History of the Office
The Office of Lord Lieutenant is military in origin and can be said to date from the reign of Henry VIII when its holder took over responsibility for the maintenance of order and for all military measures necessary for local defence. By 1569 provision was made for the appointment of deputies.
The Regulation of the Forces Act 1871 removed the Militia from the Lord Lieutenant’s direct control but it was not until 1921 that Lord Lieutenants finally lost the power to call on all able-bodied men of a county to fight in case of need.
The traditional links with the armed forces have been preserved in a modern form in the association of the Office of Lord Lieutenant with the Volunteer Reserve Forces and with other uniformed organisations such as the Police, Fire and Ambulance Services and many voluntary bodies such as the Red Cross, the Cadet Forces and other national and local Youth organisations
In recent years the sphere within which the Lord Lieutenant’s leadership role is exercised has come to include a wide range of matters, civil and defence, professional and voluntary. Lord Lieutenants are effective in such work largely because of their links to the Crown and the essentially voluntary and apolitical nature of their role.
From the earliest days the Office of Lord Lieutenant has been closely associated with the Magistracy and until the nineteenth century the Lord Lieutenant was appointed Clerk of the Peace.
The office is unpaid and the age of retirement is 75.