IN a ceremony that dates back to Saxon times, Wiltshire’s new High Sheriff, Peter Addington, was sworn in on Saturday.

Mr Addington undertook his declaration and acceptance at Devizes Town Hall, taking over from William Wyldbore-Smith. He will be responsible for a number of ceremonial duties during his year of office.

Mr Addington, from Calne, has been farming in Wiltshire for 45 years, during which time he has been active in marketing organisations and was chairman of Wiltshire National Farmers Union.

In recent years he has been a trustee of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and was the regional welfare officer looking after central southern England for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Association.

He is married to Rosemary, who worked for many years as a practice nurse in Calne, and they have four sons.

Mr Addington said: “I am honoured and privileged to be the High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 2014. I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet many of those people who work, often behind the scenes, to make our county a better place.”

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, police, the coroner and the probation service.

Their duties include attendance on any member of the Royal Family visiting 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 and presenting court awards.