Nottingham

(With acknowledgments to Nottingham City Council)

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Introducing...

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The Sheriff of Nottingham 2022-2023 Councillor Nicola Heaton.

History

Nottingham has had a Sheriff for at least a thousand years.  Following the Norman Invasion and William the Conqueror's diktat that a castle be built in Nottingham the town became divided between the newly arrived Norman French who settled around the castle and the saxons who held the 'old town'.    The whole area which included Nottingham and Derbyshire was was presided over by a single High Sheriff.  The seat of the High Sheriff's power was within the formidable Castle.

In 1155, Henry II granted Nottingham a Royal Charter giving the people of the town certain rights and freedoms, mainly around fairs and trade.  At the end of his reign Henry gave Nottingham into the lordship of his son, John who granted additional privileges including the right to elect a reeve.  Nottingham gained its first mayor and held its first Goose Fair in 1284 but didn't actually elect a Sheriff until almost two hundred years later in 1449.

Nottingham's first appointed sheriff was recorded in 1449.  Probably due to the recognised division of the city into two parts two sheriffs were appointed - William Sadler and Thomas Lyng and this tradition was upheld until the major changes in local government in 1835.    

 

The sheriff's role at that time was to be responsible for prisoners appearing in court, collecting rents and taxes and generally enforcing the King's law and order and keeping the peace.  

Nomination for the Office of Sheriff was not always welcome as the Office incurred considerable costs that the Sheriff was expected to pay out of his personal finances.  One such cost was to provide the City Council with an annual traditional dinner.  Many cases have been cited where the nominee chose to pay the fine for not taking up the Office as the cheaper option.  Those who accepted the Office retained the right to wear their official crimson gowns beyond their shrieval year and were said to belong to livery or clothing burgesses.   

 Chains of Office

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The Sheriff's current Chain was presented to the Sheriffs of Nottingham by Sir Harold Bowden in 1958.  Sir Harold held the office of High Sheriff of Nottingham in 1933 and was the son of the founder of the Raleigh bicycle company which he ran after his

father's death.

The chain is made of white and yellow 18ct gold decorated with enamel and pearls.  It consists of sixteen crowns which are surrounded by a pair of oak leaves. 

 

The crowns are linked by 5 delicate gold chains which represent the movement of the River Trent. 

 

these gold chains are very delicate and there movement resembles the flow of the River Trent.

The Sheriff's wand is a plain mahogany staff five feet long with a silver top.  It bears the City Arms, the inscription "Villa Nottinghamia" and the date 1627. 

 

The Sheriff's Hat is a silk cockade decorated with Ostrich Feathers.

Customs and Traditions

A long held tradition still remains that stems from the times when Nottingham was governed by two sheriffs.  When in procession the Sheriff of Nottingham is preceded by mace bearers each carrying one of two silver maces.  

 

The current maces were purchased in 1669 for £10 each by the Sheriffs in office.  They were reimbursed by successive sheriffs minus 10 shillings until the full amount was paid. 

 

Customs and Traditions could not be mentioned without reference to Robin Hood and his relationship with the Sheriff of Nottingham. 

 

The facts are scant even relating to when he existed, if he actually did.  However, most widely accepted is that Robin did exist, probably around 1160 and was from Lockersley (to become Loxley) in  South Yorkshire.  He returned from the Crusades to find his land and assets siezed by the Sheriff of Nottingham,    which led to his life as an outlaw.  

Robin became popular as a 'folk hero' because of his constant endeavours to outwit the Sheriff and pass on any takings to the local poor and suppressed.  Supposedly living deep within Sherwood Forest he was also considered a champion of the rights of local people against the 'Forest Laws' imposed by the Normans that put ownership of forests and the game within firmly into the hands of the Crown.  

The legend of Robin Hood and his perpetual hatred of and battles for revenge against the Sheriff of Nottingham, popularised in countless films and TV dramas have made the name of the Sheriff of Nottingham the most famous of all Sheriffs.  

Into the 21st Century

The infamy of the name of the Sheriff of Nottingham and the association with the legendary Robin Hood, characterised even by Walt Disney, draws countless tourists to Nottingham every year, many seeking to catch a glimpse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the actual role of the Sheriff is now ceremonial, the Sheriff is asked to support the tourism strategy for the city

and county by promoting Nottingham as a destination

for visitors for short breaks, conferences, business and shopping.  

They welcome tourists and visitors to the city at various events and encourage local residents to use

and take part in cultural and leisure activities and opportunities across the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sheriff supports the Lord Mayor at events and is often asked to officially open new retail, entertainment or visitor attractions in the city.

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Walt Disney's Sheriff of Nottingham, depicted in 'Robin Hood', 1973.   

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Sheriff of Nottingham 2018-2019 Catharine Arnold supports the tourism and leisure sector with a 'Sheriff-Off' between herself and a pantomime 'Sheriff' of Nottingham. 

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Sheriff of Nottingham 2016-2017Jackie Morris, hosts the Sheriff's Garden Party for International Students as a promotional and welcome event. 

Sheriffs of Nottingham

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Year      Sheriff

2005       Derek Cressswell

2006       Jeannie Packer

2007       Jeannie Packer

2008       Brian Grocock

2009       Leon Unczur

2010       Penny Griggs

2011        Ian Malcolm

2012        Merlita Bryan

2013        Ian Malcolm

2014        Jackie Morris

2015        Mohammed Saghir

2016        Jackie Morris

2017        Glyn Jenkins

2018        Catharine Arnold

2019        Patience Ifediora

2020       Patience Ifediora

2021        Merlita Bryan

2022        Nicola Heaton.

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Cllr Glyn Jenkins
Sheriff of Nottingham 2017

Councillor Mohammed Saghir
Sheriff of Nottingham 2015-2016

Year       Sheriff

1984       Frank Dennett

1985       Thomas V Harby

1986       Barrie Parker

1987       Royce You

1988       Brian Marshall

1989       Anthony F Robinson

1990       Alfred T Stone

1991       Shaukat Khan

1992       Brent Charlesworth

1993       Anthony F Robinson

1994       Ron McIntosh

1995       Roy Greensmith

1996       Malcolm Wood / Sylvia Briggs

1997       Anthony Robinson

1998       Chris Gibson

1999       Mike Whittal

2000       John Hartshorne

2001       Joan Casson

2002       Ali Asghar

2003       John Hartshorne

2004       Derek Cresswell