The Full Wiki

Town crier: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

A town crier is an officer of the court who makes public pronouncements as required by the court Black's Law Dictionary. The crier can also be used to make public announcements in the streets. Criers often dress elaborately, by a tradition dating to the 18th century, in a red and gold robe, white breeches, black boots and a tricorne hat.

They carry a handbell to attract people's attention, as they shout the words "Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!" before making their announcements. The word "Oyez" means "hear ye," which is a call for silence and attention. Oyez derives from the Anglo-Norman word for listen. The proclamations book in Chestermarker from the early 19th century records this as O Yes, O Yes!



Town crier to the Mayor of London and The Greater London Authority.
In Medieval Englandmarker, town criers were the chief means of news communication with the people of the town since many could not read or write. Royal proclamations, local bylaws, market days, adverts, even selling loaves of sugar were all proclaimed by a bellman or crier throughout the centuries—at Christmas 1798, the Chester Canal Co. sold some sugar damaged in their packet boat and this was to be advertised by the bellman.

In 1620, there was a fight at the cross between the butchers and the bakers where the 'Cryer brake his Mace in peeces Amonge them'. In 1607, one public notice read by George Tunnall, the bellman, forbade tipping rubbish in the river. In 1715, a local man recorded that the 'Belman at the Cross ... Reads publicly a proclamation in the Mayor's name, commanding all persons in the City to be of peaceable and civil behaviour, not to walk around the Streets or Rows at unreasonable hours of night'. In 1743, John Posnitt took over as 'Day and Night Bellman'.

In 1792, Chester had a day and night bellman, John Yarwood and a crier, William Ratcliffe, but by 1835 there seems to have been only one position. It was not until 1998 that Chester had a crier and a bellman again.

Town criers were protected by the ruling monarch, as they sometimes brought bad news such as tax increases. To this day, any town crier in the British Commonwealth is protected under old English law that they are not to be hindered or heckled while performing their duties. To injure or harm a town crier was seen as an act of treason against the ruling monarchy. The term "Posting A Notice" comes from the act of the town crier, who having read his message to the townspeople, would attach it to the door post of the local inn.


As in England, town criers were the means of communication with the people of the town since many people could not read or write. Proclamations, local bylaws, market days, adverts, were all proclaimed by a bellman or crier.

Criers were not always men, many town criers were women. Bells were not the only attention getting device - in Hollandmarker, a gong was the instrument of choice for many, and in Francemarker a drum was used, or a hunting horn.

Modern town criers

The best dressed town crier at the World Championships in 2008 was Daniel Richer dit La Flêche representing the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, in Canada. He also won the titles of Best Dressed International Town Crier at the Bermudamarker competition in 2009 and Best Dressed in North America. The Best Dressed Couple were Peter and Maureen Taunton [69109] from the county town of Stafford, Englandmarker. They also won the title of Best Dressed Town Criers in Britain in 2008 at the Alnwick competition for the Loyal Company of Town Criers. They had been chosen the Best Dressed Criers at the National Town Crier Competition in Hastings in 2007.
Alan Myatt
Peter Moore, the London Town Crier, has held the position for more than 30 years. He is Town Crier to the Mayor of London, the City of Westminster, and London Boroughs, and is also a Freeman and Liveryman of The City of London.

Alan Myatt held two Guinness World Records. Besides recording a cry of 112.8 decibels, he set the record for endurance, issuing a one-hundred word proclamation every 15 minutes over a period of 48 hours.

Daniel Richer dit La Flêche, who is an Abenaki Indian, is a full-time bilingual town crier. Lloyd Smith, town crier for Windsor, Nova Scotia, is the senior town crier in North America, with 31 years of service to his communities.

When need for a town crier disappeared, the position passed into local folklore. European, Canadian, American. North American and Australian championships are held in alternating years with the World Championships. The current world champion is the town crier of Ninovemarker, Hans Van Laethem.

Eliza Mowe, Town Cryer for Barnoldswick, Lancashiremarker, became the first female European town crying champion in 2007, retaining her title in the following year.

See also

  • Vic Garth, reputed in 2005 to be the oldest town crier in the world.
  • Dead bell used to announce deaths and funerals.



Further reading

  • Gordon Emery, Curious Chester (1999) ISBN 1-872265-94-4

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address