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Carmarthen

(With acknowledgements to Carmarthen Town Council)

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The Sheriff of Carmarthen 2022-2023,

Councillor Emlyn Schiavone

Introducing....

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History

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.    

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Cllr Wyn Thomas, Carmarthen Town Sheriff (in blue)
2021 with Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Sword Bearer

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The Sheriff's Chain

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Carmarthen hosts the Sheriff's AGM Weekend in 2017

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Sheriff of Carmarthen accompanies the Mayor at Civic Service at St Peter's Church

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AGM in Carmarthen's Council Chamber 2017

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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. 

 

 

 

 

Phil Grice, Sheriff of Carmarthen
2017-2018 addresses AGM 
 

 

Sheriffs of Carmarthen

Year       Sheriff

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

 

Year        Sheriff

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