History in the making as Hertfordshire’s new sheriff rides in

High Sheriff handover: left to right: Sir Jeremy Stuart-Smith (High Court Judge); James Williams (Un

High Sheriff handover: left to right: Sir Jeremy Stuart-Smith (High Court Judge); James Williams (Under Sheriff); Jonathan Trower (High Sheriff of Hertfordshire); Fergus McMullen (outgoing High Sheriff of Hertfordshire); Rev Chris Briggs (Chaplain to the High Sheriff) – taken at the Declaration Ceremony at Stanstead Bury on Saturday, 28th March. - Credit: Archant

A new name has been added to the long list of people who have occupied the oldest secular office in the land.

The job of High Sheriff – the monarch’s representative in a county – dates back to at least 992 AD when sheriffs were appointed to collect taxes on behalf of Saxon kings.

In the 21st century the office is an annual appointment, made by the Queen every March.

She uses a bodkin to mark the name of each High Sheriff in the 55 counties of England and Wales – it is said that the ceremony dates back to when the Privy Council interrupted Queen Elizabeth I while she was busy with her embroidery.

The new representative in Hertfordshire is Jonathan Trower, who was declared at a church service which required him to swear an oath in front of a High Court judge.

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Although the High Sheriff’s wide-ranging medieval powers are long gone, the holder of the office is still the sovereign’s representative for matters relating to justice and law and order and is the official returning officer for all of the county’s parliamentary constituencies. The office is independent and non-political.

Jonathan and his wife Gini, who teaches in a number of Hertfordshire schools, are keen to support the educational sector, given the clear links between a good education, justice and crime reduction.

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He said: “I am immensely looking forward to the opportunity that this office offers to provide support, encouragement and help to the judiciary, the police, the armed forces and all the other organisations across the county involved in the maintenance of law and order.

“I also hope that I can play my part in supporting the statutory and voluntary sectors more generally.

“For most of us, Hertfordshire is a wonderful place in which to live, but it can be even better; and it can be better for more of us.”

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