The office of the High Sheriff is at least 1,000 years old, having its roots in Saxon times before the Norman Conquest.
Originally the office held many of the powers now vested in Lord-Lieutenants, High Court Judges, Magistrates, Coroners and Local Authorities.
The Shrievalty is the oldest secular office after the Crown and the area for which a Sheriff is appointed is usually called his/her "Bailiwick".
Appointed annually in April, the High Sheriff remains the Sovereign's representative in the county for matters relating to the judiciary and the maintenance of law and order.
High Sheriffs are responsible for duties conferred by the Crown through warrant from the Privy Council, which can include:
- ensuring the well-being and protection of High Court Judges on circuit
- acting as Returning Officer for parliamentary elections in the county constituencies
- proclaiming the accession of a new Sovereign
- a number of other ceremonial functions
There is an annual nomination ceremony on 12 November in the Royal Courts of Justice when three names are put forward for the Office of High Sheriff in each county. Subsequently the selection of a new High Sheriff from these names is made at a meeting of the Privy Council by the Sovereign when, by ancient custom, the appointed name is "pricked" with a silver bodkin.
The High Sheriff for 2017-2018 is Mr Geoffrey Probert.
He can be contacted at:
Phone: 01787 227237
Mobile: 07710 039465