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High Sheriff takes stock of career for Shire Hall shield

High Sheriff Barry Johnson and wife Carolyn at the Shield Hanging Ceremony. Below, the shield was inspired by the High Sheriffs former career as a vet

High Sheriff Barry Johnson and wife Carolyn at the Shield Hanging Ceremony. Below, the shield was inspired by the High Sheriffs former career as a vet

High Sheriff of Lancashire Dr Barry Johnson drew inspiration from his veterinary career for his new coat of arms.

The Bilsborrow resident hung his shield in the Shire Hall – alongside 650 others dating back to Richard the Lionheart – in a colourful ceremony at Lancaster Castle.

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.”

The shield hanging spectacle, complete with Lancashire police horses and a stunning array of costumes, dates back several hundred years and takes place annually.

Barry added: “I feel 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 more than 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 event began with a service at Lancaster Priory. Those joining the couple at the ceremony included Mayor of Lancaster Susie Charles, Lancashire County Council
chairman Kevin Ellar and the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth, High Court judges and representatives from the police and other organisations.

The toast was proposed by Lord Sandy Trees of Ross, a fellow veterinary surgeon.

The origins of the office of High Sheriff dates back to the 10th century.

Today, the office is purely ceremonial with the main duty being to protect and assist in “upholding the dignity and wellbeing of Her Majesty’s judges.”

 

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