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Earl Marshal

This was one of the great offices of state. The Earl Marshal presided over the College of Arms and the High Court of Chivalry (making grants of arms and titles and judging disputes) and might deputise for the monarch in command of the armies or in emergency summoning of parliament. In the fifteenth century (until 1485) it was a hereditary office of the Dukes of Norfolk. The sixteenth century Dukes of Norfolk were granted the office for life only. When the fourth Duke was executed in 1572 the office was granted to the Earl of Shrewsbury and, on his death, it lapsed until Essex was appointed Earl Marshal in 1597. Essex seems to have intended to exploit the powers of the office.