History of the Lieutenancy

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenants are the representatives of the Crown for each county in the United Kingdom. They are appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. Their foremost duty is to uphold the dignity of the Crown.

Essentially non-political, Lord-Lieutenants give their time voluntarily.  The role is varied, the ceremonial aspect being only one part.  Aside from Royal duties, Lord-Lieutenants generally promote and encourage voluntary and charitable organisations and take an interest in the business, urban, rural and social life of the County.

The office of Lord-Lieutenant is military in origin and dates from the reign of Henry VIII when its holder was made responsible for the maintenance of order, and for all military measures necessary locally for defence.  It was not until 1921 that the Lord-Lieutenant finally lost the power to call on all able-bodied men of the county to fight in case of need.  Male Lord-Lieutenants wear a military-style navy blue uniform with scarlet stripes on the trousers and a scarlet band round the peaked cap.

The traditional links with the armed forces have been preserved in modern form in the association of the Lord-Lieutenant with the Volunteer Reserve Forces.  There are links too with other uniformed organisations, such as the Police, Fire and Ambulance Services and many voluntary bodies such as St John Ambulance, the Cadet Forces, Scouting and GirlGuiding.

From earliest days, Lord-Lieutenants have been associated with the Magistracy and the Lord-Lieutenant chairs the Lord Chancellor’s Local Advisory Committee for Cheshire on Justices of the Peace.

The shape of the County of Cheshire has changed much over the years.  The office of Lord-Lieutenant has been provided for in statute, most recently by the Lieutenancies Act 1997 which describes the area covered by the Cheshire Lieutenancy today.