This Project documents associated Geni profiles for the office of High Sheriff of Cheshire. Period covered is 1284-1850.
The High Sheriff is the oldest secular office under the Crown. Formerly the High Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the centuries most of the responsibilities associated with the post have been transferred elsewhere or are now defunct, so that its functions are now largely ceremonial. The High Sheriff changes every March.
History of High Sheriffs
The Office of High Sheriff is the oldest secular Office in the United Kingdom after the Crown and dates from Saxon times. The exact date of origin is unknown but the Office has certainly existed for over 1,000 years since the Shires were formed.
The word ‘Sheriff’ derives from ‘Shire Reeve’ or the Anglo Saxon ‘Scir-gerefa’. The King’s Reeve was also known as the ‘High’ Reeve. Some Sheriffs led contingents at the Battle of Hastings. The Normans continued the Office and added to its powers. During the 11th and 12th centuries a High Sheriff’s powers were very extensive. For example, they judged cases in the monthly court of the hundred (a sub-unit of the Shire); they had law enforcement powers and could raise the ‘hue and cry’ in pursuit of felons within their Shire; they could summon and command the ‘posse comitatus’ – the full power of the Shire in the service of the Sovereign; they collected taxes and levies and all dues on Crown lands on behalf of the Crown and were in charge of Crown property in the Shire. In short, High Sheriffs were the principal representatives and agents for the Crown and were thus very powerful within the Shire.
Of the 63 clauses in the Magna Carta of 1215, no less than 27 relate to the role of the Sheriff and from 1254 the High Sheriff supervised the election to Parliament of two Knights of the Shire. The Sheriffs’ powers were gradually restricted over succeeding centuries. [...]
The ceremonial uniform that is worn by male High Sheriffs today is called Court Dress. It has remained essentially unchanged since the late seventeenth century and consists of a black or dark blue velvet coat with steel-cut buttons, breeches, shoes with cut-steel buckles, a sword and a cocked hat. A lace jabot is worn around the neck. Some High Sheriffs wear their military uniform instead of Court Dress. Today, lady High Sheriffs generally adapt the style of traditional Court Dress to suit their needs. Ceremonial uniform is worn at a wide variety of functions but when not wearing Court Dress, a High Sheriff will wear a badge of Office on a ribbon.
Cheshire's area is 2,343 square kilometres (905 sq mi) and its population is just over a million. Apart from the large towns along the River Mersey and the historic city of Chester, it is mostly rural, with a number of small towns and villages that support an agricultural industry. It is historically famous for the production of Cheshire cheese salt, bulk chemicals, and woven silk.
History of Cheshire
Cheshire's name was originally derived from an early name for Chester, and was first recorded as Legeceasterscir in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, meaning the shire of the city of legions. Although the name first appears in 980, it is thought that the county was created by Edward the Elder around 920. In the Domesday Book, Chester was recorded as having the name Cestrescir (Chestershire), derived from the name for Chester at the time.
Because of the historically close links with the land bordering Cheshire to the west, which became Wales, there is a history of interaction between Cheshire and Wales.
List of High Sheriffs
High Sheriffs in Cheshire have included:
- 1284-1287: Robert le Grosvenor (d. 1293)
- 1292: David de Malpas
- 1295-1296: Philip de Malpas (de Egerton)
- 1307: Robert le Grosvenor (d. 1328)
- 1309: Philip de Egerton
- 1312: David de Egerton
- 1334: David de Egerton
- 1378: Hugh Venables
- 1386: Richard Venables
- 1389: Robert le Grosvenor (d. 1396)
- 1393: Sir Robert de Legh
- 1394: Robert le Grosvenor (d. 1396)
- 1398: Sir Robert de Legh
- 1403-6: John Mainwaring of Over-Peover
- 1544: Sir Edward Fitton of Gawsworth Old Hall
- 1562: Sir John Warburton of Arley Hall
- 1572: Thomas Stanley
- 1583: Sir Peter Warburton of Arley Hall
- 1588: Thomas Legh
- 1602: Richard Grosvenor
- 1605: Sir Randle Mainwaring of Over-Peover
- 1613: Sir Urian Legh
- 1619: Sir Randle Mainwaring, the younger, of Over-Peover
- 1621: Sir Robert Cholmondeley, Bt.
- 1623: Sir Richard Grosvenor, Bt.
- 1625: Lieutenant Colonel Robert Dukinfield of Dukinfield Hall
- 1629: Thomas Legh
- 1633: Sir Edward Fitton Bt of Gawsworth Old Hall
- 1638: Sir Thomas Delves Bt of Dodington
- 1639: Phillip Mainwaring of Over-Peover
- 1643: Thomas Legh
- 1644: Sir Richard Grosvenor, Bt.
- 1648 Lieutenant Colonel Robert Dukinfield of Dukinfield Hall
- 1649: Sir Henry Delves Bt of Dodington
- 1657: Thomas Mainwaring later Sir Thomas Mainwaring Bt of Over-Peover
- 1662: Thomas Legh
- 1665: Sir Thomas Delves Bt of Dodington
- 1666: Sir John Arderne
- 1675: Sir Robert Dukinfield Bt. of Dukinfield Hall
- 1688: Thomas Legh
- 1689: Sir Thomas Grosvenor, 3rd Baronet
- 1691: Edmund Swetenham
- 1705: John Legh
- 1707: Edmund Swetenham
- 1717: James Bayley
- 1722: Edmund Swetenham (d. 1768)
- 1731: Edward Warenne (born 1680 died 1737)
- 1747: Charles Legh
- 1764: John Crewe of Crewe Hall
- 1751: Sir William Dukinfield Bt. of Dukinfield Hall
- 1774: William Leche (born 1734 died 1817)
- 1791: Charles Shakerley
- 1792: Thomas Cholmondeley, 1st Baron Delamere
- 1808: Robert Barnford, of Upton
- 1815: Henry Bradshaw
- 1821: William Turner of Shrigley Hall
- 1830: George Walmsley, of Bolesworth Castle
- 1831: Sir Thomas Stanley-Massey-Stanley, 9th Baronet, of Hooton
- 1832: John Hurleston Leche, of Carden
- 1833: Rowland Eyles Egerton Warburton, of Arley
- 1834: William Astley, of Dukinfield Lodge was initially named, but was replaced by Gibbs Craufurd Antrobus, of Eaton
- 1835: Joseph Leigh, of Belmont Hall, was initially named but was replaced by James Heath Leigh, of Grappenhall Lodge, his son.
- 1836: Egerton Leigh, of High Legh
- 1837: Charles Peter Shakerley, of Somerford
- 1838: George Cornwall Legh, of High Legh
- 1839: Thomas Hibbert, of Birtles
- 1840: John Tollemache, of Tilstone Lodge
- 1841: John Ryle, of Henbury Hall
- 1842: Edward Davies Davenport, of Capesthorne
- 1843: John Dixon, of Astle
- 1844: George Wilbraham, of Delamere House
- 1845: Sir William Thomas Stanley Massey Stanley, Bt, of Hooton
- 1846: James Hugh Smith Barry, of Marbury Hall
- 1847: Ralph Gerard Leycester, of Toft Hall
- 1848: Henry Brooke, of the Grange
- 1849: Thomas William Tatton, of Withenshaw
- 1850: Sir Arthur Ingram Aston GCB, of Aston
- Burke, John, and John B. Burke. A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland, and Scotland: 2. Ed. [illustr.]. London, 1841. read online
- Collins, Arthur -B. E. S. Collins's Peerage of England; Genealogical, Biographical, and Historical. , 1811. read online
- Johnson, R, Edward Kimber, and Thomas Wotton. The Baronetage of England: Containing a Genealogical and Historical Account of All the English Baronets Now Existing: with Their Descents, Marriages, .... Illustrated ... by E. Kimber and R. Johnson. London: printed for G. Woodfall, J. Fuller, E. Johnson, Hawes, Clarke and Collins, W. Johnston, and 11 others in London, 1771. Print. read online
- search the London Gazette
- The Peerage website
- A Vision of Britain through Time website: "Cheshire ancient divisions"
- "Revealing Cheshire's past"