New Aldermanic Sheriff takes up office

Parmley Chain & Badge

Every year, the City of London elects two Sheriffs. This September, Musicians’ Company Pastmaster Dr. Andrew Parmley took up office as Aldermanic Sheriff of the City of London, along with Non-Aldermanic Sheriff, Fiona Adler. But what is a Sheriff, you may ask. And what do they do?

What is a Sheriff?
Sheriffs once held the highest office in the City of London before being replaced in 1189 by the Lord Mayor. Their duty was to govern the City of King’s representations, collect royal revenues and enforce royal justice.

What do they do?
21st century Sheriffs support the Lord Mayor whose role is to represent City businesses and help the City Corporation advise Government on what’s needed to help the financial services sector to function well. Supporting a Lord Mayor, whose monthly schedule involves spending some 90 days abroad, addressing 10,000 people face-to-face and making 67 speeches requires boundless energy and utmost resilience!

What are the types of Sheriff?
There are two types of Sheriff: one aldermanic, the other non-aldermanic. While the roles during the year of office are similar, the Aldermanic Sheriff’s shrieval year could be described as a testing ground for someone who aspires to become Lord Mayor.

What are the highlights of being a Sheriff?
Dr Andrew Parmley: ‘Being a Sheriff is a chance to contribute to the nation’s wealth and cultural well-being and enhance the city’s global reputation as the place in which to live, work and do business. In addition, we are delighted to be serving the City alongside Sheriff Fiona Adler and her husband, David Moss. They are fantastically good company, delightful people and very keen to get on with the job of supporting the Lord Mayor and serving the Corporation of London and the Livery at large. One of the other joys of holding this particular office is that we get to spend a lot of time with some of the most interesting and entertaining people at the Old Bailey. Members of the Musicians’ Company would be amazed at the breadth and depth of their individual and collective experience of music, especially opera.’

How does it feel to be elected?
Dr Andrew Parmley: ‘The first thing I want to say about being elected as Sheriff is just how humbling an experience it has been. To feel the weight of fourteen centuries of predecessors on my shoulders, to feel today the support of several thousand Liverymen willing me on, to reflect on my Lancastrian origins and the journey which will take me to the Old Bailey and, strangely, even to feel the pride of my long-departed parents, all this contextualises my present optimism and zeal to get on with it. Of course there is very little time for reflection as every day’s deluge of emails from the Remembrancer’s team, the City Solicitor, Mansion House and the Old Bailey leave a person with little time to worry about what to do next!’

Alderman and Sheriff Dr Andrew Parmley
Andrew wears the Shrieval Chain and Badge of Office. Designed by London Goldsmith Grant Macdonald, the design centres around his love of music and has a colour scheme inspired by his hometown. Andrew’s motto DEUS TIBI PARMULA FORTIS, which contains a pun on his name, can be translated as “God is a strong shield to you.”
Members can read Dr Parmley’s personal account of taking up office in Preserve Harmony issue 49 which will be available to download in due course.