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Profiled: High Sheriff of Essex – Lorna Rolfe

20 Dec Profiled: High Sheriff of Essex – Lorna Rolfe

Meet the High Sheriff of Essex – Lorna Rolfe.

Lorna Rolfe has called Essex home for more than 35 years and is the place where she has brought up her family, been a long-serving magistrate, a successful businesswoman and an active member of the community.

Upon taking up the role of High Sheriff of Essex, She became the 836th person and only the seventh woman to hold the prestigious office which by tradition involves upholding the Queen’s Peace.  In more recent times, the role has evolved and now has an emphasis on promoting crime prevention and community safety.

When she found out about her appointment, which she describes as “a huge privilege”, Lorna started to research previous High Sheriffs of Essex.

She was intrigued to find they had such a wide variety of interests and activities and was also pleased to come across references to King Robert the Bruce and his historical connections with the county.

Lorna says her role as a magistrate over the past 30 years has given her an extensive insight into the county and its people.


There have been High Sheriffs for at least 1,000 years. The original ‘Shire Reeves’ were Royal officials appointed to enforce the King’s interests in a County, in particular the collection of revenues and taxes, and the maintenance of law and order. High Sheriffs had extensive powers. They were in effect Judge, Justice of the Peace and Jury before the development of the Justices and Assizes system.

Today the High Sheriff is required to make a meaningful contribution to his or her county during their year of office.  The role involves giving active support to the Royal family, the judiciary, the police and other law-enforcement agencies, the emergency services, local authorities and all recognised church and faith groups and includes supporting and promoting voluntary organisations within the county.



Image courtesy of Rayleigh Town Museum