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Sheriff Boulton - Upholder of the Law

As High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1794, Matthew Boulton certainly had a connection with the operation of the law, though no one, really, expected him to personally take charge of law-enforcement.


Possibly because of his do-anything character, this lack of expectation did not translate into any kind of lack of activity on Boulton’s part.


Two well-known examples illustrate the point.


The first of these took place in January 1799 when Boulton led a number of Birmingham constables and fourteen of his own men to raid the dens of malefactors thought to have been forging the cartwheel coinage.


The second occurred just before Christmas 1800 when suspicion was aroused that an attempt would be made to burgle Soho and steal the employees’ pay and Christmas Bonuses.


Click the orange dots for more detailed accounts.

Apprehending Forgers
Apprehending Burglars

The High Sheriff, or Shire Reeve

is the oldest secular office under the Crown. Formerly the High Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the centuries most of the responsibilities associated with the post have been transferred elsewhere or are now defunct, so that its functions are now largely ceremonial.

The first of Matthew Boulton’s predecessors, Sir Richard Peshall, took office in 1333 and the position continues to the present day.

A full list of all the High Sheriffs of Staffordshire appears in Wikipedia