Historically the office of Verderer was filled by Knights of the Realm, wealthy land owners or from prominent local families. Once elected, they served for life.
Today, on the death of a Verderer, an election must be held to appoint a replacement. This is commanded by the Sovereign and organised by the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire as has happened for many centuries.
Prior to 2011, the elections took place in Shire Hall. Due to the large numbers of people wishing to vote, the elections are now held in Gloucester Cathedral.
Candidates must have deep knowledge concerning the Forest of Dean and its history, and must be resident within the Forest of Dean District boundary.
Voters must live in the County of Gloucestershire, excluding the city. Before the vote, candidates give a short presentation on their suitability for the role.
Voting is by a show of hands and the successful candidate then takes the Oath of Office.
In 1966 Cyril Hart wrote:
‘ Her Majesty’s Verderers aware that one of their prime duties, subject to the dictates of sound silviculture, is the conservation of the vert, venison and ‘green areas’ of the Forest, confirmed that they are cognizant of the need to ensure the wisest use of Dean’ facilities and resources in the light of modern conditions and requirements, both local and national.”