The Treasurer of the Chamber was at various points a position in the British royal household.

13th century

The post of Treasurer of the Chamber first arose in the early 13th century. As part of the evolutionary changes that saw the Treasurer of the Exchequer become an office of state outside the King's Household, one of the Chamber Clerks took on responsibility for financial matters within the Household. The Treasurer of the Chamber had oversight of the Clerks (keepers) of the Wardrobe, among other duties; but in 1232 the office was merged into that of Keeper of the Wardrobe, being one of a number of offices held by Peter Des Rivaux; his successors were known interchangeably as Keepers or Treasurers of the Wardrobe, and the post survives today in the sinecure of Treasurer of the Household.[1]

14th century

In the reign of Edward II the influence of the Wardrobe diminished, and the Chamber regained its place of seniority within the Household. In order to enable the Chamber to serve as a source of funds for the monarch, income from certain lands confiscated by the Crown (namely those of Walter Langton and of the Knights Templar) were directed into the Chamber, one of whose Clerks took responsibility for their receipt. A generation later, under Edward III, this official had the title Receiver of the Chamber, but was also referred to as the Treasurer of the Chamber.[2] The Receiver tended to function as the executive head of the Chamber at this time, working under the titular head, the King's Chamberlain. In the 1330s-50s three Receivers held concurrently the offices of Keeper of the Mint and Keeper of the Privy Wardrobe, both at the Tower of London. The Privy Wardrobe was linked to the Chamber as a safe repository of jewels, plate and other treasures, as well as of arms, armour and artillery pieces.

In the 1350s moves were made which saw the Chamber lands and their incomes transferred to the Exchequer. Subsequently the role of the Receiver diminished. The post then went into abeyance for a time; when it was revived, its main focus was on custody of certain jewels and gold and silver vessels. In the last decade of the century, under Richard II, the office was again united with that of Keeper of the Privy Wardrobe in the person of John Lowick.[3]

15th-18th centuries

With the Privy Wardrobe specialising in armaments, a dedicated Jewel Office was set up in the early 15th century. The Black Book of Edward IV of England lists its chief officer as 'Keeper of the King's Jewels and Treasurer of the Chamber'.[3]

In 1485 the office of Treasurer of the Chamber was separated from that of the Master of the Jewel Office, situated within the Privy Chamber department of the Lord Steward. It became an important office of finance established by King Henry VII (1485-1509) to administer his new secretive and highly efficient system identified and named "Chamber Finance" by 20th-century historians,[4] which sought to mirror the operation of the Exchequer, which was inefficient and subject to parliamentary overview. The office was abolished in 1782.

List of treasurers of the chamber

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2008)

Treasurer of the Chamber

From 1232 this office was united with that of Keeper of the Wardrobe.

Receiver (or Treasurer) of the Chamber

Keeper of the King's Jewels and Treasurer of the Chamber

Treasurer of the Chamber

See also



  1. ^ Tout, T. F. (1920). Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England: volume I. Manchester University Press.
  2. ^ Tout, T. F. (1920). Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England: volume II. Manchester University Press.
  3. ^ a b Tout, T. F. (1928). Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England: volume IV. Manchester University Press.
  4. ^ Richardson, 1952
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj Tout, T. F. (1933). Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediaeval England: volume VI. Manchester University Press.
  6. ^ Otway-Ruthven, J. The King's Secretary and the Signet Office in the XV Century. p. 167.
  7. ^ a b c Myers, Alec Reginald (1959). The Household of Edward IV. Manchester University Press.
  8. ^ "".