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The Government of Scotland 1560-1625$
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Julian Goodare

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243549.001.0001

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Officers and Departments

Officers and Departments

(p.149) CHAPTER SEVEN Officers and Departments
The Government of Scotland 1560-1625

Julian Goodare (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the administrative structure of central government in Scotland, focusing on how officers of state supervised the departments that actually delivered the governing. The link between government ministers and departments can immediately be qualified so far as concerns the first minister, the chancellor. He had formal precedence over all other officers of state, and his department, the chancery, was responsible for the great seal. Its main function was to process the inheritance of land titles and the confirmation of land transfers between subjects, an important but largely mechanical task. The secretary was the second of the really prestigious officers. He too was intimately connected with the privy council: he was responsible for its records, and was expected to be present at all meetings if possible. The 16th-century secretary's main responsibility was foreign affairs, which could include the handling of Border policy. Other officers include the clerk register, treasurer, comptroller, exchequer, collector general, the court, and the crown's legal counsel. The duties and responsibilities of these officers are discussed.

Keywords:   central government, officers of state, government ministers, government departments, chancellor, comptroller, treasurer, legal counsel, exchequer

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