History of the Office of Lord Lieutenant
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.