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


The High Sheriff for Cumbria 2018-2019 is Simon Frederick Michael Berry.

He is married to Diana and they have three grown up sons Robert, Ben and Elliot and three grandchildren.

Simon is Chairman of English Lakes Hotels Resorts and Venues, a fourth generation family business, which diversified into hotels in the Lake District with the purchase of the Low Wood Hotel in 1952. It now comprises of five hotels, two health clubs and a marina in South Lakes and North Lancashire with over 400 staff.

Simon has been a Director of Cumbria Tourist Board, Best Western Hotels, Lake District Conservation Partnership, and was a non- executive Director of the Cumberland Building society for ten years.

Simon is part of the leadership team of his church Lakes Christian Centre and is chairman of the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association UK Board, as well as Director and Secretary on the US Board. Simon is a Trustee of Open Arms International. 

Simon enjoys cooking having been trained at Kendal College and the Savoy Hotel in London, as well as fine wine. He occasionally gets out cycling and low level walking in the Lake District.