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

Friday, June 01, 2018

Lancashire's new High Sheriff Anthony Attard OBE DL has added to centuries of tradition by hanging his family shield at Lancaster Castle's Shire Hall.

His coat of arms now hangs alongside more than 650 shields, including 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.

This ancient shield-hanging ceremony is a colourful and historic spectacle, featuring a fanfare of trumpets and a stunning array of costumes.

The office of High Sheriff is held on a voluntary basis for a year. The High Sheriff does not receive any salary or expenses for the work.

Tony Attard said: "It's a wonderful honour and privilege to be able to place my own family crest alongside those of the other High Sheriffs dating back many centuries.

"This historical privilege is a great and ancient tradition, that to follow in the footsteps of so many great Lancastrians is quite a daunting prospect.

"In my year of responsibility I will endeavour to work closely with the judiciary and to create lasting relationships with all of Lancashire’s diverse cultures and religious groups.”

Tony is the CEO of East Lancashire-based Panaz and chair of Marketing Lancashire.

While at university in Manchester, Tony witnessed the large Woolworths fire in 1979, where 16 people lost their lives. This tragedy was to have a lasting effect on him, and he went on to start his own company designing and creating flame-retardant fabrics for international commercial interiors, and exports to over 50 countries.

Tony was sworn-in to the role in April, which he took over from Robert Mitchel Webb JP DL.

Before the ceremony, a service was 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.

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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