached to certain offices entitling the holders to wear it only so long as they held those offices. The collar of SS. was worn by the chiefs of the three courts previous to their amalgamation in 1873, and that now worn by the lord chief justice of England was provided by Sir A. Cockburn in 1859 and entailed by him on all holders of the office. The salary is £8000 a year.

In the United States the supreme court consists of a chief justice and eight associate justices, any six of whom make a quorum. The salary of the chief justice is $13,000 and that of the associates $12,500. The chief justice takes rank next after the president, and he administers the oath on the inauguration of a new president and vice-president. The principal or presiding judge in most of the state judicature's also takes the title of chief justice.


LORD GREAT CHAMBERLAIN, in England, a functionary who must be carefully distinguished from the lord chamberlain; he is one of the great officers of state, whose office dates from Norman times; and the only one who still holds it under a creation of that period. As his name implies, he was specially connected by his duties with the king's chamber (camera curie); but this phrase was also used to denote the king's privy purse, and the chamberlain may be considered as originally the financial officer of the household. But as he was always a great baron, deputies performed his financial work, and his functions became, as they are now, mainly ceremonial, though the emblem of his office is still a key. The office had been held by Robert Malet, son of a leading companion of the Conqueror, but he was forfeited by Henry who, in 1133, gave the great chamberlainship to Aubrey de Vere and his heirs. Aubrey's son was created earl of Oxford, and the earls held the office, with some intermission, till 1526, when the then earl left female heirs. His heir-male succeeded to the earldom, but the crown, as is now established, denied his right to the office, which was thenceforth held under grants for life till Queen Mary and Elizabeth admitted in error the right of the earls on the strength of their own allegation. So matters continued till 1626, when an earl died and again left an heir-male and an heir-female. After an historic contest the office was adjudged to the former, Lord Willoughby d'Eresby. No further question arose till 1779, when his heirs were two sisters. In 1781 the House of Lords decided that it belonged to them jointly, and that they could appoint a deputy, which they did. Under a family arrangement the heirs of the two sisters respectively appointed deputies in alternate reigns till the death of Queen Victoria, when Lord Ancaster, the heir of the elder, who was then in possession, claimed that he, as such, had sole right to the office. Lord Cholmondeley and Lord Carrington as coheirs of the younger sister, opposed his claim, and the crown also claimed for itself on the ground of the action taken by the king in 1526. After a long and historic contest, the House of Lords (1902) declined to re-open the question, and merely re-affirmed the decision of 1781, and the office, therefore, is now vested jointly in the three peers named and their heirs.

The lord great chamberlain has charge of the palace of Westminster, especially of the House of Lords, in which he has an office; and when the sovereign opens parliament in person he is responsible for the arrangements. At the opening or closing of the session of parliament by the sovereign in person he disposes of the sword of state to be carried by any peer he may select, and walks himself in the procession on the right of the sword of state, a little before it and next to the sovereign. He issues the tickets of admission on the same occasions. He assists at the introduction of all peers into the House of Lords on their creation, and at the homage of all bishops after their consecration. At coronations he emerges into special importance; he still asserts before the court of claims his archaic right to bring the king his "shirt, stockings and drawers" and to dress him on coronation day and to receive his ancient fees, which include the king's bed and "night robe." He also claims in error to serve the king

  1. Notes and Queries, series 1, vol. ii.; series 4, vols. ii. ix. X.; series 6, vols. ii. iii.; Planché, Dictionary of Costume, p. 126; Foss, Lives of the Judges, vol. vii.; Dugdale, Orig. Jud. fol. 102.