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High Sheriff

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  • The office of High Sheriff has its roots in Saxon times and is the oldest continuous secular office under the Crown. It was first written about at the time of King Canute – in the 1020’s.
  • The word ‘Sheriff’ is derived from ‘Shire Reeve’ – the office of a Reeve being a chief magistrate, in this case responsible for law enforcement for the shire. Shire means county.
  • Originally the office held many of the powers now vested in the Lord-Lieutenant, High Court Judges, Magistrates, Local Authorities, Coroners and the Inland Revenue.
  • High Sheriffs represent The Sovereign in their counties in upholding all matters relating to the Judiciary and maintaining law and order, tasks in practice principally delegated to the Chief Constable of Police. Their responsibilities are conferred by the Crown through warrant from the Privy Council.

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