The Sheriff of Carmarthen 2023-2024
Councillor Heledd ap Gwynfor
Carmarthen is one of only two towns in Wales to have a Sheriff - the other being Haverfordwest. The Carmarthen sheriff generally, but not always, takes Office as part of a three-year commitment to serve the Town: first as Sheriff, then Deputy Mayor, then Mayor.
The Borough is of great antiquity and probably possessed several municipal priviliges under the native Princes of South Wales who made Carmarthen their Seat of Government.
Early references to the Office of Sheriff of Carmarthen date back to 1223 when a writ of Henry II was addressed to 'his Sheriff of Carmarthen and Cardigan'. Following the Welsh Wars Edward I's Statute of Wales established the Welsh Counties. Sheriffs subsequently appeared in Carmarthen from 1241.
The accession of James I in 1603 marked the end of the Tudor dynasty and the beginning of the reign of the Stuarts. The new Charter of 1604 raised the status of the Borough to that of a County Borough making Carmarthen a county in its own right with the formal title 'The County and Borough of Carmarthen'. The Charter granted the right for Carmarthen to replace their two existing Bailiffs with two Sheriffs and confirmed all the Borough's existing 'possessions, privileges and jurisdictions'. The original Charter, written in Latin, continues to hang on display in the Mayor's Parlour.
One of the main duties of the Sheriff was to oversee local and Parliamentary elections. In 1831 controversy arose over the conduct of an election to the Borough. No return was made and, 'in conditions of noise, disturbance and violence' the Sheriffs did not 'take effectual means to preserve the freedom of the election... and keep the poll open as long as allowed by law'. A new Writ was issued for the Borough.
Further duties included the collection of revenues for the Crown and responsibility for the carrying out of justice and sentencing, including executions. One of few such cases recorded in which the Sheriff of Carmarthen presided was between 1892-1895 when Herbert Asquith was Home Secretary under Gladstone's Administration. A certain Mr George Thomas was tried for the murder of a young girl, known only as 'Jones'. Found guilty, Mr Asquith found no reason for a reprieve and the man was duly hanged.
The Local Government Reforms Act of 1835 led to the number of Sheriffs in Carmarthen reduced from two to one and the roles and duties of the Sheriff slid into further decline until they became almost totally ceremonial. Up until further reforms in 1974 the Sheriff of Carmarthen continued to greet H.M. Judges on any visits to the Town for the Assizes and present the Judge with white gloves and ensure he was provided with suitable lodgings.
Cllr Wyn Thomas, Carmarthen Town Sheriff (in blue)
2021 with Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Sword Bearer
The Sheriff's Chain
Carmarthen hosts the Sheriff's AGM Weekend in 2017
Sheriff of Carmarthen accompanies the Mayor at Civic Service at St Peter's Church
AGM in Carmarthen's Council Chamber 2017
Phil Grice, Sheriff of Carmarthen
2017-2018 addresses AGM
Into the 21st Century
Carmarthen's Office of Sheriff and its role has changed over the years in keeping with political and social shifts. The role is almost wholly ceremonial and honorary but being involved in the community and supporting contemporary local initiatives and activities is key.
Cynghorydd Emlyn Schiavone, Siryf Tref Caerfyrddin, yng ngwasanaeth Diwrnod Heddwch y Byd gyda rhai o ddisgyblion Blwyddyn 11 Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin
Councillor Emlyn Schiavone, Carmarthen Town Sheriff, at a World Peace Day service with some of the Year 11 pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin
Carmarthen's civic party at the Remembrance Sunday service 2022
Sheriffs of Carmarthen
1984 Malcolm Morgan Jones
1985 Lawrence Victor Rice
1986 Agnes Maria Dunbar
1987 Richard John Williams
1988 Peter Hughes Griffiths
1989 John Elfed Williams
1990 Thomas James Hurley
1991 Richard John Goodridge
1992 June Williams
1993 Kenneth Bryan Maynard
1994 Douglas Edmund Ynyr Richards Rose
1995 William Gwynoro Jones
1996 Margaret Elizabeth Evans
1997 Nia Rhiannon Griffith
1998 Douglas Edmund Ynyr Richards Rose
1999 Llyr Hughes Griffiths
2000 William Gwynoro Jones
2001 Mary Kathleen Davies
2002 Nerys Mair Defis
2003 Aled Prys Williams
2004 Philip Grice
2005 D. Jonathan Edwards
2006 Alan Speake
2007 Kennethe Lloyd
2008 Alan Speake
2009 Reverend Tom Talog Defis
2010 Philip Grice
2011 Alun Lenny
2012 Arwell Lloyd
2013 Diarmait Mac Giolla Chriost
2014 Wyn Thomas
2015 Dorothy Bere
2016 Emlyn Schiavone
2017 Phil Grice
2018 Angharad Jones Leefe
2019 Miriam Moules
2020 Wyn Thomas
2021 Wyn Thomas
2022 Emlyn Schiavone
2023 Heledd ap Gwynfor