Craig Mitchell

High Sheriff of Rutland 2017 - 2018

The office of High Sheriff in England and Wales is at least 1,000 years old and is a Royal Appointment by the Crown. The First High Sheriff of Rutland was appointed in 1129 and was a gentleman by the name of William de Albeni, the Breton. Albeni held the position for 26 years and it was common then for the High Sheriff to be in post for many years and also to be re-appointed for a second or third term. The High Sheriff was not popular as, amongst other things, he was the King’s appointed tax collector. He was a powerful individual who was entitled to raise a posse of men to pursue and capture a criminal on the run – hence the expression “Hue and Cry”.

Today the principal duties of the High Sheriff are to support the Lord Lieutenant on Royal visits and on other occasions as appropriate, to offer hospitality and support to visiting High Court judges and to represent the Sovereign on matters of Law and Order.

The High Sheriff is also expected to assist and encourage voluntary and third sector organisations, particularly those involved in the maintenance of Law and Order. Each High Sheriff will approach his or her year differently depending on individual skills and experience and their particular areas of interest.

The office is non-political and unpaid.

The word “Sheriff” is a contraction of the term “Shire Reeve”, a royal official responsible for keeping the peace throughout a shire or county on behalf of the monarch. The office of Sheriff had its origins in the 10th Century reaching the height of its power under the Norman kings. Of the 63 clauses of Magna Carta 27 referred directly or indirectly to the Sheriffs. The Provisions of Oxford (1258) established a yearly tenure of office and the duties of the Sheriff have been redefined many times since then. The Sheriff’s association with Law and Order continues to this day.