King's Remembrancer

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The King's Remembrancer (or Queen's Remembrancer) is an ancient judicial post in the legal system of England and Wales. Since the Lord Chancellor no longer sits as a judge, the Remembrancer is the oldest judicial position in continual existence. The post was created in 1154 by King Henry II as the chief official in the Exchequer Court, whose purpose was "to put the Lord Treasurer and the Barons of Court in remembrance of such things as were to be called upon and dealt with for the benefit of the Crown",[This quote needs a citation] a primary duty being to keep records of the taxes, paid and unpaid.

The first King's Remembrancer was Richard of Ilchester, a senior servant of the Crown and later Bishop of Winchester. The King's Remembrancer continued to sit in the Court of the Exchequer until its abolition in 1882. The post of King's Remembrancer is held by the Senior Master of the King's Bench Division of the High Court.

Quit Rents ceremonies


The Exchequer Court is reconstituted every year for the three ancient ceremonies of the "Rendering of the Quit Rents to the Crown" by the City of London at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The oldest dates from 1211, where the City pays service for two pieces of land, of which the oldest is The Moors near Bridgnorth in Shropshire, for which the City must pay two knives, one blunt and one sharp.[1]

The second oldest has been made, entered in the Great Roll of the Exchequer, since 1235, for 'The Forge' in Tweezer's Alley, just south of St Clement Danes, near the Strand in London, for which the City must pay six horseshoes and 61 horseshoe nails – these are over 550 years old, since after being rendered to the King's Remembrancer they are preserved in his office, and with the permission of the Crown they are loaned to the Corporation of London to be rendered again the following year.[1]

These two quits are paid together as one ceremony, during which a black-and-white chequered cloth is spread out – it is from this that the word "Exchequer" derives – combined with the introduction to the Remembrancer of the City's newly elected sheriffs.

The Comptroller and Solicitor of the City of London presents the horseshoes and nails and counts them out to the Remembrancer who then pronounces "Good number." The knives are tested by the King's Remembrancer by taking a hazel stick, one cubit in length, and bending it over the blunt knife and leaving a mark, and the stick is split in two with the sharp knife. This practice stems from the creation of tally sticks where a mark was made on a stick with a blunt knife for each payment counted. When payment was complete the stick was split down the middle, leaving each party with half of the marked stick and creating a receipt (or foil and counter-foil). After the knives are tested the Remembrancer pronounces "Good service".

The third quit rent dates from 1327, and is for £11 in regard to the reserved interest of the Crown for the 'town of Southwark'. In that year the City was granted its fourth-oldest Royal Charter to acquire Southwark from Edward III for this annual payment. It was specifically retained by Edward VI in the 1550 charter to the City, which extended its jurisdiction over the outlying parts of Southwark. This quit is rendered by the Foreman of the City's Court Leet Jury of the "Town and Borough of Southwark", alias Guildable Manor,[2] which is the area as defined in 1327. The continuation of this body is sanctioned under the Administration of Justice Act 1977. The ceremony takes place in the Cathedral library, the Glaziers' Hall or London's City Hall.[3] This sum is rendered onto the Exchequer Cloth in the form of Crowns (5 shilling pieces, equivalent to 25 new pence), which remain legal tender. The Remembrancer pronounces "Good service" and this is witnessed by the Clerk of the City's Chamberlain's Court and the manor jurors to note that the payment has been made.

Trial of the Pyx


The Trial of the Pyx is a ceremony dating from 1249, formerly held in the Exchequer Court, now in Goldsmiths' Hall. The King's Remembrancer swears in a jury of 26 Goldsmiths who then count, weigh and otherwise measure a sample of 88,000 gold coins produced by the Royal Mint. The term "Pyx" refers to the name of the box in which the coins are kept.

Forest of Dean


In 1688, King James II directed the King's Remembrancer to appoint commissioners to supervise the planting of trees in the Forest of Dean. The Forest was an important source of iron, coal and timber to the Monarch, but had been neglected during the Commonwealth.

Other responsibilities


The King's Remembrancer is responsible for nomination of the high sheriffs to each county of England and Wales (except Cornwall, who are selected by the Duke of Cornwall (i.e. the eldest son of the sovereign), and Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, who are selected by the Duke of Lancaster (i.e. the sovereign)), via the Pricking ceremony.[4]

The Remembrancer presents the Lord Mayor of the City of London to the Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Rolls and other High Court judges at the Royal Courts of Justice on Lord Mayor's Day.

The King's Remembrancer presents newly appointed Sheriffs of the City with a Writ of Approbation from the monarch, sealed with the Great Silver Seal of the Exchequer. This takes place at the same time as the Quit Rents.

List of Remembrancers


See also




FANSHAWE, Henry I (c.1506-68), of London.[9]


HATTON, Christopher II (c.1581-1619), of Clay Hall, Barking, Essex and Kirby Hall, Northants.[11]


  1. ^ a b Sarah Laskow (17 October 2016). "London Is Still Paying Rent to the Queen on a Property Leased in 1211". Atlas Obscura.
  2. ^ "Guildable Manor of Southwark". Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  3. ^ Mayor of London London assembly, Archived February 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "The Queen's Remembrancer and High Sheriffs". Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
  5. ^ Jessop, John: Nottingham
  6. ^
  7. ^ ODNB
  8. ^ R. Sewell and E. Lane, The Free Men of Charlwood Crawley, Sussex: Reprographic Centre, 1979, pp. 51–73.
  9. ^ a b "FANSHAWE, Henry I (c.1506-68), of London". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "HENRY FANSHAWE, QUEEN'S REMEMBRANCER". The National Archives. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b "HATTON, Christopher II (c.1581-1619), of Clay Hall, Barking, Essex and Kirby Hall, Northants". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Obituary", The Times [London, England] 19 October 1983: pg. 14. The Times Digital Archive; accessed 9 July 2013.
  13. ^ Letter from Chief Clerk to the Queen's Remembrancer dated 23 January 2014
  14. ^ "Senior Master Steven Whitaker" (PDF) (Press release). Judicial Conduct Investigations Office. 14 March 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  15. ^ Hyde, John (14 March 2014). "'Serious misconduct' finding against senior judge". The Law Society Gazette. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  16. ^ Harris, Joanne (17 March 2014). "E-discovery guru Whitaker resigns from judicial post after diary investigation". The Lawyer. Retrieved 20 March 2014.(subscription required)
  • J. C. Sainty (comp.), Officers of the Exchequer (List and Index Society, Special Series 18, 1983), 40.