The current High Sheriff of Herefordshire is James Hervey-Bathurst CBE DL.

James and Lucy Hervey-Bathurst

I am very honoured to have been asked to be High Sheriff for the year 2019-20. The office of High Sheriff dates from the 9th century and is the second oldest secular office after the Monarchy. The first King of England was Egbert in 827. The first Bishop of Hereford was Putta in 676, so even older. The earliest sheriff whose name we know is Ralph de Bernai in the 11th century. Since then, there have been over 600 different holders of the office in Herefordshire; in earlier times, the Sheriff had great powers that they exercised, some for good purposes and some less so. The modern High Sheriff has no practical power, but aims to use the prestige of the ancient office for the good of the county.

I was brought up at Eastnor, where my family have lived for over 400 years. I have a degree from Cambridge in French & German and Law and started my career as a solicitor. I then worked for Kleinwort Benson, an international merchant bank, spending nearly a year as the representative in Iran in 1978. I spent the following 20 years as a recruitment consultant, first in London and then in Birmingham after I moved back to Eastnor in 1990. From 2000, I have focused on growing our family leisure and tourism business at Eastnor, but have also served as President of the Historic houses, an association representing over 1500 UK privately-owned historic houses, and as Vice President of European Historic Houses in Brussels. I was Chairman of the World Monuments Fund (UK), a heritage charity, for a time, during which the Fund supported the restoration of Shobdon Church, and was also a director of Visit Herefordshire before its merger with the Chamber of Commerce.

Closer to home, I am Secretary of the Eastnor PCC and Chairman of our fund-raising committee for the restoration of the church tower. I am a member of the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Joint Area Committee, an Ambassador for the Severn Valley Railway and a Patron of the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust and the Victoria County History, Herefordshire.

I am delighted that the Revd Neil Patterson, a Rural Dean for the Hereford Deanery and Diocesan Director of Vocations and Ordinands, has agreed to be my Chaplin and that Jeremy Wilding of Gabb & Co. has agreed to be Undersheriff during my year. Jeremy has been held this office for the last 7 High Sheriffs. I shall be working as a team with my wife, Lucy, and assistant, PennyAnne Fraser. My distinguished and hard-working predecessor, Nat Hone, and his team have been very helpful in helping me prepare for the role, and so I am much looking forward to the opportunity to use my position to support all aspects of our life in this great county of Herefordshire.