Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Aug 2009

Tue 11 Aug 2009
eith Gledhill – A Year in the life of the High Sheriff of Lancashire

Keith Gledhill made his first and very welcome visit to Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society to give his presentation on the year he spent as High Sheriff of Lancashire. Before telling us about his experiences we were told about the history of the post and how it has transformed from one of the most powerful posts in the country to its current mostly ceremonial function. Today the High Sheriff remains the Sovereign's representative in the County for all matters relating to the Judiciary and the maintenance of law and order.
After the formation of the shires in 990 the first High Sheriff was appointed in 992. Keith was appointed High Sheriff in 1992 but before that he was approached to see if he would be interested in taking the post on. It was also very significant that his time as sheriff coincided with Preston’s Guild Week.

Keith Gledhill

A predecessor to Keith was John of Gaunt
High Sheriff of Lancashire 1362-1371

Being unpaid it is quite a responsible and serious undertaking. Previous to Keith’s appointment a list of names of possible future sheriffs was submitted to a tribunal which chooses three names to put to the Sovereign. Even now, 17 years after his appointment, Keith doesn’t know who nominated him. Keith’s factual and at times amusing description of his experiences covered the several fittings for his uniform of office and also the design of a Coat of Arms (Armorial Bearings) which incorporated information from his Blackpool origins, schools and business. His fascinating presentation was enjoyed by everyone and we hope he can return to give one of his other talks. BH.

Princess Anne and Keith in 1992

Keith's Coat of Arms

Design of the brooch worn by Her Majesty the Queen Duke of Lancaster at the service held to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the link between the Crown and the Duchy of Lancaster. July 23rd 1999

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wearing the brooch.

Sat 01 Aug 2009

Chorley Branch of the Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society held its fifth annual “Celebration of Family History” at Astley Hall, Chorley. This year the celebration was bigger and better as it was held in Astley Hall and in the recently refurbished Astley Hall Coach House. Thanks to Peter Robinson for setting up our display panels and those who turned up to man our stall in shifts through the day. Since last year there have been so many improvements to Astley that there was always something to look at. As well as the many groups represented and their informative displays we had various lectures in the Astley main entrance hall, the magnificent gardens at the rear of the hall opening up new views and the wonderful Café Ambio which did a roaring trade all through the day. BH.

Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society stand

The following message came in from Ron Chapman and I think it is worth reproducing here.

This is a nice comment that Bob Dobson has made in the Society Forum.
I attended the family history day at Astley Hall, Chorley today. It was run by the Chorley branch (Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society), and their committee is to be congratulated upon the success of the day. The public came from far and wide to see stalls, listen to several lectures and witness the working of the branch & society in the Research Room. Few other branches have Chorley's facilities and few have a committee which works as hard in bringing family history to the public's attention.
On a personal note, I was approached by a lady who believes we may be related. Certainly we used to live a few hundred yards apart. It was worth me going just for this. I await her email

Bob Dobson
May also thank all those who helped in any way in organizing and running the event in any way. We have no final figures as yet but I feel that we had more people trough than last year (400). I must especially thank Jean Ashcroft, without who this event would not take place. Jean’s efforts are not just over a few days like myself but over many months. Indeed she has already started for next year. Many others worked very hard to ensure the success. I would like to mention these people but fear missing somebody out. You know who you are and I thank you all. I must also thank the exhibitors. Without them the show could not go on. Astley Hall management and staff, and Chorley council must also be thanked plus the CVS for their encouragement.

I must say that the new facilities at the Coach House complex are superb.
And what a good enjoyable, happy day it was. The rain kept off, our customers went home happy, Café Ambio did well, the Hall did well, the stall holders did well, the LFHHS Chorley Research Centre – Family History did well, and we all had a very satisfying day. You cannot ask for more.
Ron Chapman

While there I took the opportunity to have a look round Astley Hall and take a few photos.