The Groom Porter was an office at the royal court of the monarch of Britain, who had "the Inspection of the King's Lodgings, and takes care that they are provided with Tables, Chairs, Firing, &c. As also to provide Cards, Dice, &c. when there is playing at Court: To decide Disputes which arise in Gaming". He was also responsible for "oversight of common Billiards Tables, common Bowling Grounds, Dicing Houses, Gaming Houses and Common tennis Courts and power of Licensing the same within the Citys of London and Westminster or Borough of Southwark."
The title may originally have referred to the keeper of the king's furnishings in his bedchamber. It was a position in the royal household, and therefore had certain privileges associated with it. In 1702 the remuneration was raised to £680 per year, which it remained until it was abolished with other sinecure offices at court in 1782. Eventually, the term became used for the owner, or operator of a gaming hall.
List of Groom PortersEdit
- Nicholas Fortescue (died 1549), in a will made in 1544 describes himself as Groom Porter of the King's most Honourable Chamber. Will proved 26 September 1549. He is the grandfather of Sir Nicholas Fortescue the Elder.
- ?c.1547-1556 Edward Lewknor, Esquire (to King Edward VI and Queen Mary)
- 'Hunting, sporting and gaming: Groom Porters and Masters of the Tennis Courts', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (revised): Court Officers, 1660-1837 (2006), pp. 224-225. porter. Date accessed: 7 November 2008.
- Thefreedictionary.com: Definition of Groom porter
- Aske the "Groom Porter"
- Will of Nicholas Fortescue, Groom Porter of the King's Chamber, Westminster, Middlesex (P.C.C. 1549, Populwell quire).
- G.K. Fortescue, 'Fortescue, Sir Nicholas, the elder (1575?–1633), chamberlain of the exchequer,' Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), Vol. 20 (Wikisource).
- J.G. Nichols (ed.), The Diary of Henry Machyn, Camden Society Old Series XLII (London 1848), pp. 108, 114. Machyn calls him 'master Lecknolle'.