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lords-lieutenant

lords-lieutenant came into existence at a time of considerable unrest after the death of Henry VIII. Protector Somerset appointed the earl of Shrewsbury in 1547 to be his lieutenant in the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, Derby, Shropshire, and Nottinghamshire and to muster the levies: other lieutenants were appointed a little later. The system was extended in 1549 when there was widespread rioting. Subsequent monarchs found it a useful office and the lord-lieutenant became the chief royal representative in each shire, usually, though not invariably, a leading nobleman. He suggested to the lord chancellor persons fit to serve on the bench and acquired, in the course of time, considerable electoral influence. The growth of a standing army and the reforms of 1871 deprived the lord-lieutenant of most of his military responsibilities, but social prestige remained.

J. A. Cannon

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