Landowner sworn in as high sheriff

A centuries-old English ceremony was performed at a Norfolk country house yesterday when a prominent landowner was sworn in as the county's new high sheriff.

By RICHARD PARR

A centuries-old English ceremony was performed at a Norfolk country house yesterday when a prominent landowner was sworn in as the county's new high sheriff.

Magistrate Holly Rawkins administered the oath of office and signing of a declaration by Julian Romney, the eighth Earl of Romney, who succeeds out-going high sheriff Nigel Savory.

The ceremony took place at Mr Savory's home, Thorpland Hall, near Fakenham.

Lord Romney's first words were to express thanks to Mr Savory and his wife, Annabel, for the way in which they had performed their duties during the past year.

His first act in his new role will be to attend a meeting of the Partners Against Crime Taskforce this morning in Norwich.

Most Read

Lord Romney's appointment came on the day after his 59th birthday.

The role of high sheriff, the oldest civic office in the country outside the Church and Crown, was once the principal law enforcement officer in the county.

Today, it has become a more ceremonial role as the Queen's representative in the justice system. Lord Romney said he had been asked by a former high sheriff, Sir Jeremy Bagge, of Stradsett Hall, near Downham Market, to take on the role and, in centuries-old tradition, the Queen pricked his name using a silver bodkin. He and his wife, Cici, are looking forward to a busy year attending a variety of engagements and getting out and about in the county.

"Part of the role is to go out and about in the county to open doors and to introduce people to one another and make things happen.

"It is also an opportunity to shake a few hands and to say thank you to people for what they do," said Lord Romney.