Monday July 13 was International Town Criers’ Day, an annual event which always falls on the second Monday in July, and celebrates the historical relevance of town criers throughout history.
Do you have a good strong voice? Do you like to tell others what’s going on? Do you need to, or do you want to, tell others what is going on ? Sometimes someone like that is needed at events (like weddings, fetes, parties, and the list goes on) when a loudspeaker does not seem quite right.
If you need someone like that, you need to contact Paul Goring (shown above) as he knows how it’s done, and is pictured above on Rye High Street in fine voice and full dress, despite the searing heat and, noticeably, this year setting a fine example to us all by wearing his face mask.
This special day honours loud people who announce the news by using a bell and making proclamations to townspeople. Besides having a loud voice, to become a town crier, you also need to be able to read and write as you often have to provide your own scripts – the “cry”. And you will become a very important person because, traditionally, people of standing in the community were chosen as criers.
Once you become a town crier, you perform several roles, the first of which may be that of a news broadcaster. In some cases, you could be an officer of a royal court to make public pronouncements as required.
Crying to the gallows
In the role as a town crier you could also have some less vocal but very sombre tasks to perform. If it is truly your calling, in times gone by you could have installed wayward husbands in stocks in the town square, or be paid to administer public floggings, or be the official witness at a public hanging in the town square.
Besides being a vocal news broadcaster, a crier may also have been asked to be the town’s news publisher as a crier with their own “post” as in “posting a notice”. After bellowing the news of the day to local townspeople, you would post the news on the door of the local inn, or Town Hall.
It was a day to remember and, despite the current Covid-19 pandemic, a town crier’s life and role carries on, and Rye’s town crier, Paul Goring, delivered his proclamation through his facemask.
Paul is a regular feature in Rye, a true professional, and can be regularly seen performing for all sorts of civic, formal and informal occasions, and is very popular. He can be contacted via Rye Town Hall, Market Street, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7LA. Tel: 01797 223902 or by Email: email@example.com and more information is available on the website. Alternatively you can contact him via the town criers’ website
Image Credits: Sue Forman .