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The official who guarded the Norman treasure at Winchester in the reign of William I seems to have been more of a custodian than a minister or counsellor. The modern office has been traced back to the reign of Henry I, c.1126, and quickly established itself as of major importance. The title lord treasurer, or lord high treasurer, came into use in the Tudor period. But from 1612 the practice grew up of putting the Treasury into commission and the last lord high treasurer was Lord Rochester 1679–84. That opened the way for the 1st lord of the Treasury to become the head of government or first minister. As the demands on the prime minister increased and financial questions became more complex, the office of chancellor of the Exchequer rose in importance.

Subjects: British History.

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