Lensman - Shire-reeve - District sheriff

The Origin

The word 'Len' in Norwegian means 'shire'. King's (shire) reeves and local reeves existed in Anglo-Saxon England.
The title Shire-reeve, later sheriff, has become redundant in England, but it is still extant in Scotland, where the Sheriff's Court is a key element in the Scottish judicial system, and in the USA the Sherriff is a well known law enforcement figure.

The Norwegian 'Lensman' also started out as a 'shire-reeve' , the King's lawman, in a region like a Len (shire) during the Middle Ages.

The Lensman today

District sheriff - Lensman

Subordinate public official in rural districts. The lensman is a police Officer under the chief of police and is thus a subordinate of the prosecuting authority; he also has a number of other duties: he is the maintenance enforcement officer, state tax collector and process server.


Updated 1. May 1999 by The Local History Resource Centre Fet