There are excellent lists of English officers of state in the Handbook of British Chronology issued by the Royal Historical Society in 1939. Other lists, which include the offices of Marshal and Admiral, are to be found in the Complete Peerage, by G. E. C. (vol. ii, Appendix D., ed. Vicary Gibbs, 1912). A list of the king's secretaries and one of the secretaries of state are to be found in The Principal Secretary of State, by Mrs. Higham ( 1923). Lists of officers for the end of the period are furnished by J. G. Nichols in preface xv of the Diary of Henry Machyn ( Camden Society, 1848). Useful lists of all officers are included in Hadyn's Book of Dignities ( 1851), though these must be treated with some caution; the chancery lists, however, are founded on the excellent catalogue of Thomas Duffus Hardy ( 1843).
The lists here presented have been checked against original authorities whenever possible. Where they are founded upon the Handbook of British Chronology and upon the Complete Peerage, they may be regarded as authoritative; for some of the less important officials, however, it has been impossible to establish exact dates of appointment, and even to be sure, for some dates, whether the office was occupied at all. It may be remarked that in the case of Charles Somerset, later earl of Worcester, J. E. Doyle in his Official Baronetage of England ( 3 vols., 1886) cites an entry in the Patent Roll which has not been identified in Letters and Papers, but which seems likely to be correct. No doubt further research will close existing gaps.
The presentation of the titles along with the names of the officers of state will make identification simpler. Incidentally, it will serve to show how many ministeriales were 'new men'; no doubt they came from substantial families, but most of them had not the honour of simple knighthood at the start of their careers.
The outlines of a cursus honoris appear; it may be remarked that the early masters of the rolls, who were clerks, resigned on obtaining a see, and that when a commoner became lord keeper or chancellor he was given a title.
The brief biographies supplied with the list of speakers will serve to show that the speaker was usually a man experienced in the service of the Crown.
|1485, 18 Sept.|| Thomas Rotherham, alias Scott, bishop of Rochester|
1468-72, bishop of Lincoln 1472-80, archbishop of
|1485, 7 Oct.|| John Alcock, bishop of Rochester 1472-6, bishop of|
Worcester 1476-86, bishop of Ely 1486-1500.
|1487, 6 Mar.|| John Morton, bishop of Ely 1479-86, archbishop of|
Canterbury 1486-1500; cardinal 1493.
|1504, 21 Jan.|| William Warham, bishop of London 1502-3, archbishop|
of Canterbury 1503-32. He had been keeper of the