Serjeant-at-Arms of the British House of Commons

Serjeant-at-Arms of the British House of Commons


The Serjeant at Arms of the British House of Commons is an official responsible for the security of the House of Commons. The office dates to 1415.

The House of Lords also had a Serjeant-at-Arms (the title was often distinguished by the use of hyphens), whose duties were merged in 1971 with those of Black Rod.[1]

In October 2011, the then Serjeant at Arms, Jill Pay, announced that she would retire in January 2012.[2] Michael Naworynsky undertook relevant responsibilities on an "acting" basis,[3] before Lawrence Ward acquired the role in April 2012.[4]

Duties

The duties of the Serjeant at Arms are partly ceremonial. The Serjeant at Arms carries the mace during the opening of Parliament and is also responsible for security during debates in the House of Commons, escorting Members out of the Chamber if ordered to do so by the Speaker.

Dress

The Serjeant at Arms wears traditional dress and carries a sword,[5] and is traditionally the only person allowed inside the House armed.

List of Serjeants at Arms

  • 1415–: Nicholas Maundit
  • 1610–: Edward Grimston
  • Edward Dendy snr
  • c.1645: Edward Dendy jnr
  • 1660–1675: James Norfolk [6]
  • 1675–1693: William Bishop [6]
  • 1693–1709: Samuel Powell [6]
  • 1709–1717: Thomas Wybergh [6]
  • 1717–1737: Thomas Spence [7]
  • 1737–1762: Wentworth Odiarne [6]
  • 1762–1775: Nicholas Bonfoy [8]
  • 1775–1805: Edward Colman [9]
  • 1805–1811: Francis John Colman [6]
  • 1812–1812: John Clementson [6]
  • 1812–1835: Henry Seymour [6]
  • 1835–1848: Sir William Gosset [10]
  • 1848–1875: Charles James Fox Russell [11]
  • ?1875–1885: Sir Ralph Allen Gosset KCB[12]
  • 1885–1915: Sir Henry David Erskine KCVO
  • 1915–1935: Sir Colin Richard Keppel KCVO GCVO
  • ?–1957: Sir Charles Howard
  • 1957–?1961: Ivor Thomas Percival Hughes KCVO
  • 1961–1976: Alexander Henry Charles Gordon-Lennox KCVO [13]
  • 1976–1982: Sir Peter Francis Thorne KCVO
  • 1982–1989: Sir Victor Le Fanu KCVO
  • 1989–1995: Sir Alan Urwick KCVO, CMG
  • 1995–1999: Sir Peter Jennings CVO
  • 2000–2005: Sir Michael Cummins
  • 2005–2007: Major General Peter Grant Peterkin CB, OBE
  • 2008–2012: Jill Pay
  • 2012–present: Lawrence Ward

See also

References