The High Sheriff's Sword is the symbol of the Queen's Justice.
In 1869 the Lord Chamberlain's office issued new guidelines governing the wearing of Court Dress, and in an effort to standardise the appearance of gentlemen attending at Court, prescribed for the first time a suit of clothes cut from black silk velvet and trimmed with cut steel buttons. Hitherto Court uniform had consisted of a coat and breeches of superfine cloth worn with a floral waistcoat. This in turn had descended from the lavishly decorated court clothes worn during the reign of King George III.
The new, more restrained style of dress, became the regulation uniform for High Sheriffs and retained some of the elements of dress from a previous age. These included a species of folding cocked hat known as a 'chapeau bras', which had first made its appearance in the last years of the eighteenth century, and the black silk rosette, the last vestige of the bag wig of the 1740s. The coat itself echoed the style of the 1780s, though the advancement of nineteenth century tailoring techniques lent a more fitted silhouette to this later garment.
There are no precise regulations governing Court Dress for Lady Sheriffs. However, ladies are encouraged to wear Court Dress buttons and cut steel shoe buckles for their Shrieval outfits, along with a wigbag. Lady Sheriffs do not wear swords, though a cut steel sword may be carried before them in procession.
The High Sheriff's badge displays the swords of Mercy (curtana, with the point cut off) and Justice, both of which are carried at the Coronation of a sovereign, crossed in saltire and above them is the Royal Crown to symbolise this royal appointment.
The badge shown is the High Sheriff's Badge for Gloucestershire which includes images of a sheep to signify the historic importance to the county and the Cotwsolds in particular, the River Severn which runs through the county, Gloucester Cathedral and The Forest of Dean.
Find out about the Current High Sheriff here >>