Wiltshire’s new High Sheriff was sworn in on Sunday (2 April), in a ceremony which dates back to Saxon times.

Lady Penny Marland undertook her declaration and acceptance at Salisbury Cathedral, taking over from Sir David Hempleman-Adams.

Lady Marland said: “I am honoured and privileged to be the High Sheriff of Wiltshire for the next 12 months. I was brought up in Broadchalke near Salisbury and now live nearby in Odstock. I have a keen interest in history, and I maintain that interest through my involvement, as trustee of both the Chalke Valley History Festival and Salisbury Museum.

“Since 2002 I have worked in Dorset as a probation officer. During that time I become very aware of the plight of people with mental health issues who get caught up in the criminal justice system. For that reason I hope to raise awareness of the problem and support organisations who help people living with mental illness lead fulfilling lives in the community.”

The High Sheriff is the Sovereign’s representative in the county for matters of law and order and the judiciary. It is the oldest secular office in England and Wales after the Crown and modern High Sheriffs still have a close relationship with judges, magistrates, the police, the coroner and the probation service.

Their traditional duties include attending a visit by any member of the Royal Family within the county, being prepared to be the returning officer at parliamentary elections, ensuring the well-being and protection of High Court Judges when they visit the county and presenting Court awards