The High Sheriff and his wife were invited to attend the Legal Service of The high Sheriff of Staffordshire, Mrs Anne Fisher, at the Collegiate Church of St Mary in Stafford. The ceremony was on occasion of the opening of The Hilary Term of the High Court at Stafford. The ceremony was followed by a reception luncheon in The County Buildings near the the Church.
Located in the heart of Stafford, County Buildings was built in 1802 and extended in 1899. It is a magnificent grade 2 listed building and providing a unique setting for such a distinctive ceremony and reception.
St. Mary’s Church has been the centre of worship in Stafford for over 1000 years, and is the Civic Church of the town. A short history tells of the church dating from the early 13th century, with 14th century transepts and 15th century clerestories and crossing tower. Excavations in 1954 revealed the adjacent late Anglo-Saxon church of St Bertelin. The church was collegiate when recorded in the Domesday Book when there were 13 Prebendary Canons. It became a Royal Peculiar around the thirteenth century, exempt from the jurisdiction of the Bishop, but this caused conflict and culminated in December 1258 when the new bishop Roger de Meyland came to Stafford with many armed men who forced entry and assaulted the canons, chaplains, and clerks.
The church survived as a collegiate institution until the dissolution of colleges and chantries in 1548. The church was then heavily restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott between 1841 and 1844.