A HISTORIC shield hanging ceremony will officially herald the new High Sheriff of Lancashire’s year in office.
On Friday 26 May 2006, Lancaster Castle’s magnificent gothic Shire Hall sets the stage for one of the county’s most ceremonial traditions - the High Sheriff’s annual shield hanging ceremony.
The new High Sheriff of Lancashire, Peter Robinson DL will present his shield to Gordon Johnson DL, the Constable of Lancaster Castle, prior to hanging it in the Shire Hall alongside the shields of previous High Sheriffs.
This colourful spectacle, complete with a fanfare of trumpets and a stunning array of costumes, dates back several hundred years.
This year’s event will be attended by the Hon Mr Justice Patten, Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster, and Mr Thomas Woodcock, LVO DL, Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, who will wear his Royal Household Uniform.
The ceremony itself is fairly short and involves the High Sheriff, together with the Under Sheriff, the High Sheriff’s Chaplain, Judges and other distinguished guests attending a church service in Lancaster Priory, before making their way to the Castle.
On arrival in the Shire Hall, the High Sheriff will step forward with his shield and present it to the Constable, prior to it being placed on the wall of the hall.
The hall contains a fascinating collection of shields dating back over 400 years, which has been re-arranged and restored by Lancashire County Council. Each High Sheriff’s shield has an individual Coat of Arms portraying significant characteristics of his/her profession or interests.
Note to Editors:
Television and press photographers are invited to record this historic ceremony where the traditional colourful processions to and from the Priory Church are of spectacular visual interest.
All those attending the Church Service take their places in the Priory.
The Judges’ Procession forms at the Judges’ Entrance and moves towards the Priory (Opportunity for photographs).
The Ecclesiastical and Judges’ Processions move from the Priory to Lancaster Castle. (Opportunity for photographs).
The congregation leaves the Priory and those attending the Shield Hanging Ceremony make their way to the Shire Hall.
Introductory talk by Eric Wilkinson from Lancashire County Museums Service.
The Under Sheriff, Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, accompanied by the High Sheriff’s Chaplain and High Sheriff enter the Shire Hall after which the ceremony takes place. (Photographers and trumpeters).
Procession leaves the Shire Hall.
(Photographers and Trumpeters).
Guests leave the Shire Hall and proceed to the Town Hall.
Reception at the Town Hall followed by lunch.
The Office of the High Sheriff is the oldest secular dignitary under the Crown and its origins date back 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 well being of Her Majesty's Judges.
It is an appointment made by Her Majesty The Queen in her right as the Duke of Lancaster and 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 The Queen's final decision.