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Encyclopedia > Town crier
St. George's, Bermuda town crier, Major D.H. "Bob" Burns, MC, the Guinness World Record holder for the loudest human speaking voice.
St. George's, Bermuda town crier, Major D.H. "Bob" Burns, MC, the Guinness World Record holder for the loudest human speaking voice.

A 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. 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. St. ... Guinness World Records 2008 edition. ... In the United Kingdom, town councils are civil parish councils, where the civil parish is a town. ... Peter the Great reenactor wearing a tricorne The tricorne (also tricorn, tri-cornered hat or three-cornered hat) is a style of hat that was popular during the 18th century, falling out of style shortly before the French Revolution. ...


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 Chester from the early 19th century records this as O Yes, O Yes! A handbell is a bell designed to be rung by hand. ... Oyez (IPA pronunciation: /óyeyz/°(t)s/; OI-yay) is an interjection said three times in succession to introduce the opening of a court of law. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For the larger local government district, see Chester (district). ...

Contents

History

England

Peter Moore, town crier to the City of Westminster.
Peter Moore, town crier to the City of Westminster.

In Medieval England, 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. The City of Westminster is a borough of London, England with city status. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... A proclamation (Lat. ... A sugarloaf may refer to : // A sugarloaf was the traditional form, a tall gently-tapering cylinder with a conical top[1], in which refined sugar was exported from the Caribbean and eastern Brazil from the 17th to 19th centuries. ... Packet trade generally refers to any regularly scheduled passenger and cargo trade conducted by ship. ...


Chester's first recorded 'belman' was in 1540. His fees included one (old) penny for 'going for anything that is lost' and 4d for leading the funeral procession. In 1681, a fire safety order by the city assembly that all houses should be tiled, not thatched, was to 'be published throughout the city by the day bellman. In 1553, the crier was paid 13d for 'ridunge the banes' (reading the banns or adverts) for the Chester Mystery Plays. In 1598, bellman Richard Woodcock must have been dressed in a similar way to the London bellman, for he had 'a tymber mast typt at both endes and embellished in the middest with silver. For silver pennies produced after 1820 see Maundy money. ... A thatched pub (The Williams Arms) at Wrafton, near Braunton, North Devon, England “thatch” redirects here. ... The Chester Mystery Plays are a cycle of mystery plays from the 14th century, and the most complete set of such plays in existence. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...


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 bee 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'.[clarify]


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. The Commonwealth of Nations as of 2008. ... English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ...


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


Criers 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. For other uses, see Netherlands (disambiguation). ... A gong is one of a wide variety of metal percussion instruments. ... French horn redirects here. ...


Modern town criers

There are also town criers in North America and Australia. Each of these areas has Championship events, usually every other year so as not to conflict with the World Championships. The North American Town Crier Competition of 2004 was held in Newton, New Jersey. North American redirects here. ... Newton is a Town in Sussex County, New Jersey, United States. ...


As the practical use of the town crier has disappeared, the function became part of the local folklore. European and World Championships of town crying are organized. The World Champion town crier is the town crier of Ninove, Hans Van Laethem. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... Ninove is a municipality located in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium, and in the Flemish province of East Flanders. ... Hans Van Laethem (February 7, 1960) is the town crier of Ninove and the current reigning World, European and Belgian champion town crying. ...


Further reading

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

External links

  • Town Crier history

  Results from FactBites:
 
Town crier - definition of Town crier in Encyclopedia (126 words)
Town crier - definition of Town crier in Encyclopedia
The town Crier in Yate, near Bristol, England
Embed a dictionary search in your own web page
definition of town-crier (49 words)
A town officer who makes proclamations to the people; the public crier of a town.
Crier, Of, Officer, People, Public, The, To, Town, Who
Crier, Makes, Of, Officer, People, Proclamations, Public, The, To, Town, Who
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