THE "biggest and brightest" examples of British tradition were staged in Salisbury, as the High Sheriff of Wiltshire hosted the annual Rule of Law celebration.

On Sunday, March 3, High Sheriff of Wiltshire, Pradeep Bhardwaj Esq. hosted the annual Rule of Law celebration in the city.

The celebrations included a civic reception in the guildhall, a ceremonial procession through the streets of Salisbury and a thanksgiving legal service and choral evensong in Salisbury Cathedral.

Residents were treated to a public procession from the guildhall to the Cathedral, made up of the Lord Lieutenant; the High Sheriff of Wiltshire, visiting High Sheriffs of several other counties and a number of other esteemed  individuals adorned in full ceremonial dresses with gold braids, wigs, chains and medals, showcasing a wonderful exhibition of British pageantry.

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The town crier announced the start of the procession from the steps of the guildhall. The procession made its way through the streets to Salisbury Cathedral, arriving at the west door.

The town crier and city beadle led the mayoral group, followed by the sergeant at mace leading the Governmental group, the assistant mace bearer leading the judicial group, and finally, the third mace bearer leading the shrieval and lieutenancy group.

The ‘Rule of Law‘ was formally enshrined in the Magna Carta of 1215 which confirmed that every citizen has the constitutional right to trial by a jury of twelve fellow citizens and that they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Upholding the Rule of Law has always been a central theme of the High Sheriff’s role, and over the centuries they have held regular celebrations to recognize its significance.

These normally take the form of an annual thanksgiving or ‘legal’ service hosted by the High Sheriff and attended by the county judiciary and law enforcement agencies.

The copy of the Magna Carta on display in Salisbury Cathedral is generally regarded as the best one still surviving.

A thief attempted to steal it in 2018 but and was apprehended by local bystanders, who were subsequently given a High Sheriff’s Reward for their bravery.

It was therefore quite appropriate that the ceremony was held in Salisbury Cathedral and was preceded by a public procession through the City for all citizens to witness.