The office of High Sheriff is of great antiquity, dating back to Saxon times. It is the oldest secular office in England and Wales after the Crown. Originally the office held many of the powers now vested in the Lord-Lieutenants, High Court Judges, Magistrates, Local Authorities, Coroners and even the Inland Revenue.
Today the duties of the High Sheriff’s are largely ceremonial. The appointment is honorary and there is no formal qualification for the office, although certain people - Members of both Houses of Parliament, serving members of the armed forces, and certain government officials - are disqualified from taking office. The High Sheriff is the Sovereign’s representative in the County for matters of law and order and the judiciary and consequently takes an active interest in the administration of justice. High Sheriffs in Wiltshire have for some years been active in supporting Wiltshire Crimebeat, an organisation which encourages young people to get involved with crime reduction activities and create safer communities. Apart from these duties, the High Sheriff will be concerned with the work of many charitable and voluntary organisations in the Council and will do his best to encourage and support them in their efforts.
The High Sheriff is appointed for a period of one year, taking office in March each year. A list containing three names is submitted to The Queen each March and the name of the High Sheriff for the following year is pricked with a silver bodkin.
The High Sheriff of Wiltshire for 2013/14 is:
Mr. William Wyldbore-Smith, DL
Last updated: 22 March 2013