The Under Sheriff and The High Sheriff’s Chaplain

Jeremy JE Wilding Esq MBE has been Herefordshire’s Under Sheriff for 11 years.

Jeremy is the go-to person for anything regarding the Shrievalty in the county, and every High Sheriff finds his knowledge and guidance invaluable.

The Under Sheriff is appointed or re-appointed at each declaration of the new High Sheriff, and the incumbent is very often in post for several years.  As the High Sheriff changes each year, the Undersheriff provides continuity and consistency to the Shrievalty.  The Undersheriff is generally a local solicitor and the role is undertaken on a voluntary basis.

In Summary, the role of the Undersheriff to:

  • Be a guide and mentor to the High Sheriff before, during and (on occasions) after the High Sheriffs year of office.
  • Act as Secretary to the Nomination Panel including keeping the records, arranging and attending the meetings, taking the Minutes and distributing copies thereof to the panel members.
  • Liaise with the Privy Council and ensuring submission of the nomination form at the appropriate time.
  • Assist with the organising of key events, such as the declaration and Shrieval Service.
  • Be a means of liaison between the Shrievalty and the other organisations involved in the field of Law and Order e.g. the Judiciary, Her Majesty’s Courts Service, the Police, the Civic Authorities, the Military etc.

About Jeremy: Jeremy is a director with Gabbs Solicitors of Hereford and was educated at Hereford Cathedral School. He read law at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was subsequently a Junior Lecturer in Law at Magdalen. Since qualifying as a solicitor in 1987, he has spent the whole of his legal career in the county. He has served as Under Sheriff since 2010. Among other charitable roles he was formerly chair of the Hereford Three Choirs Festival and of the Three Choirs Festival Society. In 2016 he was awarded an MBE by HM the Queen. Jeremy is the Hereford Diocesan Registrar, acting as personal legal adviser to the Bishop of Hereford and providing legal advice and support generally to the clergy and parishes of the Diocese of Hereford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

The Chaplain to the High Sheriff is appointed during the declaration service, and who can be from any denomination or faith appropriate to the High Sheriff.

The Chaplain’s role is to provide support, advice and assistance to the High Sheriff during their year in office.  It is a good idea to choose someone who is spiritually aligned to you and whose company you enjoy as you can spend quite a bit of time together!  The Reverend Andrew Mottram was installed as chaplain to Tricia Thomas in March 2020.

About Andrew: I was ordained back in 1978 and spent my earlier ministry in the South East of England. As a family, we moved to Hereford in 1991 when I was appointed Priest in Charge of All Saints in the city centre. Having helped the PCC raise and spend over one million pounds repairing the church building, we raised and spent a similar sum of money to re-order the interior and open Cafe @ All Saints in 1997 as a Church run enterprise in a building that was open to all and working with people whose lifestyles may be considered alternative and beyond the mainstream. Subsequently, the cafe was franchised to our cafe consultant and it is great to see both congregation and cafe  still continuing to flourish.

In 2006 I left the stipendiary ministry to work full time as a consultant helping Church communities across England and Wales to find better ways for their buildings to serve people, for the buildings to be better looked after and to generate some revenue to help sustain them into the future. It was at this time that we moved from a vicarage to our own house in Pencombe. More recently, I worked in the Diocese of Worcester doing the same kind of consultancy work which was part-funded by a grant from Historic England. I retired from this post in 2018.

Both the role of High Sheriff and the Sheriff’s Chaplain may, these days, be mostly ceremonial. However, both serve as reminders that the spiritual dimension of life and the rule of law, as derived from the Gospels with the emphasis on justice and mercy, are extremely important for the health of the nation. While I might not be the most theologically orthodox of priests or have a  great deal of time for some aspects of the Church of England, it was both a surprise and a delight to be asked by Tricia Thomas to serve as her chaplain during her term as High Sheriff.

The Key Objectives:

  • To support the Lord-Lieutenant on royal visits and on other occasions as appropriate
  • To take an active part in supporting and promoting the voluntary sector and giving all possible encouragement to the voluntary organisations within a County.