High Sheriff of West Sussex
The office of High Sheriff, the oldest secular office under the Crown, has its origins in
Saxon times before the Norman conquest and originally held many of the responsibilities
that now rest with the Lord-Lieutenant, the judiciary, local authorities, coroners and
HM Revenue and Customs.
The office of High Sheriff remained first in precedence in every county until the reign
of Edward VII. In 1904 an Order in Council established the Lord-Lieutenant as the
Sovereign’s personal representative. The High Sheriff now takes precedence
immediately after the Lord-Lieutenant.
Please click here for a full list of High Sheriffs of West Sussex since 1086.
High Sheriffs serve for one year. A local advisory committee recommends individuals through the
Presiding Judge of the Circuit to the Privy Council. The formal selection of High Sheriffs is made annually at
a meeting of the Privy Council at which the Sovereign ‘pricks’ the list of forthcoming High Sheriffs with a bodkin.
The High Sheriff’s principal responsibilities are as follows:
To uphold and enhance the ancient office of High Sheriff and to make a meaningful contribution to the county during the year of office.
To support the Lord-Lieutenant on royal visits and other occasions as appropriate.
To ensure the well-being and protection of His Majesty’s High Court judges when on circuit in the county and attending them in court during the legal terms.
To lend active support to the principal organs of the Constitution within the county – the Royal Family, the Judiciary, the police and other law enforcement agencies, the emergency services, local authorities, the church and faith groups.
To take an active part in supporting and promoting the voluntary sector and giving all possible encouragement to voluntary organisations within the county.
Acting as Returning Officer for Parliamentary Elections.
Responsibility for the Proclamation of the Accession of a new Sovereign.
The current High Sheriff
The High Sheriff of West Sussex for 2023-24 is Mr Andrew (Andy) Bliss, QPM.
Andy Bliss has lived in West Sussex for over thirty years. After graduating
from Durham University with a degree in History and Archaeology he joined
Sussex Police in 1982. During his time in the Police Service, he served
variously as a beat officer, firearms officer and detective achieving the rank of
Chief Superintendent in Sussex before promotion to Chief Officer rank in
Essex and later becoming Chief Constable of Hertfordshire. He was also the
national policing lead for policy in relation to illicit drugs.
Since leaving the Police Service he has studied for a Master’s Degree in
Archaeology at the University of York and now undertakes research on
historic buildings and landscapes and also acts as a specialist advisor to
Historic England on preventing heritage crime – offences against historic
buildings, places and artefacts. He lives in Horsted Keynes with his wife
Hazel, a musician and music teacher. He has one son.
Andy was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) in 2010. He was elected
as a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2016.
He said 'It’s a great honour to be among the first High Sheriffs to be
appointed by His Majesty the King. In my year in office, my main focus will be
to support those who protect or care for the public – whether judges, the
emergency services, criminal justice agencies or voluntary organisations.
But as I get out on visits across the whole County, I also want to promote its
diversity and great history as well as putting in a word for that part of the
High Weald which sits within West Sussex – the area where I live.'
The High Sheriff can be contacted through his PA, Julia Mansergh.
The High Sheriff’s Chaplain is Rev. David Murdoch,
Rector of the Church of St. Giles, Horsted Keynes.
The High Sheriff is also supported by the Under Sheriff, Mr Kevin Smyth.
Telephone: 01273 841042 or 07711 031524