Devon’s new High Sheriff is sworn in

John Rous reads his Declaration of Office as High Sheriff of Devon.

John Rous reads his Declaration of Office as High Sheriff of Devon. - Credit: Archant

Clovelly Estate owner the Honourable John Rous begins his 12-month term of office after being sworn in at a special ceremony in Clovelly’s All saints Church.

Previous High Sheriff John Lee OBE and new High Sheriff John Rous with his Cadet for the year, Katie

Previous High Sheriff John Lee OBE and new High Sheriff John Rous with his Cadet for the year, Katie Boys. - Credit: Archant

THE new High Sheriff of Devon has said he is ‘honoured and humbled’ to be following in the footsteps of the many distinguished people who have held the office.

All Saints Church was filled with friends and dignitaries to see John Rous appointed as High Sheriff

All Saints Church was filled with friends and dignitaries to see John Rous appointed as High Sheriff of Devon. - Credit: Archant

The Honourable John Rous DL, the owner of Clovelly Estate, was sworn in at a formal ceremony today (Thursday) in All Saints Church, Higher Clovelly.

Pictured outside the church after the ceremony are former High Sheriff John Lee OBE, churchwarden Ch

Pictured outside the church after the ceremony are former High Sheriff John Lee OBE, churchwarden Christopher West, Reverend Shirley Henderson, Chaplain to the High Sheriff, deputy under sheriff Tim Richards, Cadet Katie Boys, the new High Sheriff John Rous, Judith Kauntze JP and churchwarden Susan Curtis. - Credit: Archant

Mr Rous has taken over the reins of the oldest secular office in the country from John Lee OBE and he will hold the post for a year before handing on to his own successor.

At a ceremony and service conducted by the Reverend Shirley Henderson, the new High Sheriff’s Chaplain for the year, attended by family, friends and dignitaries, Mr Lee addressed the packed church in his final speech as High Sheriff, before Mr Rous was formally sworn in to office for the year 2014-15.


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He read aloud the formal Declaration of Office, still in its archaic 1887 format and signed the official documents in the presence of witnesses including Judith Kauntze, JP, Chairman of the North and East Devon Magistrates Association.

Then in a short personal speech he said: “I am immensely honoured to be nominated by my predecessor as High Sheriff for our county.

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“In my preparation for office, John Lee could not have been more helpful than he has been, inviting me to the many functions throughout the year.

“I am honoured and humbled to follow many distinguished men and women from Devon in this office.”

Thanking the many friends he had in the area for being such a great source of support, and all those who had attended today’s ceremony.

He announced the appointment and continuation in office for his Under Sheriff, Simon Barnett, his Deputy Under Sheriff, Tim Richards and the Clerk to the Shrievalty, Neil Hunt. Katie Boys from Kingsbridge has been appointed as Cadet to the High Sheriff.

In his own speech, Mr Lee said: “It has been a great year, a deeply humbling year and one I have thoroughly enjoyed, and one I will remember for the rest of my life.

“I know that John Rous will make an excellent High Sheriff, he will have a fantastic year and I wish him every success.”

The High Sheriff of Devon is appointed by the Crown and second only in credence to the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, Sir Eric Dancer.

A High Sheriff’s role includes attendance at royal visits in the county and support for Her Majesty’s High Court Judges when on circuit. High Sheriffs play an increasingly active and supportive role in relation to the police and emergency services and in lending encouragement to public sector agencies such as the probation and prison services and to voluntary organisations.

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