Colourful spectacle for an historic event at Lancaster Castle

4 June 2014

The annual High Sheriff's Shield Hanging Ceremony has taken place in Lancaster Castle's gothic Shire Hall.

The High Sheriff of Lancashire, Dr Barry Johnson has hung his shield in the Shire Hall – alongside 650 other shields dating back to Richard the Lionheart.

This colourful spectacle, complete with Lancashire police horses and a stunning array of costumes, dates back several hundred years. It is one of Lancashire's most prestigious ceremonial events.

Preston-born Barry said: "My wife Carolyn and I are very proud to come from a long line of Lancastrians. I view it as an enormous privilege and honour to be chosen for this ancient and traditional role.

"Each High Sherif! f’s Shield has an individual Coat of Arms portraying significant characteristics of their professions and interests. As a former veterinarian, the cow's head on my shield represents the many generations of farmers in my family and the basis of my practice. The two horses heads represent the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and my chairmanship of World Horse Welfare.

"I feel very proud and privileged to hang my shield in the Shire Hall, alongside my predecessors and even previous kings of England."

The Shire Hall houses a splendid array of over 650 shields, bearing the coat of arms of every English monarch since King Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199), as well as all the Constables of Lancaster Castle and former High Sheriffs of Lancashire.

The Shield Hanging ceremony began with a service in the magnificent Priory Church. People then made their way to the Shire Hall, where the Under Sheriff read the historic High Sheriff's Patent! .

They were joined at the event by various civic figures including the Mayor of Lancaster, Susie Charles; the Chairman of Lancashire County Council, Kevin Ellard; and the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth; as well as Judges of the High Court, and representatives from Lancashire Police and other organisations.

The toast was proposed by Lord Sandy Trees of Ross – a fellow veterinary surgeon.

The High Sheriff of Lancashire's role stretches back to at least the middle of the 10th century. The office is held for a year.


Note to editors
The attached photograph High Sheriff Shield 1.jpg shows the High Sheriff Barry Johnson with his wife Carolyn.
The photograph High Sheriff Shield 2.jpg shows the High Sheriff with Lord Shuttleworth, the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire.

Background information
The Office of the High Sheriff is the oldest secular dignitary under the Crown and its origins date ba! ck to the middle of the 10th Century.
The functions of the High Sheriff at one time included those exercised by the Police Force, Local Government, the Court Administrator’s Office and the Lieutenancy.
Today, the office is purely ceremonial, with the responsibility for executing High Court Writs having passed to High Court Enforcement Officers under the Courts Act 2003 and his/her main duty is to protect and assist in upholding the dignity and wellbeing of Her Majesty's Judges.
It is an appointment made by Her Majesty The Queen in her right as Duke of Lancaster.
The persons for appointment are recommended by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who annually, at a personal audience, places the Lites before The Queen. The Lites is an engrossed parchment offering the names of the nine selected persons, three for each of the Counties in the Duchy area, for Her Majesty's approval.

For further information please contact: Stephen Axon on 01! 772 533 194
[email protected]

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