The High Sheriff of Surrey is appointed by the Sovereign to hold office for one year. Three names are submitted to The Queen each March. In a ceremony that follows centuries of tradition, Her Majesty uses a brass bodkin to 'prick' the name of the High Sheriff for the following year (April to April).
In theory, the High Sheriff is The Queen's legal representative in the county. In practice, today it is largely a ceremonial role but still the oldest secular office in England and Wales other than the Crown. It dates back to Saxon times, when the name was 'Shire Reeve'. Originally, the Shrievalty – as it is known – held many of the powers now taken by the Lord Lieutenant, High Court Judges, Magistrates, Coroners, local authorities, the Inland Revenue and police.
Members of both Houses of Parliament, clergymen and other certain government officials are disqualified from taking office. Historically, the prospective High Sheriff must hold sufficient land within the County 'to answer the Queen and her people'. Other than that, there is no formal qualification for the role. The office is unpaid.
The High Sheriff of Surrey for 2013-2014 is Dr Helen Bowcock DL. During her year, Dr Bowcock intends to sustain the high quality work of many of her predecessors. In particular, she will progress the work of the High Sheriff Youth Awards throughout the county – the scheme that is gaining increasing recognition as a vital part of crime prevention.
In addition to The High Sheriff Youth Awards scheme, Dr Bowcock will be focusing on arts organisations that deliver social impact as well as charities that make the arts available to help improve lives. She will also focus on the rich history of philanthropy in Surrey.
As history demonstrates and requires, she will also give her time and enthusiasm to all aspects of the maintenance of law and order.
Please email: HS2013@haslemere.com to discuss a meeting or visit.
The historic Crown Court Service is one of many ceremonial duties undertaken during the Shrieval year. Wearing a distinctive uniform – and the unique Surrey badge of office which shows a green star with 11 points, one for each borough and district in the county – on 4 October 2013 the High Sheriff leads a procession of Her Majesty's judges and magistrates through the centre of Guildford. This maintains the original first duty of the High Sheriff – the ancient task of the care of the High Court Judges, and law and order in Surrey – that goes back 10 centuries.
Dr Helen Bowcock DL
PO Box 172
Mrs Caroline Breckell MVO
The Shrievalty Office Room121
Kingston Upon Thames
Tel: 020 8541 9127
Fax: 020 8541 8968