The Office of High Sheriff of Lancashire

The High Sheriff of Lancashire has ancient origins and is personally appointed by the King in his Right as Duke of Lancaster. The office, as Keeper of the Kings Peace, is unpaid and held for one year.


Catherine Penny the High Sheriff of Lancashire 2020 - 2021

Catherine Penny (née Woodcock) graduated from Exeter University with a BSc in Engineering Science, following which she pursued a career in Horticulture. After studying at Pershore College she returned to Lancashire to set up her own plant nursery which specialised in Old Fashioned Roses, including the variety Gallica officinalis, The Red Rose of Lancaster.

Since selling her business in 2002, Catherine has continued to advise on plants and gardening from her home at Dutton Hall. Together with her husband, Andrew, she has developed and expanded the gardens there, establishing notable collections of trees and shrubs – in particular, a Plant Heritage National Collection of Hybrid Musk roses. The garden is open for charity on certain days during the summer.

Catherine has taken on a number of roles in the voluntary sector. She is the Chairman of the Shepherd Street Trust – a Preston based charity which provides funding for children and young people in need of assistance – and until recently the Treasurer of the Lancashire Fundraising committee of The Art Fund. She is a trustee of Plant Heritage and has served as Chairman of the charity’s North West group for over a decade. She has also been the honorary Clerk to Dutton Parish Council for the last 16 years.

Catherine is a staunch Lancastrian and has deep roots in the County. The Woodcock family have been freemen of Preston since 1622 and Catherine was delighted to have been able to inherit this honour at the 1992 Preston Guild. Her son, Francis, was admitted to the Guild in 2012.

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