The Court of Assistants

The Mayor (7 Oct 2016 – Michaelmas 2017)  Robert Sword 

Robert Sword - Mayor of the Staple 2016

Robert Sword – Mayor of the Staple 2016


Robert Sword is a Resident Agent and is currently the Estates Director for the Dawnay Estates near Scarborough. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, having worked on estates such as Badminton, Hatfield Park and was also involved in the sale of Lands End in the early 1980s! He is a Trustee of the Burton Constable Foundation, chair of Raincliffe Wood Community Enterprise, a member of the Property Committee of York Diocese, a Trustee of the Derwent Valley Bridge (former Ayton Library), and also a Trustee of the Company of Merchants of the Staple Charitable Trust. Robert is dedicated to the preservation and development of landed estates, which in many instances are influential employers, businesses, environmentalists and landscape creators – a hub in the rural economy. His other interests are shooting, fly fishing, gardening and hopefully one day a return to water colour painting.



The Lieutenant – The Lord Crathorne KCVO 

The Lord Crathorne - Lieutenant of the Staple 2016

The Lord Crathorne – Lieutenant of the Staple 2016

Lord Crathorne was Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire for fifteen and a half years, stepping down in 2014. For many years he has been actively involved in The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, North Yorkshire. He was one of the first Trustees of the Heritage Lottery Fund. He was Chairman and President of The Georgian Group for 25 years. At Westminster he is Co-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Arts and Heritage Group and has sat in the House of Lords since the death of his father in 1977.  He is a Knight of St John (K St J) and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. In 2012 The Queen appointed him a Knight Commander of The Royal Victorian Order (KCVO).   He has honorary doctorates from Teesside University and York University, and is a Freeman of the town of Richmond and the City of York. He was President of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society in 2015. His other great interests are photography and writing. He has had three books published which are partly illustrated with his own photographs. He and his late wife Sylvia have a son and two daughters.


The Senior Constable – Richard Compton


Richard Compton was elected President of the Historic Houses Association in 2012, serving before that as Deputy President from 2008-2012 and has been a member of the HHA’s Council since 1996, and sat on both the Taxation and the Tourism & Commercial Development Committees. Following a career in magazine publishing, Richard, owner of Newby Hall, near Ripon, a Christopher Wren house with interiors by Robert Adam and award winning gardens, returned to Yorkshire in 1998 to run Newby and its Estate.  From 1997 Richard served as a Governor at Harrow School, appointed as Chairman from September 2008 until retirement in August 2015 and from 2000 – 2006 Richard served as Chairman of the Governors at Aysgarth School. For 10 years Richard was also a non-executive director of Christie’s UK Ltd. In 2007 Richard was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire. He was High Sheriff for North Yorkshire from 2010–11. Richard is a trustee of a number of Estates with historic houses and also owns an historic house and Estate (Torloisk House) on the Isle of Mull.

The Junior Constable – Diana, Viscountess Downe

Lady Downe spent her early life in Germany from 1947 to 1953 and flew out of Berlin during the Airlift.  After the French Lycee in Bad Godesberg and Cheltenham Ladies College, she joined the Foreign Office. She was married to John, Viscount Downe who died in 2002, and has two children and two grandchildren.   She is a Deputy  Lieutenant of North Yorkshire and served as High Sheriff in 2006/7, as a Magistrate in Scarborough for thirty-eight years and as a General Commissioner of Income Tax.  Lady Downe was until recently a Board member of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, and is the President of the Aston Martin Owners Club, The Filey Lifeboats and several other national and local charities. Other interests are the arts generally, including music and opera, as well as travelling and playing tennis. She also has had a helicopter licence.   She is a Freeman of the City of London, and a Liveryman of the Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers.

The Immediate Past Mayor (2015) Humphrey Boyle DL   

Humphrey Boyle- Mayor of the Staple 2015-16

Humphrey Boyle- Mayor of the Staple 2015-16


After Shrewsbury, Cambridge and national service in the Royal Corps of Signals, Humphrey joined the family business, Boyle & Son in Leeds. He developed a hessian wall covering to replace a failing industrial product range and merged the company with its main customer, founding the Zoffany Wallpaper business. He served on university committees and art college boards, lectured on antique textiles and was president of several local clubs and an educational charity serving disadvantaged children in Leeds.   Humphrey served as High Sheriff of West Yorkshire during the Sheriff’s Millennium year and later joined the West Yorkshire Lieutenancy. His interests are watercolour painting and fly fishing. He and his wife Josephine open their garden to the public for the National Garden Scheme.



The Previous Past Mayor (2014) –  Sir William Worsley Bt DL

Sir William Worsley Bt. - Mayor of the Staple 2014

Sir William Worsley Bt. – Mayor of the Staple 2014

William Worsley is a businessman, farmer and forester.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and lives at Hovingham Hall in North Yorkshire, where he runs the Hovingham Estate. He served as President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) from 2009-2011, having previously chaired the Board and the Policy Committee.  He was Chairman of the Scarborough Building Society, a director of the Skipton Building Society and a director of The Brunner Investment Trust PLC.He has been chairman of the Joint Advisory Committee for the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a member of the North York Moors National Park Authority, the Forestry Commission’s Advisory Panel and the Independent Panel on Forestry. William feels strongly about the countryside and the rural economy. His determination that the rural voice should be heard led to his involvement with the CLA. He is passionate about forestry and his woods at Hovingham have won many awards for forestry and conservation.  William’s other interests are art and architecture and he is a keen collector of pictures.



The Upper Clerk – Lt Col David O’Kelly  

Lt Col David O'Kelly - Upper Clerk of the Staple 2016

Lt Col David O’Kelly – Upper Clerk of the Staple 2016









The Treasurer – Hugh Norton

Chairman of the Charitable Trust – Robert Hall (Mayor 2013 )

Robert Hall - Mayor of the Staple 2013

Robert Hall – Mayor of the Staple 2013








Chairman of the Membership Committee – Sir William Worsley Bt. DL (Mayor 2014)

The Cellarer – David Butler-Adams (Mayor 2012)

David Butler-Adams -Mayor of the Staple 2012

David Butler-Adams -Mayor of the Staple 2012








The Weigher – Robert Sword
The Attorney – Jonathan Towers (Mayor 2004)

J Towers - Mayor of the Staple 2004

J Towers – Mayor of the Staple 2004





See separate page (History-Mayors&Clerks) for a list of all known previous Mayors and Clerks