25 February Club Evening Meeting - Graham Barker, High Sheriff of Berkshire
The High Sheriff was originally the King's representative on taxation upholding the law in Saxon times. The title of Sheriff is therefore much older than the other crown appointment, the Lord Lieutenant which came about after 1545. Unlike the Lord Lieutenants who generally hold their appointment until their death or incapacity, the title of High Sheriff is appointed/reappointed annually. The High Sheriff is assisted by an Under-Sheriff of Berkshire.
The earliest recorded Sheriff was Godric, who was killed in 1066 and since 1800 there have been only 5 High Sheriffs from Maidenhead:
1822 Sir Gilbert East
1897 Henry Gold
1907 Major Edward Arthur Barry of Ockwells Manor
2014 Christopher Koo
and now Graham Barker
Graham told us of the modern role of the High Sheriff, which is now largely ceremonial, but carries the status of being the Queen’s highest judicial officer in the county. The role involves a mix of ceremonial, charitable and community functions.