Updated 2nd March 2022

Following the passing of Verderer Maurice Vangarison Bent Esq the Sheriff of the county of Gloucestershire gave notice that a county court shall be held at Gloucester Cathedral on Tuesday 1 March 2022 to elect a new verderer for the Forest of Dean.

The election of a Verderer remains similar to the procedure used for at least seven centuries. Following the death of a Verderer, the burial is notified to the Crown by the steward of the Verderers Court. A writ, tested at the Royal Courts of Justice is then sent to the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, commanded by the Sovereign to arrange for the election of another Verderer.

The High Sheriff fixes a date for the election and gives notice by advertisement and poster and then supervises the election.

If there is more than one nominee, all residents of the county of Gloucestershire (except those of Gloucester and Bristol) are entitled to vote and the election is decided by a show of hands. If the outcome is not clear, a poll can be demanded - the polling would be undertaken as soon as possible after the hearing.

After a successful candidate is chosen by show of hands or poll, the High Sheriff administers them the oath of office.


Who can stand as a candidate?

Only those who are resident in the Forest of Dean and the parish of Hope Mansell in Herefordshire are eligible to stand as a candidate.

The name and address of any person intending to stand as a candidate shall be notified to the Under Sheriff at the County Sheriff’s Office by the deadline of the notice.


Who can vote?

Only those who are resident in the County of Gloucestershire (excluding the cities of Gloucester and Bristol) may cast a vote at the election.


The Election

On Tuesday 1 March 2022, at 11am the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire held court at Gloucester Cathedral.  Over 300 people attended to hear the two candidates, Spencer Thomas and Sue Middleton, give speeches on why the are standing as Verderer and what it means to them.

In a tradition that has been held for centuries votes were cast in a show of hands.  Forestry England staff were on hand to count and report the results to the Sheriff. 

With votes cast history was made as the elected candidate Sue Middleton took the oath, and became the first woman to be elected a Verderer for the Forest of Dean.


Find out more about the Verderers of the Forest of Dean: www.deanverderers.org.uk