Charles Martell

Current High Sheriff

After leaving Shrewsbury School in 1964, Charles sailed aboard HMS Tiger for a 6 month stint on the Falkland Islands. On his return he set out for Svalbard in the High Arctic, where he spent 3 months carrying out research into breeding wildlife; including polar bears by default! The following year he spent 3 months on the Yukon Delta, Alaska living with the indigenous people. Here he carried out research on behalf of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge where he eventually took up a position as a warden.

While at Slimbridge he married and had 2 children, Liz and Charlie, both born in Berkeley. After a spell at University he settled on a little run down farm in Dymock. To get established there, he drove a cattle wagon for 5 years and spent 10 years on street markets selling his cheese. He remains on the same farm today with his wife Sasha and young daughter Emily.

As a mere ‘blow in’ from the south coast of England to Gloucestershire in 1966, he was interested to discover that branches of his family had arrived here a long time before him. The Martell family is credited with building a church near Northleach, before 1100. Furthermore Charles’s mother was descended from the Dymoke family which originated in the village of Dymock. The Dymokes (variously Dymock or Dimmock) are the family of the ‘King’s Champion’, a post dating back to the Norman Conquest. The Champion’s duty was to approach the throne mounted and in full armour during a coronation ceremony. He was to defend the king or queen’s right to be crowned, in physical combat if necessary.   A more recent royal connection was Charles’s appointment as cheesemaker to HRH The Prince of Wales.

Having spent the last 45 years milking his beloved Old Gloucester cows and making cheese, he was very surprised, and of course honoured, when he was approached to take up the position of High Sheriff. He later discovered that some other members of his family had also been High Sheriffs of their respective counties, from the north east of England to the south coast. It explained the mysterious, for him, portrait of a family member wearing the same style of court dress as he will wear during his period in office.

He has long been interested in anything that makes his county distinctive; whether it be Old Gloucester cattle, Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs, Gloucestershire varieties of fruit trees or rural artefacts such as the Gloucestershire Long Plough. He will now complete the picture, as the duties of High Sheriff involve working to improve the lot of people within the County.


Paul Nicholls Photography

Paul Nicholls Photography