Earl Marshal

Earl Marshal
Earl Marshal
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Arms of Her Majesty's Government
Duke Edward Fitzalan-Howard, DL

since 24 June 2002
Style His Grace
Inaugural holder John Howard
Formation 1165

Earl Marshal (alternatively Marschal, Marischal or Marshall) is a hereditary royal officeholder and chivalric title under the sovereign of the United Kingdom used in England (then, following the Act of Union 1800, in the United Kingdom). It is the eighth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Constable and above the Lord High Admiral. The Earl Marshal has responsibility for the organisation of State funerals and the monarch's coronation in Westminster Abbey.[1] He is also a leading officer of arms.

The current Earl Marshal is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, who inherited the position in 2002. There was formerly an Earl Marshall of Ireland and Earl Marischal of Scotland.



The office of royal marshall existed in much of Europe, involving managing horses and protecting the monarch. The office became hereditary under John FitzGilbert the Marshal (served c.1130—1165) after The Anarchy. His second son William Marshal, later Earl of Pembroke made the office very important. He served under several Kings, acted as regent and organised funerals and the regent during Henry III's childhood. After passing through his daughter's husband to the Dukes of Norfolk it evolved into "Earl Marshal". The Earl Marshal is the eighth of the Great Officers of State, with the Lord High Constable above him and only the Lord High Admiral beneath him.

In the Middle Ages, the Earl Marshal and the Lord High Constable were the officers of the king's horses and stables. When chivalry declined in importance, the constable's post declined, and the Earl Marshal became the head of the College of Arms, the body concerned with all matters of genealogy and heraldry, although the Earl Marshal's connection with heraldry came about almost accidentally.[citation needed] In conjunction with the Lord High Constable he had held a court, known as the Court of Chivalry, for the administration of justice in accordance with the law of arms, which was concerned with many subjects relating to military matters, such as ransom, booty and soldiers' wages, and including the misuse of armorial bearings. The Marshal, as eighth Great Officer of State, has to organise coronations and the State Opening of Parliament.

In a declaration made on the 16 June 1673 by Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, the Lord Privy Seal, in reference to a dispute over the exercise of authority over the Officers of Arms the powers of the Earl Marshal were stated as "to have power to order, judge, and determine all matters touching arms, ensigns of nobility, honour, and chivalry; to make laws, ordinances, and statutes for the good government of the Officers of Arms; to nominate Officers to fill vacancies in the College of Arms; to punish and correct Officers of Arms for misbehaviour in the execution of their places". Additionally it was also declared that no patents of arms or any ensigns of nobility should be granted and no augmentation, alteration, or addition should be made to arms without the consent of the Earl Marshal.

Deputy Earls Marshal

The position of Earl Marshal had a Deputy called the Knight Marshal from the reign of Henry VIII until the office was abolished in 1846.[2]

Deputy Earls Marshal have been named at various times, discharging the responsibilities of the office during the minority or infirmity of the Earl Marshal. Prior to an Act of Parliament in 1824, Protestant deputies were required when the Earl Marshal was a Roman Catholic.


Among the men who have held the title of Earl Marshal of Ireland are William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, and Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex (1539–1576).


See Earl Marischal.

United Kingdom

The House of Lords Act 1999 removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, but the Act provided that the Earl Marshal and Lord Great Chamberlain continue for the time being to have seats so as to carry out their ceremonial functions in the House of Lords.

Lords Marshal of England, 1135–1397

Earls Marshal of England, 1397-present


  1. ^ "The history of the Royal heralds and the College of Arms". The College of Arms website. http://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/About/01.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  2. ^ p.288Money Barnes, Major R. The Soldiers of London Seeley, Service & Co 1963
  3. ^ Anne Mowbray Countess Marshal: Although Anne, Countess of Norfolk, Baroness Mowbray and Segrave is presumed to be the Countess Marshal, at the age of 7 on her marriage to the Duke of York, between 1476 and 1483 Sir Thomas Grey KT is said by Camden to have held the office of Earl Marshal. This hereditary claim to this office, probably descended from Sir Thomas Grey Kt (1359-1400), husband of Joan de Mowbray (1361-1410), daughter of John de Mowbray, 4th Baron Mowbray and Elizabeth de Segrave, 5th Baroness Segrave. Joan de Mowbray’s son was also called Sir Thomas GREY (1384-1415) was the Sheriff of Northumberland was born at Alnwick Castle, seat of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland. Thomas married Alice daughter of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmoreland. Another Sir John Grey KG (1386-1439) married Lady Margaret MOWBRAY (b.1388 or 1402-1459) eldest daughter of Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk (1366–1399) [Earl Marshal] and Lady Elizabeth FitzAlan (1366–1425). REF Complete Peerage. Volume V, L-M (1893) page 262

See also

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Earl Marshal — n. a high officer of state in England, marshal of state ceremonies and head of the Heralds College * * * …   Universalium

  • Earl Marshal — n. a high officer of state in England, marshal of state ceremonies and head of the Heralds College …   English World dictionary

  • Earl marshal — Earl mar shal An officer of state in England who marshals and orders all great ceremonials, takes cognizance of matters relating to honor, arms, and pedigree, and directs the proclamation of peace and war. The court of chivalry was formerly under …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Earl Marshal — Das Amt des Earl Marshal ist ein mittelalterlicher Titel des Ritterstands in England, Irland, Schottland und später im Vereinigten Königreich. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 England 2 Lords Marshal von England 1135 1397 3 Earls Marshal von En …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • earl marshal — The eighth great officer of state in England. At one time the earl marshal presided over the court of chivalry when it was held as a military court, or court of honor and when this court was held as a criminal court, it was presided over by the… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • earl marshal — noun Date: 13th century an officer of state in England serving chiefly as a royal attendant on ceremonial occasions, as marshal of state processions, and as head of the College of Arms …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • EARL MARSHAL —    a high officer of State, an office of very ancient institution, now the head of the college of arms, and hereditary in the family of the Dukes of Norfolk; formerly one of the chief officers in the court of chivalry, a court which had to do… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Earl Marshal — noun (in the UK) the officer presiding over the College of Arms, with ceremonial duties on various royal occasions …   English new terms dictionary

  • Earl Marshal — noun an officer of the English peerage who organizes royal processions and other ceremonies • Hypernyms: ↑peer …   Useful english dictionary

  • Earl marshal of England — Marshal Mar shal, n. [OE. mareschal, OF. mareschal, F. mar[ e]chal, LL. mariscalcus, from OHG. marah scalc (G. marschall); marah horse + scalc servant (akin to AS. scealc, Goth. skalks). F. mar[ e]chal signifies, a marshal, and a farrier. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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