Earl Marshal

Earl Marschal (or Marischal) is an ancient chivalric title used separately in England, Scotland and Ireland.

The Earl Marshal of England is a hereditary Royal officeholder under the King or Queen. The title was "Marshal" until William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, whose titles of "Earl" and "Marshal" were separate (although he is often referred to now as "Earl Marshal") made it stand for something. After it came into the family of the Dukes of Norfolk, it evolved into "Earl Marshal". The Earl Marshal is the eighth of the Great Officers of State, with the Lord High Constable above him and only the Lord High Admiral beneath him.

In the Middle Ages, the Earl Marshal and the Lord High Constable were the officers of the King's horses and stables. When chivalry declined in importance, the Constable's post disappeared, and the Earl Marshal became the head of the College of Arms, the body concerned with all matters of genealogy and heraldry, although the Earl Marshal's connection with heraldry came about almost accidentally. In conjunction with the Lord High Constable he had held a court, known as the Court of Chivalry, for the administration of justice in accordance with the law of arms, which was concerned with many subjects relating to military matters, such as ransom, booty and soldiers' wages, and including the misuse of armorial bearings. The Marshal, as eighth Officer of State, has to organise coronations and the State Opening of Parliament.

In a declaration made on the 16th June 1673 by the Earl of Anglesey, in reference to a dispute over the exercise of authority over the Officers of Arms the powers of the Earl Marshal were stated as "to have power to order, judge, and determine all matters touching arms, ensigns of nobility, honour, and chivalry; to make laws, ordinances, and statutes for the good government of the Officers of Arms; to nominate Officers to fill vacancies in the College of Arms; to punish and correct Officers of Arms for misbehaviour in the execution of their places". Additionally it was also declared that no patents of arms or any ensigns of nobility should be granted and no augmentation, alteration, or addition should be made to arms without the consent of the Earl Marshal.

Among the men who have held the title of Earl Marshal of Ireland are William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, and Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex (1539-1576).

Office Holder


Lord Marshals of England, 1135-1397

Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke 1135-1149
Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke 1149-1176
John Marshal 1176-1199
William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke 1199-1219
William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke  1219-1231
Richard Marshal, 3rd Earl of Pembroke 1231-1234
Gilbert Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke 1234-1242
Walter Marshal, 5th Earl of Pembroke 1242-1245
Anselm Marshal, 6th Earl of Pembroke 1245
Roger Bigod, 4th Earl of Norfolk 1245-1269
Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk 1269-1307
Robert de Clifford 1307-1308
Nicholas Segrave, Lord Segrave 1308-1315
Thomas Plantagenet of Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk 1315-1338
Margaret of Norfolk 1338-1377
Henry Percy, Lord Percy 1377
John Fitzalan, Lord Maltravers 1377-1383
Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Nottingham 1383-1397

Earls Marshals of England, 1397-1646

Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk 1397-1398
Thomas Holland, Duke of Surrey 1398-1399
Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland 1400-1412
John Mowbray, 2nd Duke of Norfolk 1412-1432
John Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk 1432-1461
John Mowbray, 4th Duke of Norfolk 1461-1476
Richard Plantagenet,Duke of York 1476-1483
John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk 1483-1485
William Berkeley, 1st Earl of Nottingham 1486-1497
Henry Tudor, Duke of York 1497-1509
Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk 1509-1524
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk 1524-1547
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset 1547-1549
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland 1549-1553
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk  restored 1553-1554
Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk 1554-1572
George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury 1572-1590
Commission 1590-1597
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex 1597-1601
Commission 1602-1603
Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester 1603
Commission 1604-1622
Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey 1622-1646

Today the duties of the Earl Marshal would likely be handled by several different military and defense department officials. There are many decisions to be made about which weapons the military will purchase for their personnel to use. Just determining whether to purchase a Springfield Hellcat for sale or other pistol is likely to take a long time due to the levels of government bureaucracy.


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