The annual High Sheriff’s Shield Hanging Ceremony has taken place in Lancaster Castle’s gothic Shire Hall.
The High Sheriff of Lancashire, Dr Barry Johnson has hung his shield in the Shire Hall – alongside 650 other shields dating back to Richard the Lionheart.
This colourful spectacle, complete with Lancashire police horses and a stunning array of costumes, dates back several hundred years. It is one of Lancashire’s most prestigious ceremonial events.
Preston-born Barry said: “My wife Carolyn and I are very proud to come from a long line of Lancastrians. I view it as an enormous privilege and honour to be chosen for this ancient and traditional role.
“Each High Sheriff’s Shield has an individual Coat of Arms portraying significant characteristics of their professions and interests. As a former veterinarian, the cow’s head on my shield represents the many generations of farmers in my family and the basis of my practice. The two horses heads represent the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and my chairmanship of World Horse Welfare.
“I feel very proud and privileged to hang my shield in the Shire Hall, alongside my predecessors and even previous kings of England.”
The Shire Hall houses a splendid array of over 650 shields, bearing the coat of arms of every English monarch since King Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199), as well as all the Constables of Lancaster Castle and former High Sheriffs of Lancashire.
The Shield Hanging ceremony began with a service in the magnificent Priory Church. People then made their way to the Shire Hall, where the Under Sheriff read the historic High Sheriff’s Patent.
They were joined at the event by various civic figures including the Mayor of Lancaster, Susie Charles; the Chairman of Lancashire County Council, Kevin Ellard; and the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth; as well as Judges of the High Court, and representatives from Lancashire Police and other organisations.
The toast was proposed by Lord Sandy Trees of Ross – a fellow veterinary surgeon.
The High Sheriff of Lancashire’s role stretches back to at least the middle of the 10th century. The office is held for a year.