ABOUT TOWN CRIERS
town crier is a person who is employed by a town council
to make public announcements in the streets.
The crier can also be used in court or official announcements.
Nowadays criers usually dress elaboratelyóby tradition
only dating to the 18th century, in a red and gold robe,
white breeches, black boots and a tricorne hatóbut dress
has changed through the centuries.
A 1609 picture of the London bellman has standard Tudor
dress with a circular brimmed hat, lamp, and staff or
carry a hand bell to attract people's attention, as they
shout the words "Oyez, Oyez!" before making their announcements
From old Law French (abolished by Act of Parliament in
1731) 'give hearing', often pronounced O yes, the court
crier's call for silence deriving ultimately from Latin
The word "Oyez" now means "hear ye," which is a call for
silence and attention.
Medieval England, town criers were the chief means of
news communication with the people of the town since many
people 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.
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.
A little known fact is that the term "Posting A Notice"
actually 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 or Tavern.
were not always men. Many Town Criers were women. Bells
were not the only attention getting device - in Holland,
a gong was the instrument of choice for many, and in France
they used a drum, or a hunting horn.
In Europe as in England, town criers were the chief means
of news 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 throughout the centuries.
As the practical use of the town crier has disappeared,
the function became part of the local folklore.
2007 MY FIRST YEAR AS WAREHAM TOWN CRIER
I have now been in office for a year, I would like to
thank Wareham Town Council for the opportunity to carry
out the duties of town crier.
I have had an eventful year with two different mayors.
I have accompanied the Mayors on various occasions including
their fund raising events, such as a Ball at the Springfield
Hotel, welcoming the guests, and at a Thomas Hardy evening.
I appeared in an 'Evening of Bloody Rubbish' where I rang
a bell with no clanger (until the end of the evening,
when I could ring the bell with gusto).
Christmas Day I accompanied the Mayor and Mayoress on
a visit to the hospital, Anglebury Court and the Parish
Hall to meet those less fortunate than ourselves.
civic duties entailed my heading the civic and remembrance
parades which was quite a daunting task, but also humbling,
when I think of how long the traditions have been carried
Also accompanying the Wareham Mayor at the Beating of
the Bounds in Poole Harbour was an experience.
I have 'cried' many Saturday mornings in Wareham, and
have had great pleasure in talking to visitors and residents
alike, and in 'spreading the word'.
The weekly banter between the market traders and myself
have become an eventful feature of my cries.
I have also represented Wareham at various competitions,
in Blandford, Frome, Yeovil and Lyme Regis, and have met
many town criers, who have given me encouragement and
Next year I plan to attend the Dorset
championship, the Guild championship in Alcester, and
the European championship in Holland.
The Wareham Carnival procession and the Father Christmas
procession saw me out again in all my glory, and were
very much more relaxed occasions and thus enjoyable.
I am always willing to attend any event which may call
for a 'loud announcement' and maybe to add a bit of colour.
Either call Wareham Town Hall, or email me: