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 2019-20: Marcia Reid Fotheringham, JP

Marcia was born in London and raised in NY.  Having completed 8 years at Hofstra University (Long Island, NY) and earning 3 degrees, she worked for almost 20 years as a mental health administrator and a psychologist - both for agencies and in private practice in the Boston area. 

Marcia moved to Cumbria in 1997 and married in 1999.  With her husband, Marcia owned and managed two dental practices. While they sold the larger practice three years ago, the Alston practice is still owned and managed by them. 

Marcia worked for the NHS as a psychologist/family therapist for 10 years and sat on a number of Boards. Over many years, she also raised money for numerous charities.  Because she loves jazz, she has sponsored a number of jazz artists to perform in our area. 

For the past 18 years, Marcia has been a magistrate and for the past two years was Chair of the North and West Cumbria Bench, in addition to becoming the North West Magistrates' Leader and National Representative.

Marcia's life changed a lot when she moved to Cumbria.  She was a true city-dweller. However, since living in Cumbria, one of Marcia's biggest accomplishments was learning to horse ride in our hills and valleys. She believes that it's the best way to see and experience our terrain. 

Marcia was a Trustee/Board Member of Safety Net for 5 years.

She joined Tulle House Museum as a Trustee/Member of the Board two years ago.

Marcia loves celebrating life, people-watching, fashion, dance, music, horse riding and the occasional walk.  She and Jim have 3 wonderful grandchildren.