Young High Sheriff for a day competition

The High Sheriff of Warwickshire is offering the opportunity for one young person from Myton to become a young High Sheriff for the day. This has never been done before and is a completely unprecedented opportunity. If you are chosen as the successful candidate, you would be the first ever young High Sheriff for a day. You will have the opportunity to accompany the High Sheriff and help them undertake their official duties as well as attend other activities, tailored to your future career/academic interests.

As this is a very high-profile competition, winners may be filmed by local news.

This is an opportunity to stand out and be a part of something completely unique in the whole country.

The competition task:

Produce a 3 minute video clip or write a 500-word essay, or 200-word poem on why you would want to be Young High Sheriff for the day.

Some of the features we are looking for are below, however, this is an open task and each piece will go through a judging process. Mrs Millington and Mrs Wyatt will judge all entries and will put forward the top 25 to the High Sheriff’s judging panel:

Tim Ollerenshaw, Director, Moore and Tibbits Solicitors, Warwick

Graham Sutherland, retired Police Inspector, local author and past Town Crier. Owner of Knowle Villa Books  

Simon Jones, recently retired Deputy Head, Myton School

Competition rules

The competition is open to Years 10-13. Your final entry must be your own work.

10% tolerance on word count.

Winning entries may be shared locally and nationally for publicity purposes and winners will be photographed for the same purposes with the High Sheriff and judging panels.

All submissions must be submitted to Mrs Millington and Mrs Wyatt personally or by email by Friday 20 October 2023:

[email protected]

[email protected]

Entries should be emailed with “YHS Competition“ followed by your name as the subject. 

Any late entries will not be considered.

Judges’ decisions are final.

Winners will be announced week beginning 6 November 2023.

Judging criteria

Presentation– Presentation of your entry is sophisticated and shows personal flair
– It enhances the overall idea and concept of the piece
Understanding– Answers will display a good understanding of the role and/or history of the High Sheriff
– A convincing and compelling personal response
Structure– Answers will be well-organised and coherent
– Well-crafted and fluent with inventive structural features
– Extensive and ambitious vocabulary used appropriately
Evidence of research– Content demonstrates that research of the current and past role of the High Sheriff has been carried out
SPAG– High level of accuracy in all spelling
– Any punctuation used is relevant and correct
– The response is grammatically correct
– Overall and particularly for spoken entries, your goal is to communicate successfully


  • £250 cash prize for the winner
  • A day spent with the High Sheriff – the day will be targeted towards future study/career aspirations of the winner as well as to act in a support capacity to the High Sheriff in their formal duties
  • A ceremonial robe to wear for the day
  • A ‘Young High Sheriff for the day’ lapel badge to keep as a memento
  • £50 vouchers for two runners up

Warwickshire High Sheriff – Sophie Hilleary

The office of High Sheriff is one of only two royal appointments in the county and has been extant since Saxon times. Historically, the Sheriff was responsible for raising troops, collecting taxes and catching criminals, all powers which have over time been taken on by others. It is now a non-political, voluntary appointment for one year, still representing Law and Order in the county with an increased role in promoting voluntary work in the community

At a formal inauguration on Maundy Thursday 6 April 2023, Sophie Hilleary became Warwickshire’s 689th High Sheriff and will serve the County for the 2023/24 Shrieval year.

The ancient ceremony was held to transfer the title of High Sheriff from David Kelham Esquire to Sophie Hilleary in the former Courthouse at The Old Shire Hall in Warwick.

Speaking of her appointment to the office of High Sheriff, Sophie said:

I was beyond surprised and massively honoured to have been asked to serve our community in this ancient but important role. I look forward to carrying out my legal and ceremonial duties and supporting the High Sheriff’s charity, Crimebeat, which does so much with young people to help them reduce crime in our community.”

“With my experience in community health, I am also keen to bring added focus onto our local health services and the extensive voluntary activity that we all benefit from so much in our county.”

Warwickshire’s High Sheriff Sophie Hilleary

There have been High Sheriffs for at least 1,000 years. The original “Shire Reeves” were Royal officials appointed to enforce the King’s interests in a County, in particular the collection of revenues and the enforcement of law and order.

High Sheriffs had extensive powers. They judged cases in monthly courts and acted as law enforcement officers. They could raise the ‘hue and cry’ after criminals in the County and summon and command the ‘posse comitatus’, the full military force of the County. Sheriffs are mentioned in 27 of the 63 clauses of Magna Carta of 1215 and were clearly fundamental to the running of the Shires. By 1254 the High Sheriff supervised the election to Parliament of two Knights of the Shire.

From about 1300 their powers began to wane as more and more functions were centralised. The exchequer was established to administer tax collection and to audit the Sheriff’s accounts. A system of itinerant Justices and Assizes was set up. Sheriffs, however, maintained responsibility for issuing Writs, organising the Court, prisoners and juries, and executing sentences once they were pronounced. It was also the Sheriff’s responsibility to ensure the safety and comfort of the Judges. This is the origin of the High Sheriff’s modern day duty of care for the well-being of High Court Judges. Further changes came with the creation of Coroners and Justices of the Peace and the establishment of Lord-Lieutenants as the personal representatives of the Sovereign.

Tradition says that Queen Elizabeth I originated the practice of appointing a high Sheriff by pricking their names when the Roll was brought to her while she was engaged in embroidery. Sadly, this is a myth since there is a Sheriffs’ Roll from the reign of King Henry VII, where the names are pricked through vellum. This is in fact an early form of document security. Sheriffs had to collect unpopular taxes, and could be personally liable for any shortfall. There was therefore an incentive to try to avoid appointment. No matter how high the bribe, however, no official could disguise a hole pierced thought the vellum against the appointee’s name. The practice of the Monarch pricking the names of High Sheriffs survives to this day.

In the 19th century Sheriffs’ responsibilities for police, prisons and Crown property were transferred to statutory bodies. Their surviving powers were codified in the Sheriffs Act of 1887. This Act, with subsequent amendments, remains in force to this day. Among other things it confirms the historic process of nomination by the Sovereign.

The Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs serving the Counties of England and Wales.

Their duties include attendance at royal visits in the County and support for His Majesty’s High Court Judges when on Circuit. Supporting the Crown and judiciary remain a central element of the role. They give active support and encouragement to the police and emergency services, to the probation and prison services and to other agencies involved with crime prevention, particularly among young people. Under the Criminal Law Act 1826, High Sheriffs present awards to people assisting the apprehension of offenders. They can act as Returning Officers for parliamentary elections in some counties.

High Sheriffs play an increasingly active role in promoting a wide range of voluntary work within their communities, together with encouraging and participating in projects designed to reduce crime. Many High Sheriffs give their own personal awards to individuals, often unsung heroes within small voluntary groups, who have made an outstanding contribution in some way. As the Office of High Sheriff is independent and non-political, they are therefore very well placed to bring together a wide range of people within the community they serve. High Sheriffs receive no remuneration.

The High Sheriff’s role can be summarised as follows:

  • To uphold and enhance the ancient Office of High Sheriff and to make a meaningful contribution to the High Sheriff’s County during the year of Office
  • To lend active support to the principal organs of the Constitution within their county – the Royal Family, the Judiciary, the Police and other law-enforcement agencies, the emergency services, local authorities and all recognised church and faith groups
  • To ensure the welfare of visiting High Court Judges; to attend on them at Court and to offer them hospitality
  • To support the Lord-Lieutenant on Royal visits and on other occasions as appropriate
  • To take an active part in supporting and promoting voluntary organisations within a County.

There is a High Sheriff in every county in England and Wales, and their history and tradition goes back before the Norman Conquest. The Office is the oldest Royal appointment. The modern day High Sheriff has a very different role and function to that of his or her ancient ancestors, but none the less plays an important role in our 21st century society.

With grateful thanks to our competition partners:

  • Moore and Tibbitts Solicitors (main sponsor)
  • High Sheriffs’ Association
  • Knowle Villa Books
  • Warwick Town Crier
  • Warwick Town Council
  • The Warwick Apprenticing Charities
  • Michaels Civic Outfitters

Design by Katie Jones.

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