Our members were treated to a rare glimpse into the world of Heraldry at the fireside chat on 27 January 2021, with Alan Jackson in the Chair. Not only did Thomas Woodcock, the Garter Principle King of Arms, speak about his ancient position, which existed since the early 15th Century, but he was joined by his sister Catherine Penny (our member), who is the High Sheriff for Lancashire and who gave a tempting insight into her role.

Members were shown two striking photographs of each of them in their ceremonial dress. Thomas wears a magnificent tabard and Catherine has a dark green velvet suit and hat, and of course, the Lancashire Rose.

Garter Principle King of Arms is a member of the Royal Household and the senior herald and genealogist at the College of Arms in London. Thomas has been very busy recently introducing new peers to the House of Lords.

The Queen personally appoints the High Sheriff of Lancashire, a role dating back over 1000 years. Catherine said that, since the reign of Henry II, Judges have been sent round the country and have been welcomed and entertained by the High Sheriff. She said that one of the other main features of her role nowadays is to support and promote voluntary work. The shield of the High Sheriff is hung in the Shire Court in Lancaster Castle. Unfortunately, Catherine’s year of office commenced on March 2020 and coincided with the COVID 19 restrictions, thereby curtailing many of the events and functions which she would otherwise have expected to undertake.