A Willington woman has been officially nominated as the new High Sheriff of Cheshire at a glittering ceremony at London’s High Court.
Alexis Jane Redmond MBE - wife of Brookside and Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond - was among 50 prospective High Sheriffs from all over England and Wales who were named in the most ornate court in the land as four of the country’s most senior judges approved their nominations.
The ceremony took place in the packed historic wood-panelled court of the Lord Chief Justice at London’s Royal Courts of Justice.
On the bench to approve the nominations were Lord Burton, the Lord Chief Justice and Sir Brian Henry Leveson, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, along with Mr Justice Coulson and Mr Justice Langstaff.
The nominations for the oldest continuous secular office under the Crown in Britain are annually approved in one of the most ancient official ceremonies still practised in this country. It dates back more than 1,000 years to Saxon times pre-dating the Norman Conquest.
However, before the sheriffs nominated on Monday take up office next March, another ancient ceremony must still take place, this time at the Privy Council in London.
There the Queen, using a silver bodkin in a practice dating back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, will prick their names on a parchment list to give their appointments the Royal seal of approval.
In Saxon times, sheriffs – or Shire Reeves as they were originally known - of each county went to the Kings or Queens Court, known in Latin as the Curia Regis, to give account for the money they collected on behalf of the monarch.
Now, High Sheriffs no longer collect money for the monarch. But their role which is unpaid still makes them rank among top dignitaries in their areas. Among other things they are expected to attend at royal visits to their counties, as well as being entitled to act as returning officers in parliamentary elections.
They also have a responsibility for the well-being and protection of High Court Judges who go out on circuit to Crown Courts.