The office of Lord-Lieutenant has its origins in the Tudor period. Late in his reign, King Henry VIII (1509-1547) gave a commission of lieutenancy to a number of noblemen to raise and lead the local militia in the event of a Scottish or French invasion. On the accession of the Boy-King, Edward VI, in 1547, the unsettled conditions of a minority government led Protector Somerset to experiment with a more formal system of lieutenancies. In 1550 Parliament approved the principle that Lieutenants should be appointed ‘for the suppressing of any commotion, rebellions or unlawful assemblies’. Appointments were fitful until England was threatened by the Spanish Armada (1588), when Queen Elizabeth’s government issued commissions of lieutenancy for all the English and Welsh counties. These tended to be for life. King James I (1603-1625) reaffirmed the importance of the office.
There have been twenty-eight Lord-Lieutenants in this county since 1660, please see the full details on our West Riding Lord Lieutenants section.