THE Rt Rev Nicholas McKinnel, the former Bishop of Plymouth, and a former Bishop of Crediton, was appointed as High Sheriff of Devon, on Thursday, March 30.

His new role began with a Declaration of Office at 1.15pm on March 30 at the Minster Church of St Andrew’s, Plymouth. He will hold the office for one year.

He succeeds Richard Youngman, Crediton Red Ruby Devon Cattle breeder and former corporate adviser, who held the position for the past year.

Bishop Nick, who was consecrated as Bishop of Crediton in 2012 before moving to become Bishop of Plymouth in 2015, will be the first Bishop to serve as High Sheriff since clergy became eligible to do so in 2006.

Mr McKinnel grew-up in Devon and, after studying law and working for a development agency, was ordained in 1980.

He served his early ministry in London and Liverpool before returning to Devon in 1987 to become the Rector of Hatherleigh, Meeth, Exbourne and Jacobstowe.

From 1994 to 2012 he led St Andrew’s, the Minster church of Plymouth.

The ancient office of High Sheriff dates back to Saxon times. The original role, before the Norman Conquest and as stated in the Magna Carta, was to collect taxes and maintain law and order in the County. 

The duties have evolved over time, but the High Sheriff remains as an independent, non-political Royal appointment offering support to the Crown, the judiciary and all involved in the administration of justice as well as to the emergency services, local authorities, and the voluntary sector.

Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties of England and Wales each year.

Many High Sheriffs also assist local charities working with vulnerable people by helping to raise the profile of their valuable work.

Bishop Nick’s chosen charity is the South West Community Chaplaincy, which works with those in prison who want life to be different when they leave, and provides dedicated volunteer mentors to listen, support and walk alongside prisoners on release.


Richard Youngman and his wife Jane, a retired vet and now Covid-19 vaccinator, have farmed cattle and sheep near Crediton since 2001.

They have been fortunate enough to have bred two Devon County Show Breed Champion Ruby Red Devon bulls and Richard has been a Council Member of the Devon Cattle Breeders’ Society.

Since retiring from Anvil Partners in 2020 to spend more time on the farm, Richard has also volunteered with St Petrock’s.

Having qualified as a solicitor and worked in investment banking in London, he moved to Devon in 1990 to join West Country investment group Dartington and Co.

He subsequently managed Saltash-based SPAR convenience store distributor Appleby Westward until its sale to Pernod Ricard when he returned to an advisory role with Anvil Partners where he helped a number of West Country entrepreneurs, predominantly in the food sector, to grow and finance national businesses. Anvil also advised early-stage companies in sectors including healthcare and software.

Other local people who have held the role include John Lee of Shobrooke in 2013 and Grania Phillips of Chulmleigh in 2018.