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(With acknowledgments to Newcastle City Council)



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The Sheriff of Newcastle 2024-2025

Councillor Henry Gallagher


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Sheriff and Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle 2015-2016 Councillor Hazel Stephenson

Following the Norman Conquest William I sent his eldest son, Robert Curthose, north to defend the kingdom against the Scots.  After his campaign, Robert moved to Monkchester and began the building of a 'New Castle' giving the town its name.  William's successor, William II (or Rufus) sent an army north to recapture the 'New Castle' that had fallen into the hands of Northern
rebels led by the Earl of Northumbria, Robert de Mowbray.  From then on the castle became crown property and was an important base from which the king could control the northern barons. The Northumbrian earldom was abolished and a Sheriff of Northumberland was appointed to administer the region. 

This system of governance lasted until 1399 at which time King Henry IV, in recognition of New Castle's growing importance as a trade centre, mainly for wool and coal, granted a new charter.  This charter created a County corporate which separated the town, but not the Castle, from the county of Northumberland and recognised it as a "county of itself" with a right to have a sheriff of its own. The burgesses were now allowed to choose six aldermen who, with the mayor would be justices of the peace. The mayor and sheriff were allowed to hold borough courts in the Guildhall.


Notably, amongst the list of sheriffs recorded since 1401, the first being a William Redmarshall, there was clearly a problem in 1808.  Records show that Thomas Burdon, Esq. who had served as sheriff in 1807 was (unusually) re-elected sheriff in 1808.  On December 24 he was succeeded by Benjamin Sorsbie, Esq. who then resigned on the following 23d of February.  A certain George Shadforth, Esq. was subsequently duly elected.  His nonage had prevented his earlier election, and no other person could be procured. The unusual circumstance of so many changes in one year reflects the great difficulty at times in 'persuading' suitable people to accept the office.

The Sheriff of Newcastle held the same responsibilities as sheriffs of many other towns and cities.  The holding of office could be expensive.  During election to Office in Council proceedings of 1864-1865 tributes were made to the retiring Sheriff, Mr William Hunter.  In his tribute to Mr Hunter, Mr Gregson highlighted how 'onerous' the task could be of holding the Office of Sheriff of Newcastle.  He stated that Mr Hunter had held the office of Sheriff in a year 'when very onerous duties were imposed upon him'. including a visit from the Royal Agricultural Society.  This and other visits had 'taxed severely the industry, generosity and hospitality' of both Mayor and Sheriff who were obliged to entertain largely at their own expense.   

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In 1996 the Office of Sheriff became merged with that of the Deputy Lord Mayor.   Many duties include making public appearances to support local businesses, community initiatives and civic events.  


Sheriff and Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle 2017-2018
Councillor Linda Wright

Customs and Traditions

The Sheriff's Chain

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The 15-carat chain consists of fancy gold curb links, with a gold 18-carat pendant badge bearing the City Armorial Ensigns in enamel.

It was given to the City by Alderman  and Sheriff William Haswell Stephenson, JP in commemoration of the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, 1887 

Sheriffs of Newcastle


Sheriff (and Deputy Mayor) of Newcastle, 2013-2014 George Pattison

Year       Sheriff


1996       Mary Nixon

1997       David Slesenger

1998       John Cunningham

1999       Peter Thompson

2000       Mary Carr

2001       John Marshall

2002       Margaret Carter

2003       George Douglas

2004       David Slesenger

2005       Diane Packham

2006       Peter Arnold

2007       David Wood

2008       Michael Cookson

2009       Brenda Hindarsh

2010       Geoff O’Brien

2011        Jackie Slesenger

2012        Margaret Wood



Year       Sheriff

2013        George Pattison

2014        Ian Graham

2015        Hazel Stephenson

2016        Linda Wright

2017        David Down

2018        David Cook

2019        Habib Rahman

2020       Habib Rahman

2021        Anita Lower (until

                July 2021 (RIP)

2021        (July) Karen 


2022        Veronica Dunn

2023        Maureen Lowson

2024        Henry Gallagher


Sheriff (and Deputy Mayor) of Newcastle, 2019-2021 Habib Rahman

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