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(With acknowledgements to Lincoln City Council)



The Sheriff of Lincoln 2024-2025

Mr Brian Harding


Unlike most other shrievalty towns and cities, The City Sheriff of Lincoln is invited to take office by the Mayor and is not nominated and elected from the Members of the Council. 


The City Sheriff holds office until the appointment of a successor, usually after a period of one year and makes a special declaration under the Sheriff's Act of 1887. 


Lincoln was granted the right to have the office of sheriff in 1409 when King Henry IV, by Charter, declared the City of Lincoln a County in its own right.  From this time the Bailiffs, who had up to then assisted the Mayor in governing the City, were replaced by two Sheriffs.  The Sheriffs were responsible for law and order and for the collection of revenues due to the Crown.   It was of such great importance to the City's liberties that they had to find sureties for the due performance of their duties.  Lincoln's sheriffs, like many others, paid heavily for their term of Office.  

Hillary Willerton Sheriff of Lincoln 2016-2017

Mr Roy South,  Sheriff of Lincoln 2010-2011 and 2018- 2019.   

The existence of a Shire Court for the City and other provisions of Henry IV's Charter may have brought, at least some, financial relief.  Four towns; Branston, Waddington Bracebridge and Canwick were added to the county enlarging the area from which 'dues' could be collected.  Even so, the resources of the Sheriffs became so inadequate that by the sixteenth century it had become customary to indemnify the Sheriffs against claims for the fee-farm rent and the burden fell upon the Common Council.  


It should be noted how the two Sheriffs in Lincoln were elected to Office.  In the Middle Ages the City was governed by an inner Chamber consisting of twelve Aldermen, elected for life, and the Mayor.  This Chamber was accompanied by an outer, less powerful Chamber, of forty 'Chamberlains' called the Common Council.  Four Chamberlains were appointed by the Mayor each year - one to represent each Ward.  As new Chamberlains were selected the same number 'retired'.  When the Chamberlains left office they were known as Chamberlain Peers and enjoyed ongoing privileges such as exemption from Jury service.  It was from the Chamberlain Peers that Sheriffs were selected for Office.  One would be selected by the Mayor and the other elected from a calendar of five ex-Chamberlains, by the Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council.          

The Sheriffs were sworn in before the Mayor and Commonality in the Guildhall and were to hold County Courts every six weeks in the County and City of Lincoln.  The old City Courts were to empanel Juries, execute Royal Writs and other processes and to preside in County Courts.  Their chief responsibility was for the fee-farm rent.  A past holder of the Office having become a Sheriff's Peer was eligible for election as an Alderman.  

The county gaols were the Sheriffs' responsibility who were fined if a prisoner escaped.  The pillory (stocks and other 'frameworks') was also their responsibility as was the carrying out of punishments of those found guilty of any crime.  On one occasion a certain Robert Bishop, found guilty of petty larceny, left the city - probably without leave.  On his return the Sheriffs were commanded to set him in the pillory and have his ear nailed to it.  One of the Sheriffs reportedly delivered Mr Bishop to the pillory but could not, he pleaded later, due to squeamishness, execute the command of nailing his ear and accepted the subsequent fine that was imposed upon him by the Mayor and his 'brethren'. 


Since the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 there has only been one Sheriff of Lincoln whose role is now purely ceremonial.   


The Sheriff's Chain

Customs and Traditions

Crying Christmas


Every advent the Lincoln Waites, a group of musicians recreating the Tudor period, lead a civic parade through the streets of the city stopping at intervals to deliver a Proclamation relating to Christmas.  This Proclamation is read out by the Senators who represent the Magi. 

The 'Waites' stemmed from a call by Henry III for each town to protect their residents from robbers, thieves and other 'undesirables' who roamed the streets after dark.  The towns had to set up a 'watch' that would patrol the streets to keep law and order.  They were accompanied by a small group of men, known as 'Waites' who would play music as loudly as possible to frighten off any evil doers.   The music would also reassure the townsfolk that the 'Watch' were about their business. 


 Waites evolved into bands of 'municipal' musicians, or the 'Mayor's musicians'.  They had a civic duty to entertain at special occasions such as the robing of the Mayor and Sheriff at their taking of Office.   


Lincoln's Waites were revived in 2006 and now re-enact the annual event of 'Crying Christmas' in which the Mayor and Sheriff are involved.  The proclamation is read at set stopping points around the city, with dancing and music appropriate to the festive season, and the parade ends at the Guildhall and usually followed by a reception for invited guests. 


The Lincoln Waites

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Crying Christmas


The Parade finishes at the Guildhall received by the Civic Party


City Sheriff of Lincoln Ms Jo Rimmer visiting a local NHS facility. 

Into the 21st Century

Lincoln's Office of Sheriff and its role has changed over the years in keeping with political and social shifts.  The Sheriff, selected by the Mayor at the beginning of the mayoral year, supports and accompanies the Mayor on community visits and civic duties and helps promotes local projects and achievements.   


The Shrievalty of Lincoln is widely celebrated locally as one of fifteen across England and Wales. 


Sheriffs of Lincoln


Patricia Carter, City Sheriff of Lincoln 2013- 2014

Year       Sheriff

1984       Peter Archer

1985       Sidney Campbell

1986       Norah Baldock

1987       Richard Brindly-Augur

1988       Oscar R Stewart

1989       Arthur Tindall

1990       Ian Emmerson

1991        Malcolm Rollinson

1992       John Stanley Robertson

1993       Brian David Smith

1994       Irene Goldson

1995        David Hayward

1996        Patrick Vaughan

1997        Richard Courtney

1998       Trevor Rook

1999        Roy Mance

2000       Ralph Amode Toofany

2001        Gerald Makenham

2002       Jeff Boyall

2003       Peter Robinson

2004       David Gratrick

Year        Sheriff

2005       Christine Noble

2006       David Beresford

2007       Darren Grice

2008       Frank Connell

2009       Lance Pennell

2010        Roy South

2011        Robin Renshaw

2012        Melanie Tointon

2013        Patricia Carter

2014        David Jackson

2015        Graham J Kent

2016        Hilary Willerton  

2017        Jo Rimmer

2018       Roy South

2019       Jo Rimmer

2020       Jo Rimmer

2021        Stephen Dixon

2022       Jasmit Kaur Phull

2023       Neil Murray

2024       Brian Harding


David Jackson, City Sheriff of Lincoln 2014- 2015

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