The Lieutenancy

Stephen A Bunyan

Historically, the Lord-Lieutenants were permanent provincial governors appointed by the sovereign in Scotland as far back as 1438. Their duty was to raise the county against rebels, but their function was executive rather than judicial, though they could overrule the sheriffs. As the head of the magistracy, the militia and the yeomanry, they appointed officers for these. Responsible in emergencies for public tranquillity, they had permanent Deputy Lieutenants appointed by them but whose names were submitted to the sovereign. In modern times, in practice some of these functions were carried out by other agencies. Perhaps the biggest single change came with the formation of the Territorial Army before the Great War. The Regulation of the Forces Act of 1871 removed the direct control of the militia from the Lord-Lieutenants and in 1921 they lost the power to call on able-bodied men of the county to fight in case of need. The Lord-Lieutenants continued to be involved with the reserve forces; latterly, they were vice-presidents of Lowland TAVRA and from 1 April 2000, of its successor Lowland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association. The Lord-Lieutenant issued, and usually presented, certificates of meritorious service to officers and adult instructors in the Cadet Forces. He could also nominate a Lord-Lieutenant’s cadet to attend him on formal occasions. In recent times the Lord-Lieutenant took a lot of interest in cadet matters, but by then there were no reserve forces in East Lothian. The Lord-Lieutenant had links with the uniformed organisations such as the police and the fire service, the Red Cross, St John, St Andrew and national youth organisations.

The Lord-Lieutenant represented the Queen and his foremost duty was to uphold the dignity of the crown; it was at his discretion how he sought to promote a good atmosphere in the social and public and business life of the area. He was sometimes asked to present medals and awards on behalf of Her Majesty and he was a source of advice on honours. He or one of his Deputies attended, if invited, Remembrance Day parades. He also arranged visits of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family and welcomed and accompanied them on official visits to the area. He visited centenarians on their birthday and performed other appropriate duties for the well-being of the community and in support of charities.

Across Scotland, the Lieutenancies Act of 1997, which rationalised the position after local government reform, revised the situation. Her Majesty appointed Lord-Lieutenants and Vice-Lieutenants on the recommendation of the first minister and could disapprove of the proposed appointment of deputies across the 33 areas and the four historic cities.

In East Lothian, the clerk to the Lieutenancy was the chief executive of the county. Between 1945 and 2000, East Lothian had just three Lord-Lieutenants. The Marquis of Tweeddale from 1944-66; he died in 1967, aged 82. His successor, the Earl of Wemyss and March, held the post from 1967-87, retiring aged 75. The Vice-Lieutenant was Admiral Sir Peter Reid, who was succeeded in 1973 by Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple, Bt., G.C.V.O. (a Deputy Lieutenant from 1964).

Sir Hew became Lord-Lieutenant in 1987, serving until 9 April 2001. He in turn was to be succeeded by W Garth Morrison, CBE, who had been appointed a Deputy Lieutenant in 1984.

At the end of the period, there were nine Deputy Lieutenants: Sir Alexander Boswell; Mr Stephen Bunyan; Mrs Hazel Crichton; Sir Charles Fraser; Mr JDM Hardie; Mr Robin Salvesen; Mr John M Stevenson; Mrs Jane Stodart and Mr Michael Williams.