1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lord High Constable
LORD HIGH CONSTABLE, in England, the seventh of the great officers of state. His office is now called out of abeyance for coronations alone. The constable was originally the commander of the royal armies and the master of the horse. He was also, in conjunction with the earl marshal, president of the court of chivalry or court of honour. In feudal times martial law was administered in the court of the lord high constable. The constableship was granted as a grand serjeanty with the earldom of Hereford by the empress Maud to Milo of Gloucester, and was carried by his heiress to the Bohuns, earls of Hereford and Essex. Through a coheiress of the Bohuns it descended to the Staffords, dukes of Buckingham; and on the attainder of Edward Stafford, third duke of Buckingham, in the reign of Henry VIII. it became merged in the crown. The Lacys and Verduns were hereditary constables of Ireland from the 12th to the 14th century; and the Hays, earls of Erroll, have been hereditary constables of Scotland from early in the 14th century.