Sheriff of Nottingham

From Academic Kids

The Sheriff of Nottingham was historically the office responsible for law and order in Nottinghamshire, directly appointed by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham. The Sheriff of Nottingham is perhaps most famous for his role in the Robin Hood legends.



There has been a Sheriff of Nottingham since 1450, when the two posts were held by William Sadler and Thomas Lyng. The sheriffs at that time may have been responsible for "the delivery of prisoners to the courts, the collection of rents and taxes and generally keeping the ‘King’s Peace’".

From 1450 until 1835, the office was shared between two people, one of whom may have been chosen by the Mayor, the other by the town council. The change to a single sheriff was explained by Lincoln city website merely as "Local Government changes".[1] (

There have been 4 female sheriffs, the first being in 1931, and the most recent in 2001.

Present sheriff

The current Sheriff of Nottingham is Councillor Derek Cresswell, Labour Party. The office is considered largely ceremonial, promoting the city in tourism and business.

There are interviews with Joan Casson ( and John Hartshorne ( both recent sheriffs, describing the role of the present-day Sheriff of Nottingham.

The Robin Hood stories

In the legend of Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham is the chief official whose task it is to capture outlaws such as Robin Hood, either to ensure the safety of trade routes through Sherwood Forest, or to arrest Outlaws for poaching the King's deer. In some stories, the Sheriff of Nottingham is portrayed as having a lecherous desire for Robin Hood's lady, Maid Marian.

The legends are generally set far from Nottingham, one explanation being that a short-staffed King of England placed the Sheriff of Nottingham in charge of law enforcement for much of northern england.

In some versions, the Sheriff is more a cowardly schemer while his assistant, Sir Guy of Gisbourne is a more competent and determined physical threat to Robin.

The Sheriff of Nottingham in modern fiction

In the Disney version of Robin Hood, the Sheriff is a fat wolf. He was originally intended to be a stupid goat.

The Richard Kluger novel "The Sheriff of Nottingham" gives a positive portrayal of the real-life 13th century sheriff, Philip Mark as a good man doing a thankless task. (The same sheriff appeared as an over-the-top psychotic in an episode of the Robin of Sherwood TV series.)

See also


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