Voluntary Sector Support

There are three main categories of the Voluntary sector that the High Sheriff role supports, and encourages and these are linked with the following:

  • Groups of young people pursuing positive activities which in turn helps to reduce crime e.g. scouts and guides;
  • Emergency services e.g. Northumberland RNLI and police services;
  • Supporting criminal courts, and agencies involved with crime prevention e.g. magistrates.

The underlying theme of the High Sheriff of Northumberland is “Youth Against Crime” which is aimed at encouraging and supporting organisations whose work helps to engage young people in positive activity and encourage them to develop greater community awareness. Small financial awards are presented to groups at an awards Ceremony each year.

High Sheriffs Awards

Northumberland is very fortunate to have a fund, which is managed and administered by Community Foundation (Tyne & Wear and Northumberland) and invites applications from across the county.

This fund was started in 1992 by Michael Loyd, from Haydon Bridge, when he was High Sheriff. He modernised the centuries-old post when he set up the Northumberland High Sheriff Fund. Each year awards are given out to a range of organisations in the community who encourage useful and beneficial pursuits for young people, helping them to be upstanding citizens and in 2018/19 the High Sheriff fund gave out £47,000 to approximately 73 voluntary and community groups across Northumberland.

Who can apply
Awards are made to voluntary and community groups and registered charities working in Northumberland.  The project must involve work with children and young people aged 10 to 25 years old.  To make an application to the High Sheriff of Northumberland fund visit How to Apply for a dedicated online application form.

Further details
Awards are made throughout the year. There is an annual celebratory event in February or March for all recipients of an award during each year.

If you would like to make a donation in recognition of the work of young people in your region please follow the link to the High Sheriff of Northumberland Awards page on the Community Foundation website.

County History

Northumberland is the most northerly county in England and stretches from urban Tyneside in the south to the rolling wilderness and beauty of the Cheviot Hills in the north. It is flanked on the east by the North Sea and to the south by the stunning Tyne Valley with the North Pennines to the south and west. It is has the fewest number of people yet the largest number of castles of any county in England, including Alnwick Castle of Harry Potter and Blackadder fame.

It can also boast one of the most dramatic monuments in Hadrian’s Wall. Originally built as the border between England and Scotland it now lies firmly in Northumberland with the border 50 miles north cutting across the Cheviots to just north of Berwick-upon-Tweed boasting the only football team in England that plays in the Scottish league, just adding to Northumberland title as the Border County.

It was the Normans who divided the old region of ‘Northumbria’ into what we know today as the counties of Northumberland and County Durham. Once done Northumberland was divided up and given to Norman Barons. In 1215 when King John sealed the Magna Carta, from all the barons across the country who could have been chosen to go to Runnymede, two out of the 25 barons chosen to witness the event came from Northumberland:

Eustace de Vesci John FitzRobert of Warkworth
Lord of Alnwick in Northumberland

Eustace’s father William was Sheriff of Northumberland in 1176 and John’s father, Robert, was Sheriff of Northumberland in 1203 as John himself was from 1224 to 1227.

Most important and well known of the later Northumbrian barons, were of course the Percy Family. They acquired land, including Alnwick and Warkworth Castles, in the early fourteenth century and have been at Alnwick Castle ever since. The current Duchess of Northumberland is also Lord Lieutenant of the County.

History of Sheriffs in Northumberland
The first known reference to Sheriffs or “Shire Reeves” is in 992 A.D. when the king ordered them to collect the hated Danegeld tax being the ransom required by the Danes after they defeated the Saxons at the Battle of Maldon. Thereafter, they became royal appointees in the shires to look after royal interests, in particular the collection of revenues and the enforce law and order. The first person recorded as High Sheriff of Northumberland was Gilebert who was High Sheriff of Northumberland from 1076-1080.

A list of High Sheriffs for the County of Northumberland since 1904

1904 T. Taylor

1905 J.D. Milburn

1906 A. Browne

1907 J.C. Straker

1908 Colonel H.F.Swan

1909 N.C. Ogle

1910 The Hon. C.A. Parsons

1911 Capt. J.H. Cuthbert

1912 D.H.W. Askew

1913 H. Pease

1914 Sir Hugh Blackett, Bt

1915 G.H. Waddilove

1916 R.G.E. Mortimer

1917 W.J. Benson

1918 Sir George Noble

1919 E.G. Collingwood

1920 Sir Hubert Swinburne, Bt

1921 C.D. Smith

1922 P.E. Noble

1923 Lieut Col Sir Alexander Leith

1924 Colonel P.B. Cookson

1925 Brigadier Gen. B.F. Widdrington

1926 A. Schofield

1927 J.E. Cowen

1928 Sir Leonard Milburn Bt.

1929 W.N. Villiers

1930 Capt. H.B. Speke

1931 Major P. Eustace-Smith

1932 Captain W.H. Charlton

1933 Lieut. Col. The Hon H.E. Joicey DSO

1934 C.F.M. Drew-Wilkinson

1935 Major G.D. Anderson

1936 Captain A.W. Milburn

1937 E.F. Collingwood

1938 T.D. Straker-Smith

1939 Lt Col. H.S. Bell

1940 N.D. Newall

1941 F.B. Atkinson

1942 Colonel B. Cruddas

1943 Sir Arthur Munro Sutherland KBE

1944 J. Montagu Craster

1945 Lieut Col T.G. Taylor

1946 Lieut Col R. Straker OBE, MC

1947 Mayor J.G.G. Rea

1948 C.I.C. Bosanquet

1949 Captain A.M. Keith

1950 A.H. Ridley

1951 W.A. Benson

1952 Lieut Col H.H. Peile, OBE

1953 Major C.D. Blackett

1954 G.H. Allgood

1955 Sir Charles Morrison-Bell, Bt

1956 Humphrey Nobel, MBE, MC

1957 Major F.J. Charlton

1958 A.S.C Browne

1959 Lieut Col N.H.R. Speke, MC

1960 Lieut Col W.E. Hedley-Dent

1961 J.C. Blackett-Ord

1962 Captain A.J. Baker-Cresswell

1963 J.J. Straker, MC

1964 Major D.J. Warde-Aldham

1965 Major J.E. Joicey, MC

1966 F.N.H. Widdrington

1967 W.J. Straker-Smith

1968 Colonel S. Enderby, CVO, DSO, MC

1969 Colonel H.R. Nicholl

1970 D.J. Orde

1971 The Hon P.J.W. Fairfax

1972 Sir Ralph Carr-Ellison

1973 Mayor J.E. Benson

1974 Major R.P Hedley-Dent

1975 P.O.R. Bridgeman

1976 M.J.B Cookson, OBE

1977 Sir Michael Straker, CBE

1978 J. Browne-Swinburne

1979 T.R.P.S Norman

1980 K.A. Clark

1981 Lieut Commander C.D.M. Ridley

1982 J.C.R. Trevelyan

1983 R.G.F. Armstrong

1984 L.G. Allgood

1985 T.W. Sale

1986 W.J. Rogers-Coltman. OBE

1987 A.R. Pearson

1988 C.J.R. Nicholl

1989 E.A. Wrangham

1990 Lieut Col H. Crossman

1991 P.J. Cookson

1992 J.M. Loyd

1993 R. Errington

1994 Mrs. M.A. Lyndon-Skeggs/ MBE

1995 A.R. Wood

1996 J.F.C. Festing

1997 A.G.P. Ramsay

1998 C.A.F. Baker-Cresswell

1999 Mrs E. Fairbairn

2000 S.C. Enderby

2001 Lieut J.P.P. Anderson

2002 Sir Michael Blake. Bt

2003 Mrs J.B. Gibson

2004 Mrs S.A. Burnell

2005 I.B. Speke

2006 E.D. Grounds

2007 Sir Hugh Blackett, Bt

2008 The Hon. C.R. Beaumont

2009 J.H. Blackett-Ord

2010 The Hon. Mrs K. Crosbie-Dawson

2011 Reverend Fiona Sample

2012 Mrs H.M. Benson

2013 P.R. Loyd

2014 J.M. Carr-Ellison

Role of High Sheriffs

The key role of High Sheriff today is to:

  • support the Royal Family, the Legal System, the Police & other law enforcement agencies, emergency services, local authorities, church / faith groups
  • ensure the welfare of visiting High Court Judges, be with them in Court and offer them hospitality support the Lord-Lieutenant on royal visits and other occasions
  • take an active part in supporting and promoting the voluntary sector and give encouragement to the voluntary organisations in their County.

Although the High Sheriff is the Queen’s legal representative in the county in real life the role is largely ceremonial.

High Sheriffs are appointed for one year which normally starts in March following a two-year period of being in nomination.

The office is a royal appointment, made in the Privy Council by the Queen. It is non-political and unpaid. None of the High Sheriff’s expenses falls on the public purse.


The Northumberland High Sheriffs’ Fund is managed by Tyne & Wear and Northumberland Community Foundation(reg. charity no. 700510).

Northumberland Police

Northumberland Fire and Rescue

Northumberland County Council

To find out all that is going on in the County of Northumberland visit Northumberland