Steward (office)
A steward is an official who is appointed by the legal ruling monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 to represent him or her in a country, and may have a mandate to govern it in his or her name; in the latter case, it roughly corresponds with the position of governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 or deputy (the Roman rector
Roman governor
A Roman governor was an official either elected or appointed to be the chief administrator of Roman law throughout one or more of the many provinces constituting the Roman Empire...

, praefectus
Prefect is a magisterial title of varying definition....

or vicarius
Vicarius is a Latin word, meaning substitute or deputy. It is the root and origin of the English word "vicar" and cognate to the Persian word most familiar in the variant vizier....

). It was also a term used to refer to the chief servant of a landed estate.


From Old English stíweard, stiȝweard, from stiȝ "hall, household" + weard "wikt:warden, keeper"; corresponding to Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

: stadhouder, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 Statthalter "place holder", a Germanic parallel to French lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...


The Old English term stíweard is attested from the 11th century. Its first element is most probably stiȝ- "house, hall" (attested only in composition; its cognate stiȝu is the ancestor of Modern English sty
A sty or pigsty is a small-scale outdoor enclosure for raising domestic pigs. It is sometimes referred to as a hog pen, hog parlor, pigpen, pig parlor, or pig-cote. Pigsties are generally fenced areas of bare dirt and/or mud. Both "sty" and "pigpen" are used as derogatory descriptions of dirty,...

). Old French estuard and Old Norse stívarðr are adopted from the Old English.

The German and Dutch term (Middle High German
Middle High German
Middle High German , abbreviated MHG , is the term used for the period in the history of the German language between 1050 and 1350. It is preceded by Old High German and followed by Early New High German...

 stat-halter) is a parallel but independent formation (a calque
In linguistics, a calque or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word or root-for-root translation.-Calque:...

 of lieutenant) corresponding to obsolete English stead holder (stede haldare 1456; also stedys beryng (1460), sted-haldande (1375) steadward, steadsman).

In medieval times, the steward was initially a servant who supervised both the lord's estate and his household. However over the course of the next century, other household posts expanded and involved more responsibilities. This meant that in the 13th century, there were commonly two stewards in each house—one who managed the estate and the other, the majordomo, to manage domestic routine. Stewards commonly earned up to 3 to 4 pounds
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 per year. Stewards took care of their lord's castles when they were away. Also, stewards checked on the taxes of the serfs on his lord's manor
-Land tenure:*Manor, an estate in land of the mediaeval era in England*Manorialism, a system of land tenure and organization of the rural economy and society in parts of medieval Europe based on the manor*Manor house, the principal house of a manor...



The Lord High Steward
Lord High Steward
The position of Lord High Steward of England is the first of the Great Officers of State. The office has generally remained vacant since 1421, except at coronations and during the trials of peers in the House of Lords, when the Lord High Steward presides. In general, but not invariably, the Lord...

 of England held a position of power in the 12th to 14th centuries, and the Lord Steward
Lord Steward
The Lord Steward or Lord Steward of the Household, in England, is an important official of the Royal Household. He is always a peer. Until 1924, he was always a member of the Government...

 is the first dignitary of the court. The Stewart
Stewart is a popular Scottish given name and surname. The word Stewart is derived from an occupational surname. It originally belonged to a person who was a steward by profession. It is derived from a combination of two Old English words, the word stig, which means house, and the word weard, which...

 family traces its appellation to the office of the High Steward of Scotland
High Steward of Scotland
The title of High Steward or Great Steward was given in the 12th century to Walter Fitzalan, whose descendants became the House of Stewart. In 1371, the last High Steward inherited the throne, and thereafter the title of High Steward of Scotland has been held as a subsidiary title to that of Duke...

. Lord High Steward of Ireland
Lord High Steward of Ireland
The Lord High Steward of Ireland is a hereditary Great Officer of State in Ireland, sometimes known as the Hereditary Great Seneschal. The Earls of Shrewsbury have held the office since the 15th century....

 is a hereditary office held since the 15th century.

Low Countries

In the Netherlands, it developed into a rare type of de facto hereditary head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 of the thus crowned Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...


Stadtholders were appointed by feudal lords to govern parts of their territory. Stadtholders could be appointed for the whole or parts of their territory by the local rulers of the independent province
Seventeen Provinces
The Seventeen Provinces were a personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century, roughly covering the current Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France , and a small part of Western Germany.The Seventeen Provinces were originally held by...

s in the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

, e.g. the Duke of Gelre appointed a stadtholder to represent him in Groningen
Groningen (province)
Groningen [] is the northeasternmost province of the Netherlands. In the east it borders the German state of Niedersachsen , in the south Drenthe, in the west Friesland and in the north the Wadden Sea...

. In the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

 (which included present-day Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 and Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

) from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, this was originally an essentially honorary title awarded by the Spanish Habsburg kings to major noblemen in each province. But its nature changed drastically.

Danish Statholder

  • In Denmark, a ministerial high office of royal governor in the capital, at Copenhagen Castle
    Copenhagen Castle
    Copenhagen Castle was a castle on Slotsholmen in Copenhagen, Denmark, built in the late 14th century at the site of the current Christiansborg Palace....

Norwegian Statholder

In Norway the office of Statholder existed both during the Dano-Norwegian personal union from 1536 to 1814 and during the Swedish-Norwegian personal union from 1814 until it was abolished in 1873. During the latter, the office was also known as Rigsstatholder, i.e. Lieutenant of the Realm. The Statholder governed Norway on behalf of the King. As Norway was a separate kingdom with its own laws and institutions, it was arguably the most influential office in both Denmark-Norway and in the Swedish-Norwegian realm second to that of the king. The office was sometimes held by the Crown Prince, who was styled as Viceroy.

The term Statholder (from German Statthalter) means "place holder", i.e. the one governing on behalf of the king. The modern Norwegian spelling is stattholder.

Eastern Europe

The Russian equivalent of "stadtholder" is posadnik
Posadnik was the mayor in some East Slavic cities or towns. Most notably, the posadnik was the mayor of Novgorod and Pskov...

; the term sometimes occurs as "stadtholder" in English-language literature. Although there were such legendary posadniks as Gostomysl
Gostomysl is a legendary 9th-century posadnik of Novgorod who was introduced into the historiography by Vasily Tatishchev, an 18th-century historian. Gostomysl's rule is associated with the confederation of Northern tribes, which was formed to counter the Varangian threat in the mid-9th century...

 (9th century), the term first appeared in the Primary Chronicle
Primary Chronicle
The Primary Chronicle , Ruthenian Primary Chronicle or Russian Primary Chronicle, is a history of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113.- Three editions :...

 under the year of 997 to denote the most senior official of an Eastern Slavic town. The earliest posadniks of the city of Novgorod (Holmgard) include a dynasty composed of Dobrynya
Dobrynya was Vladimir the Great's maternal uncle and tutor who was later transformed into the invincible bogatyr Dobrynya Nikitich in the Russian folklore....

, his son Konstantin Dobrynich
Konstantin Dobrynich
Konstantin Dobrynich was an 11th-century posadnik of Novgorod. According to the Novgorod chronicles, he was the son of Dobrynya and wielded great influence at the court of his own cousin, Yaroslav the Wise....

 and Ostromir
Ostromir was a statesman, voivod and posadnik of Novgorod in 1054-1057 and probably for some decades previous....


See also

  • Bailli
    A bailli was the king’s administrative representative during the ancien régime in northern France, where the bailli was responsible for the application of justice and control of the administration and local finances in his baillage...

  • Butler
    A butler is a domestic worker in a large household. In great houses, the household is sometimes divided into departments with the butler in charge of the dining room, wine cellar, and pantry. Some also have charge of the entire parlour floor, and housekeepers caring for the entire house and its...

  • Castellan
    A castellan was the governor or captain of a castle. The word stems from the Latin Castellanus, derived from castellum "castle". Also known as a constable.-Duties:...

  • Chamberlain (office)
    Chamberlain (office)
    A chamberlain is an officer in charge of managing a household. In many countries there are ceremonial posts associated with the household of the sovereign....

  • Mayor of the Palace
    Mayor of the Palace
    Mayor of the Palace was an early medieval title and office, also called majordomo, from the Latin title maior domus , used most notably in the Frankish kingdoms in the 7th and 8th centuries....

  • Seneschal
    A seneschal was an officer in the houses of important nobles in the Middle Ages. In the French administrative system of the Middle Ages, the sénéchal was also a royal officer in charge of justice and control of the administration in southern provinces, equivalent to the northern French bailli...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.