Lord Clerk Register

Lord Clerk Register

The office of Lord Clerk Register is the oldest surviving Great Officer of State in Scotland, with origins in the 13th century.

The Clerk-Register was from ancient times the principal Clerk in the kingdom, from whom all other clerks, whatever their government positions, and who were essentially his deputies, derived their immediate authority. He acted also as Clerk to the parliament and Privy Council, where in the old registers and proceedings of parliament he is referred to as "Clericus Rotulorum", because the ancient scripts were in rolls of paper, not books. These later became termed "Rotuli parliamenti", the rolls of court, but were thereafter ordered to be made up into Register books and the respective clerks instructed to transmit those books to the Clerk-Register to be preserved by him in the public archives. [ Scot, Sir John, of Scotstarvet, Director of Chancery, "The Staggering State of the Scots' Statesment, from 1550 to 1650", Edinburgh, 1754: xxxii - xxxiii]

By the Treaty of Union in 1707 the preservation of public records was provided for, and the election, and management thereof of the sixteen Scottish peers to the House of Lords in the new British parliament was ordered by the Lord Clerk-register, with two Clerks of Session commissioned by him to assist. [ Scot, Sir John, 1754: xxxiii]

The office formerly had other functions also: as well as the responsibility for public registers and records, the Clerk-register was Commissioner for the Regalia and Keeper of the Signet. Only the latter two remain and the office is now largely ceremonial in nature and carries no salary or special privileges.

The Lord Clerk Register (Scotland) Act 1879 provided that the Lord Clerk Register should continue as an Officer of State, but all his rights and duties with regard to the preservation of the public registers and records were transferred to the Deputy Clerk Register (now the Keeper of the Records of Scotland). The Lord Clerk Register remained responsible for the election of representative peers of Scotland until these were abolished in 1963.

The role has been largely honorific since 1806, when a Deputy Clerk Register was appointed.

The Lord Clerk Register is one of the Commissioners of the Regalia, under a Royal Commission of 1818, responsible for Scotland's Crown Jewels. In practice this responsibility was delegated to a deputy, then to the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer, and now to Historic Scotland. In 1996 the Commissioners were given additional responsibility for the Stone of Destiny under another Royal Warrant.

The role of Lord Clerk Register is combined with the role of Keeper of the Signet, which was given to the Lord Clerk Register in 1817.

The Scottish Executive announced on 27 April 2007 that the Queen had appointed Lord Mackay of Clashfern to the office, replacing the Earl of Wemyss and March. [ [http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2007/04/27102051 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2007/04/27102051] ]

Office Holders

"incomplete list" [ Scot, Sir John, 1754: 179-181, for lists to 1660]

* William, Bishop of St Andrews
* Simon de Quincy
* Nicolas, "Clericus" to Malcolm IV
* William de Bosch, Hugo, Galfrid, and Gregory, all served Alexander II
* 1253: William Capellanus and Alexander de Carrick
* 1323: Robert de Dunbar
* John Gray, appointed by Robert II
* 1426: John Schives, "decretorum director"
* 1440: Richard Craig, Vicar of Dundee
* 1442: George Shoriswood, Rector of Culter
* 1449: Sir John Methven
* 1450: John Arouse, Archdeacon of Glasgow
* 1455: Nicol Otterburn
* 1466: Fergus McDowall
* 1471: David Guthrie of that Ilk
* 1473: John Lang, Rector of Newlands, Glasgow
* 1477: Alexander Inglis, afterwards Deacon of Dunkeld
* 1482: Patrick Leith, Canon of Glasgow
* 1482: Alexander Scot, Rector of Wigton
* 1488: William Hepburn, Vicar of Linlithgow
* 1489: Richard Murehead, Deacon of Glasgow
* 1492: John Fraser, Rector of Restalrig
* 1497: Walter Drummond, Deacon of Dunblane
* 1500: Gavin Dunbar, Archdeacon of St Andrews, afterwards Bishop of Aberdeen
* Sir Stephen Lockhart, appointed by James IV
* 1531: Sir James Foulis of Colinton
* 1548: Sir Thomas Marjoribanks of Ratho
* 1554: James MacGill of Nether Rankeillour, Parson of Flisk
* 1565: James Balfour of Pittendreich
* 1567: James MacGill of Nether Rankeillour
* 1577: Alexander Hay, Lord Easter Kennet (d 1594)
* 1594-1612: Sir John Skene of Curriehill
* 1598: James Skeen, conjunct with his father
* 1612: Sir Thomas Hamilton, afterwards 1st Earl of Haddington
* 1612: Sir Alexander Hay of Whitburgh, Lord Newton
* 1616: Sir George Hay of Netherleiffe
* 1622: Sir John Hamilton of Magdalens, brother to the Earl of Haddington
* 1632: Sir John Hay, Lord Barra
* 1641: Sir Alexander Gibson, Lord Durie, younger of Durie
* 1649: Archibald Johnston, Lord Warriston
* 1660: Archibald Primrose, Lord Carrington, of Chester (until 1676)
* c1690: Sir Thomas Burnett, 3rd Baronet of Leys
* 1696-1702: Charles Douglas, 2nd Earl of Selkirk
* 1702: James Murray, Lord Philiphaugh (until 1708)
* 1714: Archibald Campbell, Earl of Ilay, 3rd Duke of Argyll
* 1716: James Graham, 1st Duke of Montrose
* 1716: Alexander Hume-Campbell, 2nd Earl of Marchmont, 2nd Lord Polwarth
* 1733: Charles Douglas, 2nd Earl of Selkirk
* 1739: William Kerr, 3rd Marquess of Lothian
* 1756: Alexander Hume Campbell
* 1760: James Douglas, 14th Earl of Morton
* 1768: Lord Frederick Campbell
* 1816: Archibald Campbell Colquhoun
* 1821: William Dundas
* 1841: James Andrew Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie
* 1862: Sir William Gibson Craig of Riccarton
* 1879: George Frederick Boyle, 6th Earl of Glasgow
* 1890: Douglas Beresford Malise Ronald Graham, 5th Duke of Montrose
* 1926: John Charles Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 7th Duke of Buccleuch, 9th Duke of Queensberry
* 1935: Walter John Francis Erskine, 12th Earl of Mar, 14th Earl of Kellie
* 1944: Sidney Herbert Elphinstone, 16th Baron Elphinstone
* 1956: Walter John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 8th Duke of Buccleuch, 10th Duke of Queensberry
* 1974: Francis David Charteris, 12th Earl of Wemyss and March
* 2007: James Mackay, Baron Mackay of Clashfern


ee also

* Registrar General for Scotland
* Lord Justice Clerk

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