| England |
Secretary of State
Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of England from 1603 to 1649
|Member of||Privy Council|
|Appointer||The English Monarch|
|Term length||No fixed term|
|First holder||John Maunsell|
|Final holder||George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol|
In the Kingdom of England, the title of Secretary of State came into being near the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603), the usual title before that having been King's Clerk, King's Secretary, or Principal Secretary.
The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.
From the time of Henry VIII, there were usually two secretaries of state. After the restoration of the monarchy of 1660, the two posts were specifically designated as the Secretary of State for the Northern Department and the Secretary of State for the Southern Department. Both dealt with home affairs and they divided foreign affairs between them.
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.
The Restoration of the English monarchy took place in the Stuart period. It began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under King Charles II. This followed the Interregnum, also called the Protectorate, that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.
The Secretary of State for the Northern Department was a position in the Cabinet of the government of Great Britain up to 1782, when the Northern Department became the Home Office.
From early fourteenth century the Secretary became the third office of state in the kingdom. Most administrative business went through the royal household, particularly the Wardrobe. The Privy Seal's warrants increased rapidly in quantity and frequency during the late medieval period. The Signet warrant, kept by the Keeper of the Privy Seal, could be used to stamp documents on authority of chancery and on behalf of the Chancellor.During wartime the king took his privy seal on his person wherever he went. Its controller was the Secretary, who served on military and diplomatic missions; and the Wardrobe's clerks assumed an even greater importance.
The King's Wardrobe, together with the Chamber, made up the personal part of medieval English government known as the King's household. Originally the room where the king's clothes, armour, and treasure were stored, the term was expanded to describe both its contents and the department of clerks who ran it. Early in the reign of Henry III the Wardrobe emerged out of the fragmentation of the Curia Regis to become the chief administrative and accounting department of the Household. The Wardrobe received regular block grants from the Exchequer for much of its history; in addition, however, the wardrobe treasure of gold and jewels enabled the king to make secret and rapid payments to fund his diplomatic and military operations, and for a time, in the 13th-14th centuries, it eclipsed the Exchequer as the chief spending department of central government.
The Lord Privy Seal is the fifth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord President of the Council and above the Lord Great Chamberlain. Originally, its holder was responsible for the monarch's personal (privy) seal until the use of such a seal became obsolete. The office is currently one of the traditional sinecure offices of state. Today, the holder of the office is invariably given a seat in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.
The sovereigns of England had a clerical servant, at first known as their Clerk, later as their Secretary. The primary duty of this office was carrying on the monarch's official correspondence, but in varying degrees the holder also advised the Crown. Until the reign of King Henry VIII (1509–1547), there was usually only one such secretary at a time, but by the end of Henry's reign there was also a second secretary. At about the end of the reign of Henry's daughter Elizabeth I (1558–1603), the secretaries began to be called "Secretary of State".
Clergy are some of the main and important formal leaders within certain religions. The roles and functions of clergy vary in different religious traditions but these usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the terms used for individual clergy are clergyman, clergywoman and churchman. Less common terms are churchwoman, clergyperson and cleric.
The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their sub-divisions. Legally ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context. It is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capacity, as Head of the Commonwealth, or as the king or queen of his or her realms. It can also refer to the rule of law; however, in common parlance 'The Crown' refers to the functions of government and the civil service.
After the Restoration of 1660, the two posts came to be known as the Secretary of State for the Northern Department and the Secretary of State for the Southern Department. Both of the secretaries dealt with internal matters, but they also divided foreign affairs between them. One dealt with northern Europe (the mostly Protestant states) and the other with southern Europe. Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Cabinet took over the practical direction of affairs previously undertaken by the Privy Council, and the two secretaries of state gained ever more responsible powers.
The Secretary of State for the Southern Department was a position in the cabinet of the government of Kingdom of Great Britain up to 1782, when the Southern Department became the Foreign Office.
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III, Prince of Orange, who was James's nephew and son-in-law. William's successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army led to his ascension to the throne as William III of England jointly with his wife, Mary II, James's daughter, after the Declaration of Right, leading to the Bill of Rights 1689.
A Cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch. Members of a cabinet are usually called Cabinet ministers or secretaries. The function of a Cabinet varies: in some countries it is a collegiate decision-making body with collective responsibility, while in others it may function either as a purely advisory body or an assisting institution to a decision making head of state or head of government. Cabinets are typically the body responsible for the day-to-day management of the government and response to sudden events, whereas the legislative and judicial branches work in a measured pace, in sessions according to lengthy procedures.
Sir John Maunsell, Provost of Beverley Minster, was a king's clerk and a judge. He served as chancellor to King Henry III and was England's first secretary of state.
Franciscus Accursius (1225–1293) was an Italian lawyer, the son of the celebrated jurist and glossator Accursius. The two are often confused.
Sir John de Benstede KB (c.1275 –1323/4) was a prominent member of the English royal household in the late 13th and early 14th century. He was Prebendary of Sandiacre from 3 February 1297 until, presumably, 1308, when he married. He was also King's Secretary, and he served variously as keeper of the Great Seal and controller of the wardrobe. He also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1305-1306, and as a royal judge from 1309 onwards.
Wriothesley was the first secretary to share the office with a colleague.
For the subsequent period see:
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, was an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572. Albert Pollard says, "From 1558 for forty years the biography of Cecil is almost indistinguishable from that of Elizabeth and from the history of England."
William Paget, 1st Baron Paget of Beaudesert, was an English statesman and accountant who held prominent positions in the service of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I.
Sir Thomas Smith was an English scholar, parliamentarian and diplomat.
Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, KG was an English peer, secretary of state, Lord Chancellor and Lord High Admiral. A naturally skilled but unscrupulous and devious politician who changed with the times and personally tortured Anne Askew, Wriothesley served as a loyal instrument of King Henry VIII in the latter's break with the Catholic church. Richly rewarded with royal gains from the Dissolution of the Monasteries, he nevertheless prosecuted Calvinists and other dissident Protestants when political winds changed.
Sir Ralph Sadler PC, Knight banneret was an English statesman, who served Henry VIII as Privy Councillor, Secretary of State and ambassador to Scotland. Sadler went on to serve Edward VI. Having signed the device settling the crown on Jane Grey in 1553, he was obliged to retire to his estates during the reign of Mary I. Sadler was restored to royal favour during the reign of Elizabeth I, serving as a Privy Councillor and once again participating in Anglo-Scottish diplomacy. He was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in May 1568.
Sir William Petre was Secretary of State to four successive Tudor monarchs, namely Kings Henry VIII, Edward VI and Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I.
Sir Thomas Parry was a Comptroller of the Household to the English Queen Elizabeth I.
The Clerk to the Privy Council is a civil servant in Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, being Head of the Privy Council Office.
Events from the 1500s in England.
Thomas Smythe or Smith of London, Ashford and Westenhanger, Kent, (1522–1591) was the collector of customs duties in London during the Tudor period, and a Member of Parliament for five English constituencies. His son and namesake, Sir Thomas Smythe, was the first governor of the East India Company, treasurer of the Virginia Company, and an active supporter of the Virginia colony.
William Honnyng (1520–1569) was an English Member of Parliament and Tudor Court official who served as Clerk of the Signet and Clerk of the Privy Council under Henry VIII and Edward VI.
Elizabeth Stafford, also known as Dame Elizabeth Drury and – in the years prior to her death in 1599 – Dame (Lady) Elizabeth Scott, was the daughter of Sir William Stafford and Dorothy Stafford, and the wife of Sir William Drury. She was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth I. She and her first husband, Sir William Drury, entertained Queen Elizabeth I at Hawstead in 1578.
Sir John Herbert was a Welsh lawyer, diplomat and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1586 and 1611. He was Secretary of State under Elizabeth I and James I.
Sir Walter Cope of Cope Castle in the parish of Kensington, Middlesex, England, was Master of the Court of Wards, Chamberlain of the Exchequer, public Registrar-General of Commerce and a Member of Parliament for Westminster.
Sir Thomas Wroth was an English courtier, landowner and politician, a supporter of the Protestant Reformation and a prominent figure among the Marian exiles.
Sir Thomas Cornwallis was an English politician.