Institute of Historical Research

Officers of the Green Cloth: Masters

Provisional Lists 1485 - 1646 compiled by J.C. Sainty June 1999

Masters

The office of Master was apparently created about 1539-40 as part of the general reform of the Household. (1) The Masters were originally four in number, the first and second serving the King; the third and fourth the Queen. (2) Four were continued in office by Edward VI despite his celibacy. (3) However, there was a reduction to three in 1552 when one of the offices was left vacant on the appointment of its occupant as Cofferer. (4) Three were appointed by Mary at her accession but the offices had disappeared by the end of her reign. (5)

The position under Elizabeth is obscure. No master was appointed at her accession (6)but the term was again being used in the latter part of her reign. Thus Anthony Crane described himself as Master of the Household in his will of 1583 (7) while Bartholomew Fowke is so described in 1601 and in particular in the queen's funeral list of 1603. (8) Fowke's monumental inscription (1604) states that he was 'Master of the Household to Queen Elizabeth for many years and to King James that now is'. (9) A somewhat obscure passage of 1600-1 appears to indicate that the term Master was no more than an alternative description of one of the Clerks of the Green Cloth at this date. (10)

A distinct office of Master appears only to have re-emerged during the reign of James I. The lists of offices of the counting house suggest that this development had occurred by 1605 (11) and it may be that Fowke received this appointment on the accession of the king in 1603. The first unequivocal evidence of the fact is a list of about 1608 naming Sir Robert Vernon as the holder of the office. (12) While the evidence is fragmentary it appears that two Masters served during the latter years of the reign, Sir Richard Cox served being described as 'one of the Masters of the King's Household' at his death in 1623. (13)

A single Master served under Charles I until 1632 after which the office is said to be 'in abeyance'. (14) It occurs again in 1645 and was filled continuously after the Restoration in 1660.

In 1540 each of the four Masters received a salary of £50. In 1616 the Master received £100 while in 1625 the salary was 100 marks (£66 13s 4d). (15)

Henry VIII

By 1540

Hatteclyffe, Thomas

Stated in monumental inscription to have been 'some time one of the four masters of the household' (O. Manning and W. Bray, History of Surrey (1804-14), ii, 560, 564).

D. 30 Aug. 1540 (ibid.).

 

By 1540

Weldon, Thomas

First occ. 1540 (LP, xvi, 394(5)).

Occ. in funeral list 16 Feb. 1547 (LC 2/2 f. 28r).

 

By 1540

Thynne, William

First occ. 1540 (LP, xvi, 394(5)).

Last occ. 1546 (ibid., xxi(1), 969 p. 478).

D. 10 Aug. 1546 (DNB, lvi, 373).

 

By 1540

Weldon, Edward

First occ. 1540 (LP, xvi, 394(5)).

Vac. by 7 Dec. 1541 (ibid. 1488(4)).

 

By 1540

Shelley, Edward

First occ. 1540 (LP, xvi, 394(5)).

Occ. in funeral list 16 Feb. 1547 (LC 2/2 f. 28r).

 

By 1541

Gage, James

Probably app. in succession to Edward Weldon; first occ. 7 Dec. 1541 (LP, xvi, 1488(4)).

Occ. in funeral list 16 Feb. 1547 (LC 2/2 f. 28r).

 

c. 1546

Wentworth, Michael

Probably app. c. Aug. 1546 in place of William Thynne.

Occ. in funeral list 16 Feb. 1547 (LC 2/2 f. 28r).

 

Edward VI

1547

Weldon, Thomas

Continued on accession; occ. in coronation list 20 Feb. 1547 (LC 2/3/1 p. 73).

Probably vac. 1552 on app. as Cofferer.

 

1547

Shelley, Edward

Continued on accession; occ. in coronation list 20 Feb. 1547 (LC 2/3/1 p. 73).

Occ. in funeral list 8 Aug. 1553 (LC 2/4/1 f. 11r).

 

1547

Gage, James

Continued on accession; occ. in coronation list 20 Feb. 1547 (LC 2/3/1 p. 73).

Occ. in funeral list 8 Aug. 1553 (LC 2/4/1 f. 11r).

 

1553

Wentworth, Michael

Continued on accession; occ. in coronation list 20 Feb. 1547 (LC 2/3/1 p. 73).

Occ. in funeral list 8 Aug. 1553 (LC 2/4/1 f. 11r).

 

Mary I

1553

Shelley, Edward

Continued on accession (E 101/428/17 f. 1).

 

1553

Gage, James

Continued on accession (E 101/428/17 f. 1).

 

1553

Wentworth, Michael

Continued on accession (E 101/428/17 f. 1).

 

By 1558

Offices vacant

No occ. in funeral list 14 Dec. 1558 (LC 2/4/2 f. 20r).

 

Elizabeth I

1558

Offices vacant

No occ. in coronation list 15 Jan. 1559 (LC 2/4/3 p.81).

 

By 1583

Crane, Anthony

Described as Master in will dated 16 Aug. 1583 (Prob 11/65 f. 43).

D. by 9 Sept. 1583 (ibid.)

 

By 1601

Fouke, Bartholomew

Stated in monumental inscription to have been 'Master of the Household to Queen Elizabeth for many years' (R. Clutterbuck, History and Antiquities of County of Hertford (1815-27), i, 365); occ. as such 4 Apr. 1601, 28 Mar. 1602 (LS 13/168 pp. 29 , 51) and in funeral list 28 Apr. 1603 (LC 2/4/4 f. 37r).

 

James I

1603

Fouke, Bartholomew (Ktd. 24 July 1603)

Continued as Master on accession (R. Clutterbuck, History and Antiquities of County of Hertford (1815-27), i, 365).

D. in office 19 July 1604 (ibid.).

 

By 1605

Vernon, Sir Robert, Kt.

Occ. as undesignated officer of counting house (probably Master) 15 Apr. 1605 (E 179/70/121), 19 Apr. 1608 (E 179/70/122); as Master c. 1608 (Add. 28604 f. 21).

Probably vac. Mar. 1610 on app. as Cofferer.

 

1610

Darrell, Sir Marmaduke, Kt.

Probably app. Mar. 1610 in succession to Sir Robert Vernon.

Vac. 16 July 1615 on app. as Cofferer (LS 13/6).

 

1615

Banaster, Sir Robert. Kt.

Admitted 16 July 1615 (LS 13/6).

Occ. in funeral list 20 May 1625 (LC 2/6 f. 27r).

 

After 1615

Cox, Sir Richard, Kt.

Apparently served concurrently with Banaster according to severely damaged cheque roll where date of app. obliterated (LS 13/6).

Described as 'one of the Masters of the King's Household' on monumental inscription (Westminster Abbey Registers, ed. L.J. Chester (Harleian Society, x, 1875), p. 122).

D. 13 Dec. 1623 (ibid.).

 

Charles I

1625

Glemham, Charles (Ktd. (?) may 1625)

Occ. (?) May 1625 (Shaw, Knights, ii, 188).

D. by 28 Sept. 1625 (Sydney's Letters of State, ed. A. Collins (1746), ii, 360).

 

By 1625

Palmer, Roger (Ktd. 1 Feb. 1626)

Occ. 1 Feb. 1626 (Shaw, Knights, i, 162).

Vac. 24 Mar. 1632 on app. as Cofferer (LS 13/251 p. 64).

 

1632

Office vacant

G.E. Aylmer, The King's Servants (2nd edn, (1974)), p. 30.

 

By 1645

Lisle, George (Ktd. 21 Dec. 1645)

Occ. 21 Dec. 1645 (Shaw, Knights, ii, 220).

[D. 28 Aug. 1648 (DNB, xxxiii, 341)]

Footnotes

1

A.P. Newton, 'Tudor Reforms in the Royal Household', Tudor Studies presented to A.F. Pollard, ed. R.W. Seton-Watson (1924), p. 248.

2

LP, xvi, 394(5); ibid. 1488(4); LC 5/178 p.29; 'The MS. of William Dunche, 'Genealogist, n.s., xxx, 18.

3

LC 2/3/1 p. 73.

4

Stowe MS 571 f. 29.

5

E 101/428/17 f. 1; LC 2/4/2 f. 20r.

6

LC 2/4/3 p. 81.

7

Prob 11/65 f. 43; A. Woodworth, 'Purveyance in the Royal Household in the reign of Queen Elizabeth', Transactions of American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia, 1945), n.s. xxxv, pt. i, 10 n. 29.

8

LS 13/168 p. 29; LC 2/4/4 f. 37r.

9

R. Clutterbuck, History and Antiquities of County of Hertford (1815-27), i, 365.

10

Household Ordinances (1790), p. 281.

11

E 179/70/121, 122

12

Add. MS 28604 f. 21.

13

Westminster Abbey Registers, ed. J.L. Chester (Harleian Society, x, 1875), p. 122).

14

G.E. Aylmer, The King's Servants (2nd edn., 1974), p. 30.

15

LP, xvi, 394 (5); Stowe MS 575 f. 26.

Office-Holders | back to the top