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History

THE SHRIEVALTY

The office of High Sheriff is the oldest secular office under the Crown. It is at least 1,000 years old, having its roots in Saxon times. 

 

The office of High Sheriff used to be one of significant power and influence. Over many centuries most of the local power which a Sheriff once had has been transferred to other organisations or officials, such as the County and Crown Court judges, magistrates, the police, the Revenue and Customs and the Local Authorities. The Sheriffs Act of 1887 consolidated the law relating to the office of High Sheriff, repeated that the office should be held for a year only and confirmed the historic process of nomination and selection by the Sovereign. 

 

Nominations for the Shrievalty are made each year in the Lord Chief Justice’s Court in the Royal Courts of Justice, on 12th November, the eve of Martinmas.  In March of each year the Roll of High Sheriffs in Nomination is submitted to the Sovereign, in a meeting of the Privy Council, who “pricks’ the High Sheriffs for the following year. This is done by pricking each name with a bodkin (sewing needle).  Queen Elizabeth I is generally believed to have originated the practice whilst engaged in embroidery, but in fact the real reason for pricking through vellum is more likely to have been so that the hole in the skin could never be repaired or removed and the appointment challenged. 

 

The year of office begins when the High Sheriff formally makes their "Declaration", usually in early April.

THE SHRIEVALTY IN HERTFORDSHIRE

 

In the year 959 King Edgar is believed to have established Hertford as the principal borough of the shire that bears its name. He appointed a 'Scirgerefa' or Shire Reeve to act in effect as governor of the new County, holding in his name both civil and military power.

In the early Middle Ages one Sheriff held office for both Essex and Hertfordshire. In 1567 a High Sheriff of Hertfordshire was separately appointed and the first female High Sheriff in Hertfordshire was appointed in 1983.

HERTFORDSHIRE'S HIGH SHERIFFS SINCE 1980:

 

1980 Michael Meredith Hardy - Baldock  
1981 Sir Gerard Sigismund Newman, Bart - Royston 
1982 John McMullen - Westmill  
1983 Lady Stuart-Smith JP, DL (Joan) - Abbotts Langley  
1984 Ralph Abel Smith - Woodhall Park  
1985 Gerald Chastel de Boinville MC TD - Walkern  
1986 Antony Woodall - Great Hormead  
1987 Harry Bott MBE DL - Benington  
1988 John Lockhart Wood JP DL- Great Gaddesden
1989 The Honourable Mrs Blount (Susan) - Barkway 
1990 Captain Charles Barclay - Brent Pelham  
1991 Richard Edmonds - Micklefield Hall  
1992 Henry Buxton DL - Wareside  
1993 Ted Harvey - Bishops Stortford  
1994 Lady Staughton JP DL (Joanna) - Sarratt 
1995 Nicholas Halsey TD DL - Great Gaddesden 
1996 Robert Edward Dimsdale DL - Barkway  
1997 Richard Walduck OBE JP DL - Hatfield  
1998 The Hon Richard Oakley Pleydell-Bouverie DL - Peters Green  
1999 Harry Morton Neal CBE - Sarratt  
2000 The Reverend Teddy Faure Walker DL - Sandon 
2001 Christopher Maurice Laing OBE DL - Ayot St Lawrence  
2002 The Countess of Verulam - St Albans  
2003 Lady Lyell (Susanna) - Markyate  
2004 Lady Nichols DL (Shelagh) - Bucks Hill 
2005 David McMullen DL - Westmill  
2006 William Tudor John DL - Willian 
2007 Howard Guard DL- Radlett  
2008 Paul Cherry - Weston 
2009 Janie Wentworth-Stanley DL- Great Munden 
2010 Gerald Corbett DL- Redbourn 
2011 Lord Charles Cecil DL- Hatfield 
2012 The Honourable Arabella Stuart-Smith - Bedmond  
2013 The Viscountess Trenchard - Standon  
2014 Fergus McMullen - Berden

2015 Jonathan Trower - Stanstead Bury

2016 Stelio Stefanou OBE DL - Welwyn

2017 Will Hobhouse - Sarratt

2018 Suzy Harvey - Bishop's Stortford

2019 Sarah Beazley - Westmill