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Keepers of the Kingdom: The Ancient Offices of Britain Hardcover – 1 Sep 1999

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vendome Pr (Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865652023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865652026
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 2.5 x 29.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 361,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought it for the bit on Town Criers, but the book is stuffed with these surprising and odd offices and officers dotted round the country.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8f6a6150) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ec7bda4) out of 5 stars Delightful 6 Jun. 2001
By Chris Johnson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The American Revolution was unfortunate in one minor respect. United States national politics and governance is terribly boring. The office-holders on this side of the Atlantic are called President, Senator, Congressman, Under-Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs and other dull republican titles. We don't get to have a High Almoner, a Swan Marker, a Boy Bishop, or any of the other offices the British have accumulated over the centuries. Not even an Herb Strewer.
This book examines the histories of many of Britain's historic offices, both ancient and relatively modern. The office-holders are beautifully photographed, many in their distinctive dress and regalia. Many of these stories are fascinating. I never knew, for example, that the Bishop of Norwich is also legally the Abbot of St. Benet-at-Holme or that anyone visiting the Hospital of St. Cross can still get the Wayfarer's Dole, a piece of bread and a cup of beer, merely by asking for it.
Essential for anyone interested in history. Also, a fascinating read.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ec7e300) out of 5 stars Fascinating 3 Aug. 2000
By Thomas A.J. Moore - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It's quite fascinating to see what went to managing a kingdom. Even though many of these are largely cermonaly now, it's still makes me think what it must have been like in England's hey day when all of these people where at the height of their power.
The pictures and writing are top notch.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ed73798) out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into Britain's fusty institutions 23 April 2004
By Gavin Wilson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If you have any interest in Britain's history and institutions, this is a great coffee table book to own. If, for example, you're a law student, and you want to know what the rolls, as kept by the Master of the Rolls, look like, there's a photo here, with a full page description of the office.
If you're British and you aspire to any of these grand old posts, with or without the ermine, this is probably a good book to start plotting your ascent.
I've also read the slightly more recent 'Jubilee' edition (which I gave to my father as a present and is available from Only a few of the entries have changed, largely to reflect the replacement of Conservative politicians by their Labour equivalents.
If you want another analysis of where the power lies in Britain today, but without the photos, read Anthony Sampson's excellent 'Who Runs this Place?'.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ee16774) out of 5 stars I'd like to be the Historiographer Royal 31 Jan. 2009
By Michael K. Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If you live in Britain and you need a job, you might consider applying to be the Queen's Bargemaster, or the Common Cryer of the city of London, or even the Master of the Rolls. The pay isn't much, but you get to wear a uniform. What Bruce, a well-known historical commentator for the BBC, has done is to research several dozen traditional positions and honours with roots as ancient as the Anglo-Saxons or as recent as the mid-20th century, to provide a brief history of each, and to describe the present holder of each, including comments on what he does in the real world. Because, while many of these are associated with particular titles in the peerage, or with feudal baronies, some are the province of local landowners or professional men. Some, like the Boy Bishop of Hereford, were in abeyance for generations, being revived only under the present monarch. Some, like the Captain of Tynwald, involve real responsibility and legal training. Being the Lord of the Manor of Worksop, on the other hand, only takes money -- but you get to present a fancy glove to the monarch at the next coronation. Each article also includes a an artful portrait. If you're a closet medievalist, or a student of the peerage, or merely a collector of fascinating historical trivia, you will find a great deal of material in this thoroughly delightful volume that is unknown even to most Brits.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8efa7630) out of 5 stars Current Holders Of Ancient British Titles 9 Oct. 2009
By T. W. Herbst - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had the pleasure of meeting Alastair Bruce and hearing several lectures by him on English and Scottish history recently on a cruise of the British Isles. He is a direct descendent of Robert Bruce an early King of Scotland and is very knowledgeable of the history of the region. The narrative is well done and the photography is excellent. A new addition will probably be even better and include the Queen Mother.
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