High Sheriff of Lancashire’s shield hanging ceremony at Lancaster Castle

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Lancashire's new High Sheriff Robert Mitchel Webb has added to centuries of tradition by hanging his family shield at Lancaster Castle's Shire Hall.

The coat of arms now hangs alongside more than 650 shields 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 ancient shield-hanging ceremony is a colourful and historic spectacle featuring a fanfare of trumpets and a stunning array of costumes.

Before the ceremony, a service is held in the Priory Church with guests then making their way to the Shire Hall, where the Under Sheriff read the High Sheriff's Patent. At this point, the High Sheriff presents his shield to the Constable of the Castle and seeks permission to hang it in the Shire Hall.

Robert Mitchel Webb JP DL, a Director of the John Hogg Group, has been a Magistrate sitting on the Lancaster bench for twenty years. He was sworn in to the role in April, having made an important contribution to many aspects of life in Lancashire since moving here over 40 years ago.

The High Sheriff of Lancashire's role stretches back to at least the middle of the 10th century. The office, which is held on a voluntary basis, is held for a year. The High Sheriff does not receive any salary or expenses.

The duty of the High Sheriff is to 'protect and assist in upholding the dignity and well-being of Her Majesty’s Judges and to project the principles of encouraging responsible citizenship and respect for the diversity of the community which lie at the heart of our constitution'.

In Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, which together comprise the County Palatine of Lancaster, the three High Sheriffs are appointed by Her Majesty The Queen as Duke of Lancaster. Each Lord Lieutenant recommends a name to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and The Queen 'pricks' the names of the three High Sheriffs on the Lites - the parchment list of names - with a bodkin, a practice dating back to the time of Queen Elizabeth I.

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