High Sheriff

This tradition goes back 1,000 years and the High Sheriff is the oldest secular officer under the Crown.

Formerly the High Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the centuries most of the responsibilities associated with the post have been transferred elsewhere or are now defunct, so that its official functions are now largely ceremonial.

Today's duties include attendance at Royal Visits to the county, escorting High Court Judges on circuit in the county.

Whilst the duties of the role have evolved over time supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements of the role today. In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector. In recent years High Sheriffs in many parts of England and Wales have been particularly active in encouraging crime reduction initiatives, especially amongst young people. Many High Sheriffs also assist Community Foundations and local charities working with vulnerable and other people both in endorsing and helping to raise the profile of their valuable work. The High Sheriff Association adopted DebtCred and Crimebeat in recent years in response to specific areas of need.

The office of High Sheriff is held for one year.  A nomination ceremony is held each November in the Royal Courts of Justice. Three names are put forward for the Office of High Sheriff in each county and one of them is selected by the Sovereign at a subsequent meeting of the Privy Council, the appointed name is "pricked with a bodkin".

High Sheriffs receive no remuneration and no part of the expense of a High Sheriff's year falls on the public purse. The Office is independent, non-political and unpaid. High Sheriffs have a particular interest in law and order and pay special attention to the work of such statutory bodies as the Police, the Prison Service and the Probation Service.

For further information about the role and history of the High Sheriff please visit the High Sheriff's Association

High Sheriff of Cumbria 2020-21: Julie Barton


Julie Barton grew up in Ulverston, attending St Mary's RC Primary School and Ulverston Victoria High School. She went on to study at Durham University. After graduation in 1989, Julie returned to Furness and started her career as a teacher at Holy Family School, Barrow-in-Furness. Julie and Peter married in 1990 and have two grown up sons.

In 1993 Julie actively supported Peter in setting up Forge Europa, an LED lighting company based in Ulverston and Dalton-in-Furness. They started the business in the spare room at home from a standing start with no customers, no suppliers and no financial backers. Together they led Forge Europa to become an innovative lighting company with customers in over 20 countries. Julie was instrumental in the company winning a Queen's Award for Outstanding Innovation in 2009. She continues to lead the way on corporate and social responsibilities across an international supply chain and in excellence in environmental management.  

Julie has always taken an active role in community involvement both in her personal and professional life. She led Forge Europa to be the first manufacturing company in the North-West to be awarded the CommunityMark. Julie has many years' experience as a supporter of various charities, as a governor of Furness College, a parish councillor, a catechist in her home parish, as a supporter of Ulverston's festivals and as a fundraiser.

As High Sheriff, Julie has chosen to focus on tackling social isolation and loneliness as the theme for her shrieval year. She will also be actively supporting Cumbria Community Foundation. 


The High Sheriff of Cumbria Special Recognition Award

 High Sheriff of Cumbria, Julie Barton has launched a Special Recognition Award. Julie said, "every day I hear amazing stories of acts of kindness and selflessness made by local people who are supporting their fellow Cumbrians during the Covid-19 Crisis."

This new award is being launched at the start of Volunteers' Week UK to honour volunteers and individuals across Cumbria going above and beyond in their work, who give outstanding support to others during the current pandemic.  Anyone can nominate an exceptional volunteer or voluntary group or individual they feel deserves their amazing acts of kindness and generosity to be uniquely acknowledged and thanked. Each nomination will be reviewed carefully by a selection panel and successful nominees will receive a certificate and personal letter of thanks.


It is easy to nominate someone who has made an outstanding contribution. Please visit https://www.highsheriffofcumbria.co.uk/contact-high-sheriff/ to download the nomination form and accompanying information sheet.