The Militia Act 1802 provided for the appointment of lieutenants to "Lieutenants for the Counties, Ridings, and Places" in England and Wales, and gave them command of the county militia. In the case of towns or cities which were counties of themselves, the "chief magistrate" (meaning the mayor, chief bailiff or other head of the corporation) had the authority to appoint deputy lieutenants in the absence of an appointment of a lieutenant by the crown.
The Regulation of the Forces Act 1871 removed the lieutenant as head of the county militia, as the jurisdiction, duties and command exercised by the lieutenant were revested in the crown, but the power of recommending for first appointments was reserved to the lieutenant.
The Militia Act 1882 revested the jurisdiction of the lieutenants in the crown.
The lieutenancies were reestablished on a new basis by Section 29 of the 1882 Act which stated that "Her Majesty shall from time to time appoint lieutenants for the several counties in the United Kingdom". Counties for lieutenancy purposes were also redefined as "a county at large, with the exception that each riding of the county of York shall be a separate county". The text of the letters patent appointing lieutenants under the act stated they were to be:
...Our Lieutenant of and in the County of X and of all cities boroughs liberties places incorporated and privileged and other places whatsoever within the said county and the limits and precincts of the same.
This was a formal recognition of the situation that had existed since 1662 that the lieutenancies for the majority of counties corporate in England were held jointly with their associated county - for example a lieutenant was now appointed for "the County of Gloucester, and the City and County of Gloucester, and the City and County of City of Bristol".
Haverfordwest was permitted to retain a lieutenant while the Tower Hamlets and Cinque Ports were to be continue to be regarded as counties for lieutenancy purposes.
From 1889 lieutenancy counties in England and Wales were to correspond to groupings of administrative counties and county boroughs established by the Local Government Act 1888. The creation of a new County of London also led to the ending of the Tower Hamlets lieutenancy. The Act also extinguished the lieutenancy of the Cinque Ports.
Section 69 of the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 realigned the lieutenancy counties with the new administrative counties created by the Act. The one exception was County Tipperary, which although administered by two county councils, was to remain united for lieutenancy. In contrast to the legislation in England and Wales, each county borough was to have its own lieutenant, and those counties corporate not made county boroughs were abolished. The effect of this was to create a lieutenant for the county boroughs of Belfast and Londonderry, and to abolish those for the city of Kilkenny, borough of Drogheda and town of Galway.
The office of lieutenant was honorary, and held during the royal pleasure, but virtually for life. Appointment to the office is by letters-patent under the great seal. Usually, though not necessarily, the person appointed lieutenant was also appointed custos rotulorum or keeper of the rolls. Appointments to the county bench of magistrates were usually made on the recommendation of the lieutenant.
Read more about this topic: Lord Lieutenant
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